Seeing the forest for the flood

The Times-Picayune posted a roundup of the exaggerations and rumors that got press and play during the flood but that now turn out to be untrue or unsubstantiated. It’s a good story; the only thing that would have made it better would have been for the paper to have posted direct links to its own reports of these exaggerations (see the prime example of such a story here; see my link to it here; see my correction here). As David Carr said in his column here, exaggerations are inevitable in such huge stories; it’s the fog of war made only foggier by the rush of time in this age of instant media. The odd thing is that this usually happens in awful stories — wars, disasters, 9/11 — where there is no need to amplify the horror. But it happens. And when the heat of the moment cools, these mistakes and their corrections have an equally inevitable impact on our perceptions.

That’s one of the points I was trying to get to in the post below on the correction of one mistaken story out of New Orleans. I clearly didn’t express myself well enough and stirred the hornets, so let me make the damned fool mistake of trying again:

Should mistakes and exaggerations be corrected? Absolutely. Do facts matter? Well, of course.

But the problem with those exaggerations and with our addiction to big numbers, which I wrote about here, is that we too often lose perspective. Look at it in generic terms:

You think the story is this big (10,000 dead) or this bad (7-year-old girl raped at Convention Center) and when those dire reports, rumors, and predictions turn out to be wrong, that doesn’t mean the story is no longer bad and big. But instead of measuring the reality of the situation, we’re beginning to measure the change in perceptions about it — especially as various sides try to manage those perception. So I’ll say it again: Just because the situation isn’t as bad as we were led to believe doesn’t mean it wasn’t bad… or certainly, in the converse, doesn’t make the situation good. And to look at it from another side, just because it was bad (thugs threaten people), that doesn’t mean it was all bad (most people stayed civilized and helped each other).

New Orleans was bad. It was bad in many ways we don’t even know. It always was good in ways we haven’t heard yet as tales of heroism and communities at work come out. But the bottom line remains: It sure as hell could and should have been better. So I am loath to let anyone off the hook at any level, from any party, until we make serious efforts to find out what was wrong and fix it and do it better the next time. Is it about blame? I actually wish it weren’t (and that’s what I said in relation to the 9/11 commission). It should be about finding the problems and then implementing the solutions so more are not neglected or lost in the next tragedy, man- or nature-made.

So now to Russert v. Broussard. I had two problems. First was the implication of the Russert’s sound-biting: that if Broussard was wrong about certain facts and chronololgies of his story of the nursing home death, for whatever reason, then his criticism of the relief effort was less valid, less — in Russert’s word — “fair.” But that’s simplistic; after getting past the correction of the facts and times, which is necessary, it’s also necessary to stay on the story and to continue to investigate the larger story of response in New Orleans. It’s not about Broussard the reporter. It’s about government protecting citizens and Broussard is every bit as much in the focus of that magnifying glass as is Bush. Second, I found Russert’s attack on Broussard unseemly, all the worse because it was over the dead body of an old woman and because Russert himself should know that he makes mistakes and people accuse him of doing it with an agenda and so he should think twice before he accuses others of that.

In the end, what is the real value of journalism? I hope it is perspective and experience. I hope it is the ability to keep focused on the real story as others get knickers in knots about misplaced facts or political spins or hidden agendas. It was Russert’s job not to pillory Broussard over a fact but to hold Broussard and all government accountable for their response — their clearly inadequate response — to this tragedy.

: Now I’ve been taken to task by a few for saying that facts can be a commodity. Notably, Dick Meyers got all hot and bothered about this. He should cool his jets. Once a fact is reported and known it is, of course, a commodity: Everybody knows it, nobody owns it. The fact isn’t the story. The story is the story. The real story in New Orleans is not that one tragic old lady. The story in New Orleans is much larger: all about what government’s responsibilities are and whether government met those responsibilties and whether we can learn from the mistakes that government and others made and whether we will all be safer the next time… or whether we’ll be too damned busy pissing on each other. Are we a society or a debating society?

  • Naw, you’re still not getting it.

    There was nothing wrong with Russert playing the tape and asking Broussard for a response. Russert does that week-in and week-out, and any elected official who goes on MTP should expect it. In fact, his people told Broussard in advance he was going to do that, so the man had every opportunity to come clean. It’s important to hold elected officials accountable for their actions, and if media are going to ask officials at one level of government to assess the behavior of all levels – including their own – the officials had better be honest.

    The media riot that followed the Katrina landfall was a disgrace to your profession. All of the lemming reporters immediately jumped on the narrative that it was all Bush’s fault, even good ole Fox News. As we find out more and more about what really happened, it’s becoming clear that this narrative was severely flawed. If the federal response was messed up at all – and that’s not clear – it was 1,000 times better than the local response. Why is it that Michael Brown’s FEMA had deal with dozens of disasters previously without the shitstorm of criticism it faced in New Orleans? Because they didn’t screw up nearly as badly as the reporters said they did.

    The forest we’re supposed to be looking it is “what went wrong, what went right, and what can we do better next time?” The first step in that process should have been accurate reporting of things the reporters actually knew. Instead of that, we got a whole big load of rumors and legends endlessly repeated, including Broussard’s.

    Nobody immunized that bastard from his oath of office, and nobody held a gun to his head and made him lie and shed crocodile tears on national TV. Russert held him to account, he didn’t ambush him.

    At the end of the day, Broussard got far better treatment from Tim Russert than Bernie Goldberg got from you and your buddies on Donnie Deutsch.

  • corvan

    Richard is right. The more you write on this, Jeff, the more you ruin your crediblity. Your position on this from the get go has been to make yourself into a saint, and the governement into demons. Now that it has become clear that narrative, is well, untrue, you have begun to spin even more furiously. I’ve always enjoyed your blog, and was willing to let the Bernie Goldberg mugging slide. I still am, but now that I know that you’re running a fiction site I don’t figure I’ll be back as often.
    Sort of ironic isn’t it. The media claims that the stories they cover aren’t really about them, but damned if they don’t make them all about themselves in the end anyway.

  • No, Richard, you’re not getting it. Your beloved side fucked up. My side fucked up. They left your fellow citizens neglected. And if we don’t fix this then when the big earthquake and flood comes to you in Oregon, you’ll be fucked, too. This is about holding our politicians’ fee to to the fire, not just the ones you want to BBQ.

  • Aha, it’s Bernie’s hit squad again. I’d know you anywhere.

