Sensationalist Media
September 2, 2005

I'm going to be blunt here. If you believe everything the television and the news sources tell you from the exact angle at which they are telling it, you are incredibly dense. I mean that. The amount of bias present in post-hurricane coverage is just sickening.
One of the tendencies of media is to get entirely too caught up in voyeuristic commentary and theorizing. I watched last night as Ted Koppel argued with the Director of FEMA over whether or not they mis-represented the number of people the Astrodome could accommodate and if they should have sent in more buses. I am certain the debate is worthwhile and I am certain there are plenty valid places at which to point fingers, but right now, people are dying. For the love of God (and I mean it), forget trying to get a good story topic and focus on the task at hand.

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette article "Desperation, death make compelling television" says it beautifully:

Snipers firing at rescue helicopters. Looters -- or people who are just plain hungry -- pushing bags of food through fetid floodwaters. Dead bodies in blankets lying unclaimed in the hot sun. An elderly couple trapped in a truck surrounded by alligators.

These and other heartbreaking, horrific images from New Orleans and the Mississippi coast have unfolded relentlessly on television screens in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina this week, pushing cable television ratings into the stratosphere and gripping millions of viewers -- but also repelling some, who find the gruesome visuals almost unbearable to watch.
Blanket coverage of disasters, man-made or natural, is a fact of life in our news media-saturated times, and not just because the events are important. They attract huge numbers of viewers -- particularly for cable television -- who might not ordinarily be watching.

In the most recent numbers available, Fox's prime-time audience climbed to 4.2 million on Tuesday night, 112 percent above its Tuesday average, according to Nielsen Media Research. CNN had 3.7 million viewers, an increase of 336 percent. MSNBC had 1.5 million viewers, 379 percent above its average.

Fox News' Dana Klinghofer said more than 50 staffers had been deployed to the Gulf Coast region; Jack Womack, CNN's senior vice president for domestic news, noted that 125 extra personnel were there, although "we've just rotated a large new group of people in." CNN superstar Christiane Amanpour is en route to the area, according to a network news release, as is veteran war correspondent Nic Robertson.

Among those driving up the ratings was Janet Bartlett, 67, of Shaler, who has been carefully monitoring Fox News anchor Shepherd Smith's reports from the freeways of New Orleans.

"I turn it [the television] on the first thing in the morning when I wake up until I go to work, and then I turn it on again when I come home," said Bartlett.

Indeed, many television viewers are experiencing what media psychologist Stuart Fischoff describes as classic addiction symptoms.

"Visual imagery involves a much more primitive part of our brain, a monitoring system to sense danger," Fischoff said. "The trouble with this story is that it's not in a resolution stage yet, things are just getting worse. Usually, when we're anxious, we seek information to reduce anxiety, but in this case, we're just increasing it."

Disaster coverage "feeds a demographic of grief junkies, who are tapping away at the remote control like a rat tapping for crack pellets," added Matthew Felling, media director at the Washington, D.C.-based Center for Media and Public Affairs. "Not only does misery love company, it also makes for compelling television."

And that my friends, is just disgusting.

Posted by Ambra at September 2, 2005 3:53 AM in Current Events
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My issue is all of the 130 million dollars that was raised - is not being deployed to help the Thousands and Thousands of Refugees being turned away from Houston - Are the Agencies like Red Cross, Salvation Army, and FEMA cross communicating??

Frankly, I've become so disgusted with the "all Katrina, all the time" format that I've stopped watching. I hit my limit on sensationalizing human suffering a long time ago. I've even turned off the radio, though there, it is because that format has turned into a "let's blame someone" for the disaster.
Let's be honest. Nobody was prepared for destruction of this magnitude. The government is not God, and it will take time for help in amounts enough to arrive. The fact is too many people either chose to ignore orders to evacuate or could not do so. This is not the time for blaming and pointing fingers, but for all of us to come together, and do what we can to help. Better yet, let's forget the blame game altogether. It was a group effort.

