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September 26, 2005


Paul Zrimsek

Where are the weapons of Yat destruction?

Nagin fibbed, people lived!


Though it seems so real,
It's just what I feel,
On Blow By You.

Ed Poinsett

At this point there seem to be only a couple of verifiable facts about Katrina:

A big hurricane came ashore just east of New Orleans.

The evacuation of citizens was a clusterf*ck totally mismanaged by the local politicians.

Some levees broke causing flooding in New Orleans.

Beyond that the MSM in its zeal to embarass the president, lied, misled, obfuscated, spun, finger pointed, and generally acted despicably during the event and its aftermath. We are now hearing the truth, but I don't expect the MSM to acknowledge it.

Jim E.

I’m left wondering why you specifically mention Shepard Smith and Brian Williams in this post. If you have instances of them hyping and exaggerating their reports, now’s the time to show it.

The troops were needed in New Orleans to provide supplies (water, food) and to facilitate the evacuation, not merely to restore order. The incompetence of various government officials, including Bush, not being able to give the troops orders to move quicker has nothing to do with the hyped reporting. People were actually suffering from things aside from murder and rape.


Yeah, Jim, they're called National Guard troops--State National Guard--Louisianna National Guard troops.

Looking for water and food? The national response plan calls for the Red Cross and Salvation Army to deliver such. They were ready, and were prohibited from entering the city by the mayor.

Have you been paying attention the last four weeks? Jeez.

Yes, and we'll stipulate that Shepard Smith was a calm and level-headed reporter throughout--not!

Jim Miller

Have a nominee for "Worst Performance by a Journalist During Katrina"? Then you can post it here.

Jim E.

"The national response plan calls for the Red Cross and Salvation Army to deliver such."

This is incorrect. While these groups supplement government efforts, they are not the entirety of the "national" plan.

Tom Bowler
Rumors of death greatly exagerated
The Katrina death toll originally projected at 10,000 came in around 800 for New Orleans. This guy may account for the other 9,200 bodies that weren't found.
Appalled Moderate

One of the things we are going to have to adjust to as a nation of news consumers is that the instant media (cable news) is going to get it wrong much of the time, because they are going to be impelled to talk and show pictures even when they really know diddly about what's happening. September 11 body counts were hyped by a factor of two. New Orleans katrina body counts appear to have been hyped by a factor of 12 or so.

Frankly, the emotional politics of Louisiana, which has made for some fine movies and literature, makes for dramatic but inaccurate television. (Not sure whether Mayor Nagin or Mr. Broussard takes the award for most obnoxious overhyping of a crisis by a politician. Nagin wins on hysterical inaccuracy, but Broussard provides that emotionally compelling bogus personal story.)

If the media had made an attempt to cover the story with a little less melodrama, one wonders whether Bush would not have looked like such a fool in his response. My guess is he probably would have seemed to be the same idiot -- FEMA was slow, Bush still would have appeared unconcerned and inappropriate in his appearnece on the Friday after the flood.. New Orleans, on the other hand, might have come off somewhat better and maybe the Gretna cops would have let the bridge people go through their little town.


Even at my age I'm still amazed at how much the media hypes, spins and flat out lies. I still take most of what they say at face value, even though if you asked me I'd say I don't believe a word of it.

The last couple of weeks are a great example. New Orleans, 10,000 dead, people shooting at rescue helicopters, roving gangs shooting the place up, shoot-outs between the police and gangs...well, hehe, not really.

You should have seen the local coverage of the run up to hurricane Rita last week here in Houston. The media hyped and hyped and hyped it to the point they had 2.5-3 million people fleeing for their lives. They were doing this on Wednesday, a full 4 days prior to the forcast landfall. I can tell you based on my experience of 46 years they no more know the path or strength of a hurricane 4 days prior to the landfall than you know who's going to be vice president in 2012. As the result more people were killed in the evacuation than were killed in hurricanes Alicia and Allen combined (according to a post on the Houston Chronicle's SciGuy blog), and also more than hurricane Andrew, a Cat 5 hurricane that crossed a major metropolitan area. That was as of last Thursday, I'm sure the ending death toll will be much higher. What they did down here last week - especially in the wake of Katrina - is almost literally comparable to yelling FIRE in a crowded theater.

Its worse than its ever been, the MSM can't be taken at face value on anything. You can't believe a word they say, and I don't mean just about politics. They'd dance naked and sell their own mothers to get you to watch or read them.


Good Lord, are we now going to see lefty websites defending Fox News' reporting?

I can just see Atrios now calling TM a "f***ing creep" for attacking the credibility of Rupert Murdoch's news enterprise.