  • kat

    {“I believed in the story. The facts of the story were correct,” Rather told former newsman Marvin Kalb in an interview broadcast on C-SPAN last night. “One supporting pillar of the story, albeit an important one, one supporting pillar was brought into question. To this day, no one has proven whether it was what it purported to be or not.”
    To be sure of what he was just told, Kalb responded, “I believe you just said that you think the story is accurate.”
    “The story is accurate,” Rather reiterated.}
    Who cares if you have to use lies to tell it, right? Let’s forget the lies and dwell on the story. Sound familiar?

  • Jeff, what is the story? WHO, failed to do WHAT, WHEN they were supposed to, WHERE they were supposed to.

    Mayor Nagin failed to evacuate; failed to order bus drivers to drive busses for the poor; failed to follow the evacuation plan he had available.

    You’re right: “It sure as hell could and should have been better.” And, if Dem Nagin had DONE HIS JOB, it would have been better.

    “Is it about blame? I actually wish it weren’t” — but earlier you said “Justice is harder to fight for”, implying you DO want to know who to blame.

    Justice IS blame. And requires punishment for wrong behavior. Like having a friend get fired for (being bad on TV).

    The real story is that FIRST Dem Nagin failed; then Dem Gov. Blanco failed, and the LA director of HS failed (invisible Gen. L.); THEN later, FEMA failed. (72 hours later?).
    If this is NOT the real story, what is? You refuse to really specify it, though you mention it in platitudes:
    “I hope it is the ability to keep focused on the real story.”

    Brown should be fired (last; but already done); invisible Gen. Landreneu should be fired, and Dem Blanco should resign (lose next vote) and Dem Nagin should resign (lose next vote).

    Who should be fired, and why, is the real story. And we need honest facts, not emotionally satisfying TV drama, to decide.
    (I’m pretty sure you avoid the real story because you don’t actually want to call for Dem Mayor Nagin to resign, or be fired.)

  • Ravo

    I’m still waiting to hear what Bush did or did not do.

  • John

    OK, in a crisis situation like New Orleans, the “truth” sometimes passes down the line like the kids’ game of telephone, where either by accident or through embellishment, what actually happened is changed into something else entirely by the time it goes through enough people. And with the 24-hour news cycle through both the old and new media, the time to fact-check some of the most egregious errors is cut down to next to nothing, leaving the facts to be sorted out later.

    But what Broussard did was to either botch the story of Rodrigue’s mother’s death so bad as to all but slander those he blamed, or he did it deliberately, whiich is a direct slander on the FEMA officials he was accusing of murder for their failure to act.

    The point here is not to say FEMA did everthing right, or that state and federal officials did everything wrong. But on balance, it’s looking more and more as if the key initial planning faliures were at the state and local level, and Broussard’s original appearance on MTP was part of a bi-partisan effort by those state and local officials to shirk their responsibility. After all the details that came out following the original broadcast Russert would have shirking his responsibility not to force Broussard to explain his original remarks, given that his time line was so much at odds with what really happened.

  • Jeff says: This is about holding our politicians’ fee to to the fire, not just the ones you want to BBQ.

    Exactly, the media should hold their feet to the fire one bastard at a time; and that’s exactly what Tim Russert did.

  • The real story is that FIRST Dem Nagin failed; then Dem Gov. Blanco failed, and the LA director of HS failed (invisible Gen. L.); THEN later, FEMA failed. (72 hours later?).

    Oh holy fucking Christ get the facts straight before we go around this carousel again:

    The state of emergency was declared in Lousiana two days before Katrina hit — the anonymous Bush Administration official who claimed otherwise turned out to be full of shit when he claimed to the Washingston Post that it hadn’t; FEMA was activated shortly thereafter.

    By all means scrutinize the actions of Mayor Nagin and Governor Blanco, but don’t pretend the Feds could only helplessly stand by while all of this nasty business went down. They had all of the authority they needed before the hurricane even made landfall, and yet they sat on their asses.

    Curious that the response time in two states run (and formerly run) by Bush men on the other hand was so much different than what happened in Lousiana. But don’t get me wrong, I’m not one of those conspiracy theorists.

    It’s simply just what you’d expect if you were living in a corrupt third-world nation — the governmental apparatus, being stacked with nothing but political appointees, has every reason to leap to attention if their boss’ interests are threatened and not give a flying fig newton if they aren’t.

    I guess there’s only so much government to go around in case of emergency these days. So who is the FEMA chief going to burn the midnight oil and the resources for — the President’s brother in Florida or a governor and mayor belonging to the opposition party?

  • Richard: Russert didn’t hold his feet to the fire as a government administrator but as a reporter. That’s the point. He held his feet to the fire for criticizing your boy, George.
    I’ll hold all their damned feet to the fire.

  • Dennis Mosher

    I watched both Russert vs Broussard encounters.

    Jeff, you call Russert’s “attack” on Broussard “unseemly.”

    Remember that it was Boussard who chose to exploit the death of his associate’s mother for political purposes. That to me was unseemly, as well as callous and calclulated. I happen to think that his grief was real, mixed with anger, and his on-air sobbing was genuine — he just lost it.

    In the follow up interview, Russert called him on the facts, (those pesky things) just like he calls most of his guests. Broussard deflects this by launching another emotional tirade about “nitpicking” the facts of the death of his friend’s mother, and the “black-hearted” people who would dare to doubt his motives, and so on.

    Russert has cut off Colin Powell, Joe Biden, Dick Cheney, and John Kerry — but he was too intimidated to interrupt Aaron Broussard. So Broussard ran on for at least 5 minutes — evading the point that the woman’s death was NOT the fault of Federal officials, but the result of the lack of local compliance with an established evacuation plan.

    At the minimum, NBC had an obligation to run a correction to Broussard’s assertion that the Federal Government was guilty of negligent homicide.

    I like facts. The more accurate the better. I don’t need “passion” from people who purport to be news reporters. I just want them to report accurately. I’ll decide for myself what the larger “truth” is.

    I know there are seminars, symposiums & whatnot about “The Role of Journalism in Society etc……..”

    How ’bout this: just report the fucking facts, for a change?

  • Sorry, Jeff. Still in hornet mode here, apparently.

    Some of your sentiments here are worthy, but you are still ultimately *defending* the fog of “the fog of war”. Clinging to early perceptions formed by rumors and fables does *not* help us to understand what did and didn’t happen.

    If you’re worried about Russert playing favorites, then your focus would be on calling Russert to do more tough interviews (like he, er, does every week). But that’s not what you’re doing. You’re pleading special consideration for a man caught baldly lying who tried crying his way out of it and demonizing people for even questioning him.