I agree concern is about the next step after putting refugees on the buses - where to next? Houston is full. Where is the planning on just the trip to Houston because the drivers are not FEDERALIZED and a commercial bus drivers are not allowed to do more than 12 hours without resting which is exactly the time from New Orleans to Houston. With all our money that these organizations are raising no ONE is talking about basic simple Satellite/GSM Phones on each bus ?????

I agree, young lady.

It is disgusting.

One bright spot this morning was watching Katie Couric dialogue with Harry Connick, Jr. this morning.

Class act. Harry Connick gets huge props for his clear compassion and love for the people in his home town.

You'd would have had to seen it to know what I mean by that..

I live in Baton Rouge (which despite what news agencies report is only about 40 miles north and west of greater New Orleans) and have experienced the human tragedy much closer than I ever expected. Nearly 10,000 refugees/displaced persons from both New Orleans and surrounding areas (including St.Tammany, St. Bernard, Jefferson, Plaquemines, St. John the Baptist Parishes) have been relocated to our city. The scenes are absolutely heart-breaking and I will only say that the news reports for the most part are often either incorrect or irresponsible (probably both). The disgust I feel for the tendency of the media to search for a scape goat in such a situation is overwhelming. The truth is:
1) yes, most were aware that New Orleans was at risk for flooding as is being seen right now;
2) most still refused to believe that such an event would occur; 3) the threat of hurricanes is so constant that an attitude of indiference had been growing (even locally) for quite some time; 4) the convergence of events which had to occur for this tragedy to take place was seen as very unlikely (this is a once in a century type of event...possibly even a once in several century event); 5)like most Southern urban areas New Orleans has a large population of impoverished citizens; 6) like most poor in the urban south these citizens are predominantly black; 7) like most poor these citizens did not have the means to evacuate the city and in some cases would have found it difficult to evacuate to the Super Dome if they lived in New Orleans' 9th ward (the hardest hit by flooding); 8) the realization of how bad the storm was going to be for New Orleans did not happen until at least Saturday afternoon/night (leaving basically a day and a half to make all these plans which were obviously inadequate); 9) people are scared and upset; 10) fear and anger lead some to act in ways they otherwise might not; 11) many of the stories of violence spreading to other areas the refugees have travelled to are for the most part untrue and at the least overly hyped (like most people in the area I initially bought into many of these rumors).

I set out these facts to demonstrate only that what conclusions one draws from what has happened is more than likely to demonstrate the beliefs of the one drawing the conclusions than it will lead to any better understanding of what has, is and will happen. My own personal take is that this is a natural disaster the likes of which was unforeseen by most everybody and now both the local and national responders are simply overwhelmed. I mean we are blaming people, trying their best to help, for being unable to remove refugees numbering around 100,000 (the equivilent of the initial military force sent to Iraq-which had a month and a half to mobilize) from an area spreading over hundreds of miles, in conditions that make rescue and evacuation difficult at best, while at the same time news reports are scaring the crap out of those who might otherwise help. It seems to me, and again this is strictly my opinion, that we as humans are unwilling to accept that we are not always in control and that there are powers greater than us to which even with all our technology and power we are unable to completely overcome. Instead of playing the blame game (because if we are going to do that we must eventually realize we are nearly all equally to blame...that is not very much at fault at all)we should focus on the operation at hand and review our mistakes at a later date.

Personally I am disgusted at the response to this disaster. It should not take 4 days to get aid down there to help the thousands of people in need. I am highly dissapointed in the government and thier lack of response.

Why in the world would you call of search and rescue to stop people from stealing tv's and shoes? WHO CARES! I am very suprised that this is being allowed on American soil and it will affect how I vote!

Let me add that I have stopped watching the news because they rarely tell the truth.