Loony toon times a'coming. Get out the popcorn.


Patrick R. Sullivan

Tim Russert had Aaron Broussard on for an encore last Sunday. Broussard stuck to his lies about when the woman died, attacked a few more people, attacked Russert for attacking him, and got thanked by Russert for 'correcting the record'.


The funniest thing about this?

Brian Williams was inside the Superdome. Talk about a reporter doing his job. You'd think he'd take his camera crew and investigate. Instead he was just passing along what he heard.

Could have done that from New York.


They've learned they can take the Green Zone with them. It's taught in journalism school. You have a free pass until you reach the border of Blairland.


Maybe we'll soon see Russert's 'record' re Plame.


People still ignore the fact that the Katrina story played out over a period of days. It's not as if Katrina came through, left, then the hurricane relief could begin.

Flooding started early, but in eastern sections that had a history of flooding anyway. The water coming in north from the lake didn't start happening until the day after Katrina. It then took until wednesday afternoon for the flooding to stabilize.

Instead of hurricane relief, the emphasis was on search and rescue. The Coast Guard was on the job immediately, rescuing people from rooftops. Helo's from the Bataan were doing search and rescue starting Wednesday, having position themselves as soon as they could after the hurricane had passed.

But the people in the Dome had been there since Sunday. The hurricane ended and everyone expected immediate relief. Instead there came the flooding of water, and the flooding of more people into the dome and then the convention center.

So it's bogus for reporters to scream that it took five days to get disaster relief when it was really 2-3 days from the actual disaster.

Especially when the Red Cross and Salvation Army were ready with food and water as early as Tuesday but weren't allowed in.


Are you trying to tell me that a defenseless New Orleans took the Double Whammy, left jab and right cross, and still stayed on her feet? Must have been the Feds propping her up; I didn't see anyone else in her corner.


Based on these exaggerated reports, I donated a substantial amount of money for disaster relief. I feel like I have been suckered. Is there some place I can apply for refund? I certainly won't be donating for any charity any time soon.


Shepard Smith's reporting on the overpass was sheer drama. it would have made a good "movie of the week".
I was so turned off by his over dramatic and inaccurate reporting that I refuse to watch anymore.

Appalled Moderate


Um, it wasn't the property damage and dislocation that was exaggerated; just the death count and mayhem. 80% of new Orleans did flood. Lots of those folks do not have homes to go back to.

If you need evidence of the hurricane's damage, check out nola.com, and scroll/surf from there.

I don't think you got suckered.

Jim E.

Apparently sam gave money to hurricane disaster relief to help murder and rape victims. Like that makes ANY sense. Pinhead.

And he now wants a refund?? Yeah, he really sounds like a guy who gives to charities regularly. His promise -- "I certainly won't be donating for any charity any time soon" -- will surely rock the philanthropic world.


The problem is not just that they failed to accurately inform the curious about what was happening. It's that their disinformation campaigns significantly altered what happened in the aftermath of the disaster. The officials making decisions made two very important decisions: to wait until they had assembled an overwhelming force to move in on the Convention Center and Superdome, and to prevent the Red Cross and Salvation Army from giving food and shelter to victims in New Orleans. This meant that the Guard waited until Saturday to move in, even though they probably had enough personnel on the ground as early as Wednesday with respect to the actual tactical situation as opposed to the hysterical fantasies of the newsies. The decision to withhold aid was again a reaction to what the newsies told them: that the situation in NO was so desperate that desperate measures were required to force people to leave.

This wasn't just about accurately informing the public. This wasn't about the not-directly-involved citizens out there watching TV who were misinformed. This is about the decisionmakers who relied on the newsies for information and made decisions that caused people terrible suffering based upon the newsies' misinformation.

cathy :-)


MSM disinformation is careening toward hazardousness. Public Safety will evntually require intervention.


I expect the intervention will be a withering of support as the MSM loses crediblilty steadily. I don't see anyway to stop it.

Pavement pounding reporting? Lock your valuable ideology in the box before you take the truth test? What do think we want to do, survive?


Pulitzer goes to murderous disinformation photographer(and his mag), not to Rosett's loosing the East River through Turtle Bay.



La il la hah il lallah, barbar bah har ra sul lallah.


God's in the Heavens,
All's right with the World.
The witnesses forked tongues,
Are furiously unfurled.


I think kim is actually TM.

Well...I sorta think that anyway...

Geek, Esq.

People were still stranded, starving, suffering, and facing real health threats.

Hundreds of thousands are still homeless and penniless.