  • shark

    The story in New Orleans is much larger: all about what government’s responsibilities are and whether government met those responsibilties and whether we can learn from the mistakes that government and others made and whether we will all be safer the next time… or whether we’ll be too damned busy pissing on each other. Are we a society or a debating society?

    A society needs open and vigorous debate and discussion to thrive. And what we need more than anything is real clear facts, not distorted perceptions.

    In the meantime, I notice that you won’t stop pissing on Bush. Hypocrite.

  • John

    Jeff, if there’s any kind of emotion-related backdrop to Sunday’s interview, it’s that Russert held his feet to the fire because Broussard make Russert look like a jack-ass three weeks earlier. His emotional breakdown on-screen was extremely powerful at the time, and MTP and NBC were more than happy to put out the video of the incident everywhere, because for a Sunday morning talk show, it was something far more than just a three-second sound byte.

    Then the reports start coming in thaty maybe the time line as related by Broussard isn’t what he said it was, and to its credit, NBC went back and did its own investigation and found out that what Russert was told on Sept. 4 by Broussard was at best inaccurate and at worst an outright lie. So it wouldn’t be surprising if Russert felt burned by Broussard and wanted to publically get him to explain why he thought/said what he did on the original broadcast. And (as mentioned above in this thread) NBC has said they told Broussard before he went on this past Sunday that the nursing home death would be among the questions he would be asked.

    But aside from personal ego, Russert also had a responsibility to the federal officials slandered in the original broadcast. Remember, before he broke down and cried in the Sept. 4 interview, Broussard was adament in saying Kathleen Blanco and the other state officials had done absolutely nothing wrong in the run-up to and the events after Katrina’s arrival. It was only after that statement that he broke down and tarred FEMA with at the very least neglegent homicide for failing to get Rodrigue’s mother out of the nursing home before she drowned.

    So the crux of his statement was: Broussard, Blanco & other local officials — Tireless Angels Doing All They Could in a Hellish Situation. Brown & FEMA workers — Uncaring Satanic Scum. And that went out to over 200 NBC stations across the country. Russert would have been as bad as the New York Times’ corrections page when it comes to Geraldo Rivera if he had let that stand with no future effort to correct the record once the new information came to light.

  • shark

    Also Jeff, how can we trust the media to give us the proper “truth” and “lessons” and “story”?

    You want an example?

    I see much media too-do over Halliburton and Shaw Group being given contracts ti work in NO. The Halliburton/Cheney connection is played prominently. But who the Shaw Group is connected to just doesn’t seem to come up nearly as much, if at all.

    Jeff, I give you one guess to explain why.

    Then tell me exactly why I should trust people like you with anything.

  • My reaction to Broussard’s initial appearance on MTP was to wonder why a public official would tell stories about something in another jurisdiction about which he had no first-hand knowledge. Surely, Broussard — a heroic man of action and responsible elected official — must have seen things in his own Parish that he could have talked about, if there were even one honest bone in this shiftless body. So why even go there in the first place? But histrionics put this question out-of-bounds.

    I’m confused with the Democrats and their attitude toward lying. When Clinton did it, it was no big deal and we had to move on. Then Bush did it and it was a big deal again and he had to meet with Cindy Sheehan. Now the rioting media horde has done it and it’s no big deal again.

    Is there a pattern I should be seeing?

  • shark

    By the way Jeffy:

    Police Chief Eddie Compass said rumors (especially those reported as fact by the 24/7 cable outlets) had often crippled authorities’ response to reported lawlessness, sending badly needed resources to respond to situations that turned out not to exist.

    So when you’re all so concerned about what went wrong, etc etc, will you only look at “all levels” of govt., or will you admit the part the media played in all of this?

    And again, after shit like this, can you explain why I should trust you to overlook facts in favor of giving me the overarching lessons (as determined by the media)

    Go ahead, convince me.

  • Eileen

    Well, Jeff, I give you kudos for bravery.

    The problem many of us see is that the only story the media has told is that Bush and FEMA failed, without providing any factual support for the claim. Broussard’s breakdown was, I’m sure, a Hallelujah moment. And he only pointed to the Feds. I saw that breakdown on nightly news. Of course I haven’t seen any corrections or the 2nd Russert interview on nightly news. MSM continues to studiously avoid all efforts to investigate or report upon any issues related to local or state actions/inactions. I have yet to hear that Red Cross food and water was prevented from being provided in NO by the state.

    As they fried Brown up for dinner today, MSM failed to report that it is NOT FEMA’s role or responsibility to evacuate cities – or that he advised the committee accordingly. Nor does FEMA have either the jurisdiction or power to do so. But the way it’s portrayed, that’s exactly what they fault him for failing to do. Why didn’t he have those FEMA provided buses there faster? Why didn’t he rescue all those people immediately?

    As for federal troops, they could not be utilized without state authorization/request, and that request wasn’t made until Wednesday, the 31st. [Notice TX was using military transport planes to evacuate the ill Before Rita ever hit.] But we don’t ever hear about any of these *basic facts*.

    Not only are myths and legends being reported as reality, but the lack of accurate reporting on roles and responsibilities combines to create an utterly false picture about ‘what went wrong’.

    I believe most of us would acknowledge federal faults if we’re shown them. So far that hasn’t happened. And until it does – if it does – we’re not going to accept this meme that ‘failure occured on all levels’, while the MSM continues in its tireless efforts to bring down this administration (as well as its party in the next election) on the back of Katrina.

    Unfortunately, I know I can’t rely on media to give me any reliable reporting any more unless it’s related to something that’s so innocuous political points can’t be gleaned from it. And there is precious little they can’t find Something to mine on pretty much any topic under the sun. I might find a little fact here and another little fact there (for example, the LA Times piece was relatively forthright today) but that’s about it.

    Journalism should not be about agenda actualization, but unfortunately that’s the tar pit it’s in.

  • Joe Schmo

    I appreciate this post and most of the comments. I think we’re a debating society, but still a society. I’m not surprised at the exagerrations or extra helping of drama from the media. Behind the reporters, and the government officials on whatever levels, are the individuals that make up a society and select the figures that will head it.

    I hope there is a lot of discussion, arguments and reflection on all the aftermath, but don’t forget there is Mother Nature who can and will knock us all on our asses. She can, in a blink, turn us from a “civilized country” to puny humans scrambling in the dark. People wigged. People do that.

    Just have to find a way to learn from it both internally on an individual level, and as a society of debating puny humans.

  • EverKarl

    Once a fact is reported and known it is, of course, a commodity: Everybody knows it, nobody owns it. The fact isn’t the story. The story is the story. The real story in New Orleans is not that one tragic old lady. The story in New Orleans is much larger: all about what government’s responsibilities are and whether government met those responsibilties and whether we can learn from the mistakes that government and others made and whether we will all be safer the next time… or whether we’ll be too damned busy pissing on each other. Are we a society or a debating society?