I am very aware that we are not in control of ANYTHING (God is). BUT, aid could have been sent earlier. The government could at the least, dropped food down like they did for the TSUNAMI victims. Troops and police officers from around the country could have been sent. I am still highly dissapointed.

"If you believe everything the television and the news sources tell you from the exact angle at which they are telling it, you are incredibly dense."

So then, where do *you* get your information?

It's one thing to point out how so many are "incredibly dense", but it's another to tell us just how we can avoid being misled by misinformation. How about offering a solution, rather than simply pointing out the problem?

I find it amazing and disgusting that when Americans voice their dissatisfaction with a slow and ineffective goverment, when Americans hold those in power accountable for what they do and what they don't do (more importantly here) we get a bombarment from Bush appologists and right wing dingbats how unamerican it is to do so.

5days is way too long. 5days of inaction rests on the people in power. That would be the Republican administration. That would be the 3 branches of federal government controlled by republicans.

I wonder if Bush will get back to this guitar playing and bicycle riding month long vacation once this inconvience passes by.

Understandibly people are growing impatient with the slow response in food and aid but we must also remember that what ever authority still exists there has to contend with flood waters making roads impassable and airports unusable, looters, shootings, explosions, and mischief makers. I can't imagine that the situation is easy for anyone there.

I find myself missing the profound, careful, erudite, informed, and empathetic touch of Peter Jennings right about now.

Oh, no!! I just had a morbid thought: Which network is going to be the first to air a reality TV show based on all this hardship and despair? You just know they won't be able to resist. They'll probably do it under the rubric of documenting history.

Oooh, Johnnie used the word "erudite." Points.

1) Blake has made by far the most insightful post. Please read his words and think about them before you keep commenting.

2) Tiffany - exactly how is this going to effect how you vote? Are you aware that it was the Democratic anti-Bush mayor who called the police officers off of search-and-rescue teams to control looters? Are you aware that it was the Democratic governor who made the much-attacked "shoot to kill" comment? And didn't they do that because the armed criminals were shooting at cops, murdering other citizens, and generally making the rescue operations more difficult? I have a hard time making this a political issue.

I agree with those who are talking about the response time. We're not talking about isolated people here and there. These are people who went to the Superdome as they were told -- Sunday. It's Friday now. They're without food and water. Today I hear there's buses finally coming to get them. That's five days! That's a horrific response by the government and you can blame whoever you want - local, state, federal officials. Don't give me this nonsense about how it's not time to blame anyone -- when a major screw-up like this happens at a company people get fired. But when it's a public disaster -- and this is a disaster, beyond just the storm, which of course could not be warded off -- then people seem to just want to what, accept it? Move on? Save recriminations for later? When they're not eating??? Screw that. If people messed up and can't do the job, then we need to get people who can. Period. I saw a headline that said this "exposes our vulnerability to a terrorist attack." Are you kidding? Didn't 9/11 expose that vulnerability? Weren't we supposed to have figured a few things out by now, four years later? Again, not talking about the hurricane -- of course, nothing you can do about a weather event (some advance preps with the levees would have helped though although I'm told you can't engineer everything against Category 5, b/c you'd end up never building anything).

But the flooding, the looting, the lack of food and water, the terrible logistics; some part of each of those things could have been prevented. It is time to ask those questions - and it's time now. Not to put off until later. Not when people are told to go to the Superdome and then Die there. The anger is natural.

Blake, in his "most insightful post", offers the following:

"Instead of playing the blame game ... we should focus on the operation at hand and review our mistakes at a later date."

Why does this insight not apply to those pointing fingers at "sensationalist media" coverage?

Instead of decrying the "amount of bias present in post-hurricane coverage" as "sickening", why not trust that said coverage will spur reponses and perhaps elicit more donations and aid?

Or would you rather play the blame game?

This seems contradictory to your last post but I'll roll with it.

What part of children and elderly dying of thirst is sensational? When Veggie Schiavo was dying of thirst Congress acted faster than this.