But, the crime stories were false, so Republicans don't need to worry anymore.


No, the point is that some of those are still suffering because we were lied to at the outset of it all. This is about MSM not the Republicans.


Tens of thousands of people didn't die in the hurricane, childen were not serially raped at the Superdome and multiple murders didn't occur at the Convention Center.

Good news for me and others here.

But you sound like you need a Zoloft.

Why so?


joe mealyus

"People were still stranded, starving, suffering, and facing real health threats....But, the crime stories were false, so Republicans don't need to worry anymore."

I think Geek is being unfair here. Yes, people were stranded and suffering, and facing real health threats, *and* probably feeling under personal threat from the state of security around them. But at least they weren't so much at the mercy of criminals and thugs as we were led to believe - I think everyone can breathe a sigh of relief at that news.

Joe Mealyus

Sort of on the same topic as being discussed here, I guess since the advent of Timesselect no one discusses NYT Opedders any more, but what about this amazing (9/23) Krugman statement?

"But Katrina did more than physical damage; it was a blow to our self-image as a nation. Maybe people will quickly forget the horrible scenes from the Superdome, and the frustration of wondering why no help had arrived, once cable TV returns to nonstop coverage of missing white women. But my guess is that Katrina's shock to our sense of ourselves will persist for years."

Krugman seems to suggest that the "blow to our self-image as a nation" wasn't that forces would or could produce "the horrible scenes at the Superdome" in the first place - all the myriad ways in which poor black people are still "at the back of the bus" (including not having buses period) - but that help didn't arrive fast enough.

Maybe I am being unfair and reading too much into too few words, but this just seems like his most over-the-top nothing-matters-except-Bush-sucks point ever.


Krugman needs to worry about 'missing white truth'.


OK, I get it, the misery of Katrina for all those thousands upon thousands of poor people was all a FAKE put on by the evil MSM!!! Where did they get all those extras, all those old people in wheelchairs sitting out in the sun, all those newborn babies that wouldn't wake up, all those moms and kids sitting on the ground in their own filth? How much were those people paid to undermine our dear, dear, good Mr. President?

When all else fails, though, let's blame the Louisiana National Guard (anything that has a Democrat in charge will work for the blaaaaame gaaaaame). Only problem is, when disaster strikes (including let's say, terroristic disaster), It">http://www.nytimes.com/2005/09/28/national/nationalspecial/28guard.html?hp&ex=1127966400&en=ce597fd0cd7fe88d&ei=5094&partner=homepage">It Strikes First Responders ALSO.

To wit:
The morning Hurricane Katrina thundered ashore, Louisiana National Guard commanders thought they were prepared to save their state. But when 15-foot floodwaters swept into their headquarters, cut their communications and disabled their high-water trucks, they had their hands full just saving themselves.

For a crucial 24 hours after landfall on Aug. 29, Guard officers said, they were preoccupied with protecting their nerve center from the waves topping the windows at Jackson Barracks and rescuing soldiers who could not swim. The next morning, they had to evacuate their entire headquarters force of 375 guardsmen by boat and helicopter to the Superdome.

I guess, no one could have predicted that a disaster would also impact the locals. Geez, what do you think the federal government is? Telepathic?

What do we need a federal government for anyway? Personally, I feel perfectly safe relying on the Red Cross, Salvation Army and Pat Robertson's Church of the Holy Gold Bullion to save my ass in any catastrophe.


It is interesting that the US military, the Salvation Army, and the Red Cross did have their shit together better than most of the other actors on the stage.

Pat Robertson? I dunno. Probably off partying somewhere. Or praying.

Geek, Esq.

Apologies for the broad brush used in my previous post--it was reserved for those who think that sympathy and donations were misplaced because there was little violence.

There was media sensationalism--there always is. The question in my mind is whether the reports of armed gangs shooting at rescue workers (A) were similarly bogus and (B) delayed response. If so, that also raises question (C) whether the authorities should be getting their info from rumor and media whores.

OK, I get it, the misery of Katrina for all those thousands upon thousands of poor people was all a FAKE put on by the evil MSM!!!

No, let's try it again, speaking super s*l*o*w*l*y. Much of the (very real) misery on Thursday and Friday was caused by the lies that the MSM told about what happened (or more precisely, did not happen) on Tuesday and Wednesday.