    I hope we’re both. Because there were a lot of “facts known” in this story that are turning out not to be facts at all. And given that the media was content to flood the zone with a narrative that seems to be going the way of the 17th St. levee, the only way that we are going to learn from this episode is if the issues are fully discussed and debated.

    And FWIW, I thought JJ’s post here was much more sensible in tone and content than his prior post, his later comment above referencing someone’s “boy, George” notwithstanding. Bush has largely stayed away from playing the blame game, which is more than I can say for Broussard.

    Also, the notion that Russert — a guy whose experience before joining NBC was working for Mario Cuomo and Pat Moynihan — was somehow fronting for Bush last Sunday is laughable.

  • Jane

    “Nearly four days after Hurricane Rita hit, many of the storm’s sweltering victims along the Texas Gulf Coast were still waiting for electricity, gasoline, water and other relief Tuesday, prompting one top emergency official to complain that people are “living like cavemen.””

    Where’s the outrage? Bush must hate refinery workers.

    Beaumont, Jasper, Port Arthur and Orange – where’s the wall-to-wall coverage – without the murder and mayhem, do we not have a story?

    And if we don’t fix this then when the big earthquake and flood comes to you in Oregon, you’ll be fucked, too. What if there is no fix? Being fucked may simply be part and parcel to being in the wrong place at the wrong time.

  • Eileen

    Amen, Jane.

  • Ravo

    Look at the activity that scum Broussard caused the nations mushbrains to perpetrate..

    Broussard had the mushbrains all screaming like this…

    “N.O. needs to convene Grand Jurys to investigate and indict Bush and his fellow criminals. Do it now and strike at the bastards. “

    Russert was wa-a-ay too easy on Broussard…he should have been a LOT rougher. Total humiliation and even – to borrow a phrase from another dysfunctional La official..a punch…would have not even have totaled a fraction of what Broussard’s lies caused to be thrown at Bush.

    Broussard should be put in jail for attempting to incite a riot during a time of crisis.

  • Ravo

    I believe most of us would acknowledge federal faults if we’re shown them. So far that hasn’t happened.

    with all the venom directed at Bush, in over three weeks we’ve yet to be shown even ONE clearly defined wrong move on the Katrina disaster Bush that has perpetrated.

    Either clear him or charge him. And if you can’t, at least drop the “ALL LEVELS of government “(FED) crap to Local and State Government.

  • APF

    The point is that all the emotive hyperventilating and the rush to indict Bush specifically–literally using the bodies the dead as the sticks and rocks to do it with–has increasingly being revealed to be opportunistic and ghoulish political hackery. Your “Greater Truth” that everyone screwed up is likely true to differing extents. But finding out what exactly those extents are is wading through a bramble-patch of a story, shoddily constructed by the media and by Bush’s political opponents. Perhaps that’s life, but to defend a prefabricated story whose edges appear to be crumbling with every coming day is absurd and myopic. People looking for the truth should have been wary of the rush to construct The Truth while the bodies themselves hadn’t even been counted and the extent of the damage itself hadn’t been assessed.

  • APF

    (sorry about the italics, I’m not sure what happened)

  • Oddly enough, there has been very little discussion about the FEMA buses. I believe that counts as a very clear and shining case of FEMA dropping the ball, or more correctly forgetting their glove.

    Regarding the NOLA debunking article linked in the post, somehow I think all those anecdotes are going to turn out to have a bit of truth to them (except the one about cannibalism). See this for some contradictory statements.

    Jeff Jarvis: Please get rid of the nofollow tags on this site.

  • Ravo

    Jersey, Jersey, it’s time YOU got your facts straight.

    don’t pretend the Feds could only helplessly stand by while all of this nasty business went down. They had all of the authority they needed before the hurricane even made landfall, and yet they sat on their asses.

    No pretense needed: You are confusing requesting aid, (money…THAT Blanco did do immediately) with giving permission for allowing soldiers to help – permission for which Blanco held back until the 31st.

  • corvan

    I’m not a memeber of Goldberg’s hit squad. Jeff, being wrong is one thing. Being paranoid is another. Being wrong and paranoid at the same time is the journalism two-step. See Dan Rather’s interview with Marvin Kalb for specifics. Geez, what do you people do to each other in j-school?

  • shark


    Here is the “lesson” or the “truth” of the thing:

    Thanks to your over hysterical media coverage, you know what the consequece will be? The Federal Govt is now going to totally take disaster relief into their hands. Because there are 2 truisms here: The Govt dislikes being criticized for things beyond their control, and they NEVER pass up a chance to increase their power. Trust me, this is NOT a good thing.

    Also, there are BILLIONS of rebuilding dollars in the balance here. By showcasing your “lessons” and “truths” on the Fed level, you’re making it soooooo much easier for all that money to flow back into the pockets of the same corrupt local pols who caused these problems in the 1st place.

    THAT’S what the real story in New Orleans is Jeffy. You’re screwing us again. Don’t add insult to injury by acting like you’re doing us a favor while you’re doing it

  • Eileen

    “…you’re making it soooooo much easier for all that money to flow back into the pockets of the same corrupt local pols who caused these problems in the 1st place.”

    As to this part, shark, I don’t quite agree. Remember that interview of Nagin in which he stated there had been ‘turf wars’ related to ‘money’ between Blanco and Bush? As she tried to extort money from the feds while denying their assistance/troops/evacuation control…….she was also starving and dehydrating her people in the dome and convention center. Her little squeeze play is going to come back to haunt her in many ways, as there isn’t a snowflake’s chance in hell that the federal government is now going to hand over a bunch of cash to LA to distribute in the same ‘ole way. (You can win the battle but lose the war.)

    Ah. So many bets have been hedged and then definitively lost in Katrina: MSM’s, Nagin’s and Blanco’s. Sad? Not really. Not really at all.

    Aside from the Katrina survivors, who unequivocably know who failed them and who did not without even debating it – (reference the ABC interview of Astrodome evacuees after Bush’s speech) – and without the assistance of MSM’s agenda(!), there is even more beauty in this story:

    Truth will prevail; it always does. And it will inure to all of our benefit.

  • owl 1

    “The story is the story.” Fuel for debate. I actually think the story should have been about helping the people in NO. and reporting on several hundred deaths and horrors in other states.

