On Metafilter, one member thought he'd found shocking evidence of racism in reporting the news about looting in New Orleans, and many members spoke up to express their outrage. Saner posters stated the plain facts about how Yahoo News collects the stories it displays, which should have led to a massive "never mind," but didn't.
Pictures of looting are stirring up emotions, and I hope these reactions won't take an ugly racial tone. I haven't read much of the commentary yet, but I see that Michelle Malkin is expressing strong outrage against the looters and comparing it to urban riots of the past. The big difference, of course, is that people are stranded in the water in New Orleans and elsewhere. In a riot, you only need the people to calm down. Today, people are struggling to survive, and I would not blame them for taking food and things to drink.
If the news reports show people carrying away televisions and the like, however, a lot of overheated judgments will be made. But it is hard to imagine how terrible the people there must feel. It's almost an invasion of privacy to photograph people doing bad things when they are in such a state. But we've got to also feel sympathy for the rest of the people who are stranded there and frightened by a breakdown in order.
UPDATE: Michelle Malkin emails that her "outrage is particularly directed at people looting non-vital items," and says "I have sympathy for moms taking diapers from CVS stores. I have no compassion whatsoever for idiots of all colors stealing Dyson vacuum cleaners and diamond earrings."