And as I have said previously, the bad decisions were based upon the bad information because the decision-making officials didn't have their own non-MSM sources of information. The reason that they didn't have these vital command-and-control resources is because local authorities failed over and over to get them. They failed first when they didn't invest in modern technology (like satellite phones for police & fire) and common sense low-tech like locating equipment and generators on higher floors of buildings. They failed next when the state police refused to allow the radio repair crew through the roadblocks to repair the flooded police radio. They failed again when they did not expropriate the satellite trucks of the newsies and use them for official communications. That last failure is not so clear -- I have seen reports that the governor has virtually unlimited authority to expropriate private property for true emergency purposes, but the amount of screaming that this would have caused would probably have been so great that it would have been politically impossible. That is the true danger to the MSM here: If the general public realizes how much responsibility the newsies had for causing the disaster, when the next disaster comes around they will be clamoring for that governor to do whatever is necessary to mitigate the disaster, and if that means the cnn truck goes to the police department and the fox truck goes to the fire department, then nobody is going to care when fox and cnn squeal about it.

cathy :-)


No one dropped any food or water to those people because of the evil MSM? Man, the power of the pernicious media just continues to grow. Next thing you know they will be staging a coup to overtake our government!


JD: Now don't get hyperbolic. The MSM contributed to the problem more than they solved it. That's all.

The general American public solved the problem more than they contributed to it.

Hear the dissonance?

Jeff Hauser

This is Bizarro World. Please recall that law and order conservatives fuminating about violence was the right wing excuse for the failure of the only entity with the scale & capapcity to assist (the feds) to react competently.

Cf. Atrios:

"So, the right wing which spent weeks pushing stories of looting, rapes, and murder in New Orleans are now taking media reports about how such stories were exaggerated to mean that what happened in New Orleans wasn't as bad as we were led to believe.

It was bad because people had no food, no water, no shelter, no medical care, and most importantly, no help."


Naw. Face it, the Feds, military and FEMA, did react pretty competently.


Hey, TM, down here:

Gretna update:
Mayor Nagin met with a number of State Legislators along with the City Council this afternoon. The exchange was broadcast on WWL radio.

The hot topic was Nagin requesting that the legislature along with the state AG investigate la affair Gretna. He again repeated that dogs and guns were used against citizens trying to find relief in Gretna.

One member of the legislature (couldn't identify him) supported the investigation and stated that the Parish broke the law by not issuing a "proclamation" first before shutting things down. Appears that Parish President Aaron Broussard needed to declare officially some sort of emergency before preventing people from entering the parish.

Historically, there's been a great deal of "tension" between the City and this Parish, mostly along racial lines on the issue of crime. Couldn't tell the makeup of the meeting but it's pretty clear the black-white divide is percolating underneath this baby.

We haven't heard the last of this controversy (duh).



Geez, some of you guys on the left need to get your stories straight--even four weeks after the fact.

Emergency preparedness planning, including evacuation to shelters provided with food, water, dry clothing, and bedding are responsibilities of the local first responders, in coordination with state police and state national guard, when necessary. State government has emergency response pacts with sister states that provide an inflow of capacity/capability (personnel w/equipment) when disaster strikes--and not just state national guard personnel, but other first responders such as fire, search and rescue, and EMT/medics. These are particular capabilities the federal government DOES NOT have, because the feds are not in the business of providing first responder fire, police, rescue, and medic services--a local/state responsibility. Nor do the feds own local facilities that can be used as shelters.

Tne federal government, through FEMA, does disaster recovery--primarily grant-making to address the cost of the after-effects of a disaster. They draw on other federal and NGO partners to provide pre-positioned assets, tents, tarps, drinking water, medical supplies, outside the forecast disaster-affected area.

The Salvation Army and Red Cross were prohibited by the LA sate police from entering NO, thereby preventing food and water to displaced persons.

This is not hard to understand if you know how preparedness planning and response works. Somehow they got it right in Mississippi, without the calamity experienced in NO/LA.

Was it leadership, or a conspiracy?


NBC Photojournalist Tony Zumbado and MSNBC's Alison Stewart produced a very disturbing report about the conditions at the Convention Center. Tony said, and I quote, "I saw two gentlemen die in front of me because of dehydration. I saw a baby near death....
...The sanitation was unbelievable. The stench in there... was unbelievable. Dead people around the walls of the convention center, laying in the middle of the street in their dying chairs. ... They were just covered up ... Babies, two babies dehydrated and died."

There were actually only four bodies found at the Convention Center, one of whom was a murder victim. So where are all those dead bodies Tony Zumbado claims he saw?

Eric Scheie

Thanks for linking my post. In a strange development, I got an email purporting to be from Brian Thevenot, in which he admits "his own mistake," and says I didn't "expose" him because he already "exposed" himself. While I'm not sure what to make of this, I updated the post accordingly.

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