    Now what I saw on my TV divides into 2 main viewpoints. You think the story of New Orleans is how government responded. Journalists holding government responsible, feet to the fire. What I saw on TV was a natural disaster being used as number ten thousand and one campaign to “finally get that bastard”. And media almost becoming hysterical because “this one is real, folks…’s real….we can make this one work because it is real.”

    First salvo……Media, including those wonderful internationals, declared Katrina Bush’s fault because he would not sign Kyoto. The Left said “that’s right”, little knowing that something bigger was going to be given to them. NO flooded.

    Then the usual suspects trot out the racism charge. After all, the people are mostly poor and black. We all know Bush is racist (remember the ad?) and is responsible for putting them in poverty. Do not let a few facts stand in any reporters way please. It’s all true because “professional” journalists have cemented these legends and quoted themselves over and over.

    Then they found their hearts and souls. They cried and felt the pain. But that is not all they did. They were busy little bees allowing everyone and his dog to point a finger at the FEDS (Bush). They quoted the mayor. They quoted lil Mary wanting to left hook. They quoted the distraught Gov that no one would help. They quoted Eddie Compass. They quoted rumors. They quoted Broussard. They got emotional and cried, glared and shouted. THEY WAGED A WONDERFUL WAR ON BUSH. But they also waged another war on at least half of the American public. Me.

    Shouldn’t be about me? Of course not. But the journalists do not give a fig at this point about being journalists. That is the story. It has been the story for several years. If they were not chasing a political agenda, they would not have stood in the same spot for days. The NO story was in Baton Rouge. Help for those people was going to come through Baton Rouge. Finding help for those people, dry buses, food and water…Baton Rouge.

    I can even tell you why they were not in Baton Rouge. They have such tunnel vision in this war they wage, they could not even conceive of the possibility that something else was wrong with their picture. (This is the Bernie BIAS) So why is the media so excited? Abu Ghraib, AWOL, Wilson, torture, protesters, a month of Mother……..Folks, we have the poor blacks trapped and it is all George W Bush’s fault. His government failed these people. We told you so. That is their story and they are sticking to it.

  • Eileen

    “I can even tell you why they were not in Baton Rouge.”

    You just did, Owl…oh so eloquently, you just did.

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  • Jeff, today when you get on I78 and drive into NYC, a tornado might sweep up you and your new Toyota. There is nothing that the governor or FEMA can do about it. Shit happens. Hurricanes, tornadoes, earthquakes, floods, avalanches, accidents. These are out of your control.

    But if the media shows up, looks at the damage, and starts writing stories about your car being looted and this being one of dozens of people killed by a tornado, and their bodies are littering the soon-to-be-developed lots in Somerset County, and they write these stories based on rumors they hear from passersby, and if a public official gets on TV and weeps and screams because a friend’s mother died because the government refused to save her from a tornado, when in fact the phones were out and the woman;s caretakers abandoned her…well that’s different. This last part is no accident.

  • Kos says that the Times Picayune piece and the story in the LA Times proves that the media is “responding to right-wing pressure”. He quotes another blogger saying “Last I looked, New Orleans was still flooded. Did the media make that up?” (a complete irrelevancy… Jeff Jarvis also seems to be worried about this, that somehow we’re trying to prove that there wasn’t even a storm, when we’re really talking about very specific fabrications)

    Right now, go look at Power Line, a major player in RatherGate, and you’ll find them having fun with a new book by Mary Mapes which, in the most clueless fashion, she tries to smear the people who outed her and Rather. It’s the exact same message: the right has no business correcting lies and distortions. Why? Seems that it’s just because. Logic: we don’t like people on the right THEREFORE the people on the right have no business trying to correct anything. We don’t like people on the right THEREFORE they’re evil for contradicting us, even — no, *especially* when we’re lying about *them*.

    Mapes can’t even get straight the typographic terminology involved in demonstrating the forgery (she calls it “peripheral spacing”), and repeats the misconception about the timing of the first post on FreeRepublic (a little something called time zones). Her ongoing defense is, like Broussard’s, a transparent attempt to demonize people digging for the actual truth.

    You can’t do this anymore. Jeff Jarvis of all people should know… you can not do this anymore, not when people can “fact-check your ass” on the internet. The left is going to have to get over the fact that they don’t have monopolistic control over three lone national networks and no longer control selective parsing of the news for their benefit (and no number of Kos diaries will ever completely replace that sweet, long-gone situation)

    Thanks to the internet and other alternative media, the truth is going to keep on coming out, whether it hurts Democrats or Republicans. You can not stop the truth anymore by crying and smearing and demonizing, distracting and parsing and distorting.

    The simple fact, the forest, the trees, the leaves, and all the little birdies sitting in their nests: the frustrated fringe left hyped up a lot of distortions — once again — and the emotional swell of it carried a lot of otherwise more moderate people along for the ride. Now the distortions are being pushed away by facts, and the moderates are ashamed to admit that they were wrong, while the fringe is going to keep shouting that the truth is really the lie, and their lies are the real truth — despite bothersome “facts”.

    Correcting the distortions of the left does not take away one whit the actual tragedy that *did* happen. In fact, it helps us focus more on what *did* happen and *is* happening by removing the distractions of things that DIDN’T HAPPEN.

  • Jody Tresidder

    It genuinely feels as if you’ve suffered some sort of “cognitive episode” as a neurologist might gently term it. I still don’t think you’re absorbing these comments.
    Let’s take an outrageous comparison (even though I’m breaking Godwin’s Law here).
    Say Anne Frank’s Diary turned out to be a fake. The only response would be to back away from that narrative. Period. Wouldn’t matter if it illuminated wider truths. Or if the Holocaust – to insert your own words – “was bad in many ways we don’t even know”. That fake diary is no longer a plausible part of the story.
    As I commented at Brian Oberkirch’s blog, tapping into the empathy of disinterested observers of a distant disaster is an extremely powerful call to charitable action. For obvious reasons, it must be used sparingly. I happened to be in the UK all during Katrina where the original Broussard clip was aired endlessly (and effectively) as the ne plus ultra human snapshot of the hurricane and the response.
    I’ve since explained the murky background of Broussard’s lamentation to UK friends. And their response has been – unanimously – “you’ve got to be kidding – the sobbing guy wasn’t telling the truth?”. When it turns out this highly emotional footage was not exactly as it seemed – and that perfectly justified attempts to set the record straight are spun as shooting the messenger, the heart hardens a little.

  • John

    And speaking of breaking down and crying, I’d say the odds are 50-50 that Gov. Blanco does it at least once today if the questioning gets too tough before the Congressional committee she’s testifying before, along with Mississippi Gov. Barbour and Alabama Gov. Riley, on their states’ evacuation, rescue and recovery efforts pre- and post-Katrina.

