After every scandal comes the coverup. Katrina is a scandal. The cover-up is underway. Read Brian Williams’ blog:
At one fire scene, I counted law enforcement personnel (who I presume were on hand to guarantee the safety of the firefighters) from four separate jurisdictions, as far away as Connecticut and Illinois. And tempers are getting hot. While we were attempting to take pictures of the National Guard (a unit from Oklahoma) taking up positions outside a Brooks Brothers on the edge of the Quarter, the sergeant ordered us to the other side of the boulevard. The short version is: there won’t be any pictures of this particular group of guard soldiers on our newscast tonight. Rules (or I suspect in this case an order on a whim) like those do not HELP the palpable feeling that this area is somehow separate from the United States.
At that same fire scene, a police officer from out of town raised the muzzle of her weapon and aimed it at members of the media… obvious members of the media… armed only with notepads. Her actions (apparently because she thought reporters were encroaching on the scene) were over the top and she was told. There are automatic weapons and shotguns everywhere you look. It’s a stance that perhaps would have been appropriate during the open lawlessness that has long since ended on most of these streets. Someone else points out on television as I post this: the fact that the National Guard now bars entry (by journalists) to the very places where people last week were barred from LEAVING (The Convention Center and Superdome) is a kind of perverse and perfectly backward postscript to this awful chapter in American history.
FEMA also tried to order that the press not take pictures of bodies. Here‘s Josh Marshall on this.
If there were ever a story that demands the bright light of public scrutiny, this is it. And that is not just so people can be fired — though I’m still waiting for Brownie to get the axe — but so we can keep watch on dangerous government incompetence on behalf of our fellow citizens and so we can learn and prevent it the next time.
This is a story in which we can play some part: The survivors will soon start telling their stories. And we should be flooding the government with FOIAs.
: Reporters Without Borders issues a statement of concern about two incidents of violence against journalists.