    Kathleen was almost a full week ahead of Broussard in doing the crying thing before the national media’s cameras, and in fact might have even been an inspiration for Aaron before he went on Meet the Press.

  • Come on, Jeff, you’re hanging in there bravely trying, but of course you’ve been at this too long not to know that an element of posters wants things their own way, and are not open to another point of view. Gentle reason, shouting, tears, just get in the way and make it necessary to invent other approaches.

    Note that the fact that the murder and mayhem turned out to be made up doesn’t occupy much attention. It can’t be used to try another way of implying that non-rightwingers hate America.

    If you get a chance to watch Brown squirming out how dysfunctional LA ruined his role (which was sheerly coordination – at which he totally failed) please do. it will give you an idea of what he’s kept on the payroll at FEMA for. And this is just before the perfunctory pro forma ‘investigation’ which is all the GOP can brave as substitute for a factfinding action.

  • Note that the fact that the murder and mayhem turned out to be made up doesn’t occupy much attention.

    Huh? That’s part and parcel of why this right-wing nut-job is raking the media over the coals in my one post on the subject. The media can’t report the basic facts correctly, preferring sensational rumor-mongering, because that gets the ratings. Broussard/Russert just happens to be Exhibit A. I’m sorry if that ruins the lesson.

  • Actually, the madeup murder and mayhem occupies quite a bit of time here in these comments. The madeup murder and mayhem is about the press and its responsibilities and performance.

    There are commentors who harp on ideology, true. But many others focus on the press fiction and what it means.

    Meanwhile, here is a delicious quote from a story in Editor and Publisher today about the press fiction, and why reporters were so happy to report it. Note that this quote is from someone who teaches journalism RESEARCH and ETHICS.

    The chaos also seemed to affect some reporters and editors, said Kelly McBride, who teaches ethics to journalists at the Poynter Institute, a journalism research and education center in St. Petersburg, Fla.

    “You get so hung up as a reporter on what the big picture is that you use generalizations that become untrue,” McBride said. ”

    Let’s deconstruct this quote. “You get so hung up as reporter on what the big picure is that you use generalization that become untrue.” Doesn’t that mean that you lie to get your point across? Or at least shield your eyes from the truth?

    This is disturbing. Jeff, what do you think? Isn’t this what you’re saying, at least somewhat?

  • Andy Freeman

    > Note that the fact that the murder and mayhem turned out to be made up doesn’t occupy much attention. It can’t be used to try another way of implying that non-rightwingers hate America.

    When it was in the news, it was part of the “Bush failed, people died” argument. It disappeared when it ceased to support said argument.

  • Ravo

    “know that an element of posters wants things their own way, and are not open to another point of view.”

    No, Marym, you simply don’t get we don’t want it our “own” way…we want to hear it the way it REALLY IS.

    That seems to be an unbelievably hard concept for those who have spent weeks MAKING IT UP their OWN way!

    Borrowing from Tom Grey’s words: Jeff, what is the story? WHO, failed to do WHAT, WHEN were they supposed to, WHERE they were supposed to.

    I asked that repeatedly about Pres. Bush, and if nothing can be found…WHAT did he fail to do, WHEN did he fail to do it, WHERE did he fail to do it,




  • Ravo

    Oops, sorry…the italics should have stopped after the first paragraph. (quoting Tom,)

    starting with “I asked… no longer Tom’s words, but mine.


  • Lance

    If that is what you meant Jeff that is a little better. It just doesn’t carry any need for outrage. I don’t think anyone is losing sight of looking for what we can do to be better at this kind of thing, though there is a debate about who to look at the most.

    I have no sympathy for you carrying water for Broussard, as if he is some naif who was caught up in the spotlight and can’t be held accountable. We in Louisiana know who he is and know better.

    You want the larger truth, Broussard is the larger truth. We have spent yeras down here being the butt of everybody’s jokes because of these characters, but many so-called liberals clap when they are elected because they are Democrats. That is what La. deserves in their mind, they like their politicians that way down there, right? Never mind these are the people who segregated our state for so long, trashed the environment and any number of sins that liberals are supposed to abhor. So the money keeps flowing, the pork keeps coming and liberals look the other way while they buy votes and do whatever it takes to stay in power. That is the larger truth and for the first time since the civil rights era our stinky mess is on your doorstep and you want to pretend it came from Washington? You are missing the larger truth Jeff. That Russert only touched it by asking him to explain himself is bad as well.

    I also think you need to withdraw the ambush charge. He was warned ahead of time. He could have answered the questions. He could have refused to go on the show. He was not ambushed however and you should stop acting as if he was.

    The questions about his story were also not unseemly. Russert was fairly gentle, it was the question that was tough, and inherently so. Is it unseemly to question the federal effort because people died? Why so in the case of Broussard? Blame does exist at all levels and Broussard is one of those most blame worthy. If a person tearing up allows them to escape accountability we’ll see a lot more of it, especially when Broussard was so transparently performing.

  • Ravo

    It’s time for a widespread boycott of the main media. I’ve been doing it out of preference for years, only occasionally looking at a local paper. On the internet, I can see ALL sides.

    Just a fantasy, I know…….

    Insist they air a program that undoes all the Katrina falsehoods. Insist the papers run a full page ad detailing them.

    Let them know it, let their sponsors know it, and let them know that until they undo the damage of slandered reputations and restore integrity, over half (we did win the election) their audience will be AWOL.

    Sigh, never will happen I guess…but it is a nice fantasy. Imagine, calling your cable, satellite etc. provider and stopping service and telling them why. Boycotting news and blather programs would take a longer time, but 1/2 the country plain out cutting the lines of the TV media…WOW…you’d get a reaction in a week.

    dumb idea…but fun to think about. How I hate those lying bastards.

  • shark

    dumb idea…but fun to think about. How I hate those lying bastards

    Jeffy among them….

  • Ravo

    “As she tried to extort money from the feds while denying their assistance/troops/evacuation control…….she was also starving and dehydrating her people in the dome and convention center.”

    Why is Blanco not facing charges of negligent homicide?

  • owl 1

    Lance, only a person raised in the deep South would understand about LA politicians. You speak the language. Broussard is almost a perfect specimen. Knew he was lying immediately (and a little common sense on facts). If you know the landscape……you knew. Yes, I am a former Democratic voter. Do not ever think LA does not know how to find and use buses. Shame there was not an election in Baton Rouge that allowed NO voters.

    Ravo, I just assumed your previous post was……well, emotional.

    I tried to express my emotional, heartfelt feelings on the Katrina Media Fiasco above. Shouted, since I can’t figure out a way to post a cry. Another story would have been the heros and real helping hands by regular people in a huge disaster. What wonderful, amazing things that people and government accomplished. What a story. Look how government helped people. Holding my breath.


    Wow Jeff you’re getting your ass kicked. Please respond to the challange that you’re readers have issued. How exactly did the feds screw up? Use specifics only please, I know that’s not your style but the people posting here are much too smart to buy into the generalities we’ve been subject to thus far.

  • Ravo

    Owl, yes, I’m emotional.

    That Broussard story hurt. I recently lost my elderly mother, so I personalized and was haunted by the spector of that mother calling her son.

    The viciousness of our press is beyond reason. They’ve hurt every one of us.

    They’ve launched an unprecedented attack on our federal government.

    What a beating they’ve given our President. We finally have an honest man leading us who has the courage to do the unpopular but necessary things, content that “history will judge him” after he has gone.

    God bless how goes about quietly ignoring the fools who so unspeakably attack him. I cannot believe the grace he has shown under all this.

    I thank you Owl…for your very informative posts.

    You are so right when you say where are all the wonderful stories.

    why do we not see this
    A FEMA Volunteer Judges The FEMA Response As She Saw It

    …the answer is the press.

  • Eileen


    It might be interesting to pose a few queries to the U.S. Department of Justice:

    There are plenty of examples of Federal indictments against former governors. As to sitting governors? I don’t know.

    A few questions might include:

    1. It is my understanding that the state of LA prevented the Red Cross from entering New Orleans to provide emergency relief, including food and water, in the aftermath of hurricane Katrina. That fact is clearly stated at the Red Cross web site. Is there any consideration for indicting Kathleen Blanco for deaths which resulted from her decision to prevent aid from reaching folks at the Superdome and Convention Center?

    2. It is my understanding from a televised interview of Mayor Nagin that there were “turf wars” between Governor Blanco and President Bush related to “money” at a time when she was continuing to deny Federal offers of assistance to coordinate the evacuation of New Orleans. Was Blanco attempting to extort money from the federal government in exchange for local cooperation? Is this a matter of investigation at the DOJ?

  • whodat

    “We finally have an honest man leading us who has the courage to do the unpopular but necessary things, content that “history will judge him” after he has gone.

    God bless how goes about quietly ignoring the fools who so unspeakably attack him. I cannot believe the grace he has shown under all this.”

    Can I sue Ravo and/or Buzz Machine? I totally gagged on a wheat thin and almost choked when I was reading that.

    He is not honest. He is a politician. Unpopular but necessary things? Like cutting the Vets budget?

  • Ravo, best wishes in your loss of your mother.

    I read the piece you sent a cite for: am curious:
    “There were DMAT teams inside the Super Dome before the levee broke. Never before had so many FEMA teams and personnel been sent into a disaster.

    One thing you must understand: the DMAT, VMAT, and DMORT teams that make up the National Disaster Medical System are NOT “first responders.” Our job is to supplement overwhelmed communities if needed. The initial responsibility lies with the state. If they become overwhelmed in the aftermath of a disaster where their local hospitals, medical, veterinary, and mortuary assets cannot handle the magnitude of the disaster, we come in and augment their resources. It takes 24 to 48 hours to mobilize the federal assets in normal circumstances. We come from every state in the United States, leaving our jobs and families behind at the drop of a hat to help where ever it is needed. Our cache of equipment and medical supplies must either be moved from our home base or from the federal warehouses in Maryland by truck or plane. This takes time. But we were there before Katrina hit and many more arrived immediately after even before knowing the full scope of this disaster. ”

    Why, then, is Brown declaring that FEMA is small in force and has the job only of ‘coordinating other relief agencies’? Curiouser and curiouser.

  • Ravo

    With your permission, may I use your words? I’d find it impossible to improve upon them.

    Better, perhaps those who think Blanco ought not to get away with this, could use those paragraphs as well and send in as many as we can.

    It bodes well to find out if Blanco is simply dense as some say, or if her motives were to extort. Either way, she should not remain Gov.

    She had a similiar delay with Ivan. It would have gone much worse, had Ivan behaved like Katrina. Blanco should have been dealt with last year, and perhaps this year some lives and suffering would have been spared.
    From 2004 In the meantime, a one-finger salute to our government officials here in Louisiana for the horrible effort at evacuation. Had Ivan taken a western turn, this would have been not only a major blow to New Orleans but a major loss of life.

    And Broussard, IMHO he definitely needs some sort of legal action.

  • Eileen


    Please do (and thanks). I sent mine off about 10 minutes ago.

  • Ravo

    Marym…I don’t pretend to know these things. Because I don’t know, I look to find truthful answers. It doesn’t seem we can easily find them.

    Did FEMA fail? – Brown has been fired

    Is this correct? I don’t know…but I’d like to.

  • Ravo

    OK, Eileen…thanks..I will do the same tonight.

  • Ravo


    No one manages to do everything right, but with Bush I do think the intent is there byond most politicians. Hopefully, some of the money kept out of the La corruption machine will find it’s way back to the more deserving Vets.

  • whodat

    well have to agree to disagree there. Too many interests are in the oval office I think.

  • Eileen

    OT News Flash: No More IFC at Ground Zero!

    I just received this:

    We are very pleased to announce that Governor Pataki has announced the removal of the International Freedom Center (IFC) from Ground Zero. See for details.

  • Li

    The thing that I believe is continually lost in this discussion and in so many others going around the internet, is that the death toll and mayhem from Katrina has ended up to be nowhere near what was originally predicted or feared (or rumored). Katrina was absolutely beyond horrible and many families are suffering terribly. I do not mean to diminish the deaths and destruction in ANY way. However, by any realistic standard 1000 dead is just not the same level of catastrophe as 10,000 dead….especially in a wide-swath cat 4 hurricane that hit in heavily populated areas. It’s just not. So, in my mind the whole story, the whole premise, is now rather different than it was presented early on with respect to blame or accountability- whichever word you prefer. Yet, it seems so many of us are still stuck at and reacting to the “original” premise and still (perhaps unconsciously) framing the story around that original (incorrect) premise of 10,000 deaths.

    There is not one single level of government from the Parish administrators to City and State officials to the Federal government (including Congresses past and present) that did not make mistakes, did not miscalculate, did not mis-communicate, and did not fail to do things that should have been done to protect the populace both before and during the hurricane. That is a fact. It is undeniable. No one deserves a “pass”. As a society we absolutely must evaluate all those points of response and responsibility in a clear -headed way, learn from the mistakes and failures, replace officials where warranted, redraw disaster plans, and try to do a much, much better job next time. (All the while knowing that circumstances will be different “next time” and things WILL still go wrong next time.)

    But, in all fairness, every one of those governmental entities mentioned above also planned things, and did things, and ordered things, and appropriated things and arranged things that certainly saved lives and helped prevent an even worse catastrophe from materializing. Add to that the work of the private disaster response organizations. Maybe what they all did in concert was a large part of the difference between 10,000 and 1000 deaths? Can we accept or even entertain that possibility? Maybe the whole disaster reponse to Katrina was actually better than we have been able to admit. Can we try to at least test that out as a frame for the story?

  • kat

    Today, I heard some guy on CNN blame the lies on racism. He said that had such lies been told in a white neighborhood, no one would believe them, but they were believed because the people were Blacks. So it wasn’t the media’s fault for telling the whoppers–it was our fault for believing them. We are racists for believing what the media fed us 24-7 regarding rapes, murders, etc.

  • Jody Tresidder

    Which brings us round neatly to Jeff’s peculiar thesis on the whole mess; that it is our responsibility to extract the right truth from the wrong facts.

  • corvan

    Strange, over at NRO Jonah Goldberg has taken a stance on this issue that is sort of similar to Jeff’s. Apprently discounting accuracy is a journalism thing rather than a left-right thing.

  • Maybe these dudes are trying to say that getting the facts right isn’t all that journos should be doing. It’s possible to be perfectly accurate in the recitation of the facts and still be misleading, simply by being selective about which facts you mention and which ones you don’t, after all.

    Journos also don’t want to be relegated to the role of being fact-collectors for the blogosphere, because the opining is way more fun. It could be that the driving force behind The Great New Orleans Media Riot of 2005 was the desire of the MSM not to be slave to the blogs.

  • Jane

    6 bodies found at Dome; 4 at Convention Center

    In Houston, 17 out of 31 recorded deaths … resulted from heat-related illnesses during the mass evacuation…none of the deaths occurred during the storm itself.

    One could argue persuasively that there was planning failure in Houston, the contra flow didn’t occur soon enough, gasoline tankers were not pre-position along the evacuation route, the overblown Katrina/Rita coverage compelled far greater number of voluntary evacuees to join in the exodus with the mandatory evacuees, rather than 1M on the road, they had 2.5M on the road. (Notice with Rita there is less emphasis on whether it was FEMA or the federal government that failed in ensuring a safe evacuation of a heavily populated area.)

    My concern about the Katrina coverage is that individuals in other urban areas may not seek shelter in public facilities in the event of a natural disaster. If you were visiting Miami, Los Angeles, Detroit and were compelled to seek shelter in their respective convention centers, would you take your family there or would you try to ride it out in your hotel?

    The image that stays with me from Katrina is the interview with the 12-year old girl screaming into the microphone, “we’re going to die in here.” She should have been (metaphorically) slapped and told, “no, you’re going to be absolutely miserable but you’re going to live.”

  • Maybe it’s not us, but the reporters who were racist. Maybe the reporters believed the rumors and reported them as fact because the people involved were black and poor. The news audience believed it because professional journalists told us it was true. (Also Nagin and his chief cop….who were happy to jump on the mayhem bandwagon.)

  • corvan

    Another interesting thing, now that the reporters have been proven wrong, they’re trying desperately to change the subject. I’m not just talking about one idealogical spectrum either, they’re both doing it. The same way politicians change the subject when they’re wrong. Maybe that’s the problem. Reporters like politicians, are smiply opinon shapers. Facts just don’t enter into the equation. At least that certainly seems to be the gist of what Jeff has been saying. But what do I know? I’m a member of the Bernie Goldberg hit squad. Still, if our host has another opinion on the matter I’d be happy to listen to it.

  • owl 1

    Li said “Maybe the whole disaster response to Katrina was actually better”..

    You will probably be strung up for even the suggestion but that is exactly what I was saying several days ago. Everyone was giving those crying reporters pats on the back when I was on here rating them as F-. Media touted Police Compass and Broussard. I never believed a word of it because I saw a disaster that was hit with another diaster……..the first responders in NO……and then the second responders in Baton Rouge. Then the third responders looked to be dragging tail by 24 hours. If you can get pass all that the media fed us, you can go looking for facts and what actually happened.

    I stand by my comments I made on this blog the week after Katrina. I think FED gov was the shining star compared to the local government and the state government. I think the people of the US are incredibly generous and TX state gov was inspirational with shelter and real help. Mistakes…many…4 states, 90,000sq mile natural disaster. We had laws, politicians and media that made this diaster worse than it needed to be.

    To this day, you still can NOT find a state governor that thinks the FEDS should have come in and took state control. They all know what happened. The question is……..will the media continue to mis-stake the facts. One of those facts is thousands of people were rescued. I call that a pretty good response in the face of state incompetence.

  • corvan

    Owl 1, maybe you should look at Jeff’s lates post on this. According to Rosen, you’re probably an “extreme Bush supporter.” I got to be a member of “the Bernie Goldberg hit squad.” If I were you I would be jealous.

  • “In the end, what is the real value of journalism?” – JJ

    Lately? Not much, it’d seem.

    “I’ll hold all their damned feet to the fire.” – JJ

    With what? Facts and data, or “a Higher Truth” than mere information? ;)

    And are you going to light the fire with what’s left of your credibility after this is all done?

    You’ve been around long enough that I shouldn’t have to remind you of the First Rule of Holes, but scanning through the comments here, looks like you need a refresher course: “when you’re in one, stop digging.”

    As far as lessons go: You ain’t a teacher, and I don’t need any lessons you have to teach. Have a bigger shovel – it’ll help you dig faster.

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  • Mario

    The Left’s credo of its enemies: Guilty until proven innocent. Guilty if you disagree with the Left’s credo. Guilty if you are not a member of its Tribe. GUILTY GUILTY GUILTY!

  • mockmook

    JJ whined: “The story in New Orleans is much larger: all about what government’s responsibilities are and whether government met those responsibilties and whether we can learn from the mistakes that government and others made and whether we will all be safer the next time…”

    Sorry to come in so late on this once lively debate ;-)

    But, I have to ask, since no one else did:


    * Responsibility to evacuate before Nagin gave “permission.”

    * Responsibility to prepare for a disaster (food, water, etc.)

    * Responsibility to not live in “bowl” in NO

    * Responsibility to elect competent leaders

    * Responsibility to educate oneself (to be able to do the above)

    Etc, etc, etc, ….

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