Let ME be blunt. If this happened where you live, you wouldn't care about anyone's bias', you'd just want some food, water, shelter and maybe someone to come by and bury the rotting corpse next to you. And you'd want it now!

The bias I am referring to has to do with how black people and poor people are being portrayed.

I pointed to the article because it points out something that needs to be pointed out. These people are being exploited in their devastation and time of need.

If that's the case, why didn't you just say it was about black people and poor people? Would have been much more clear than leaving it vague, calling people dense, and then engaging in commentary and theorizing about...well, commentary and theorizing.

Ms. B, I was not being contradictory, but merely pointing out that it seemed odd for someone to laud as "most insightful" a post about avoiding the blame game that appears on a thread whose very essence is laying blame and pointing fingers (e.g., "sensationalist media").

Obviously what has been done so far is insufficient and in many cases I cannot figure out why it has taken as long as it has to respond effectively. But let me simply say that the perception that we in Louisiana are doing nothing or could have done more once the tragedy hit is untrue. Search and rescue missions were never (I repeat never) called off to stop looting. I work with the state department of Wildlife and Fisheries and our employees have been going non-stop with their small fishing vessels into and around New Orleans since Tuesday evening (they arrived within an hour of the levee breaches). The plan has concentrated on rescuing those stranded on their rooftops and in their attics. This focus in part explains why the man power and resources sent to the Super Dome and the River Walk/Convention center were so anemic. The thinking was that there was more of a threat to those still stranded miles away from any dry land than there was to the people held up in the shelters. As things have progressed it is clear that the danger to those at the Super Dome and Convention center was greatly underestimated. The problems were only compounded by the fact that all roadways into and out of down town New Orleans were at certain points along their path covered in water or no longer existent. The only way to directly reach those stranded in this part of New Orleans was with helicopters, small boats, and large military vehicles capable of running in approximately 4-5 feet of water. Nearly every helicopter was being used to rescue those still trapped elsewhere in New Orleans (the numbers of these people are still unkown but probably in the tens of thousands) or transporting from area hospitals the most vulnerable. There were very few military vehicles available to do any good in transport (fear of the crowd swarming the couple of trucks that might be sent in probably argued against using them). Finally the boats that are able to reach these victims were all very small (have to be small in order to maneuver in the low waters) and most were being deployed to rescue stranded individuals and families...also the fear that the large crowds could swamp the boats ruled out this as an effective evacuation option. Food was delivered in small amounts by some of these vehicles but the resulting violence which occurred (think Adid-like militias stealing the food from the weak) more than likely nixed any attempts at bringing in food/water in this manner.

Obviously the plans created for this hurricane were not sufficient. The job for planning disaster relief, for better or worse, lies with the local and state governments. In many cases we on the local level did not ask for enough help early on...we overestimated the success of our mandatory evacuation of Saturday evening and Sunday (leaving us surprised by the numbers of those stranded)...we expected the infrastructure (mainly speaking of I-10 and other major arteries of commerce) to fare better. With the fear that is probably only natural some of the victims armed themselves and have in some cases fired upon rescuers (either in an attempt to get noticed or as a threat to those who can help to save them immediately). This of course meant that certain parts of the city (where gun fire was reported) were placed further down on the priority list...and hence are in some cases those places where rescue still has not taken place.

There is so much blame to go around that to pick only one official or one group is simply a cop out. This problem (levees and disaster planning) was a long time in coming and so to blame only those on whose watch it occurred is unfair. From what I have been told (read with a grain of salt) the portion of the levees which broke were considered to be in good shape. The problem was that they were never intended to withstand these forces and the decision to build them only this strong was made decades ago thru a cost benefit analysis.

Again there is plenty of blame to go around, too much in fact, all are guilty (even us Louisiana citizens who have not demanded more). So I would argue wait until the most urgent needs are met and then begin the year long journey to discover what went wrong.

If you believe the media has overplayed what has happened down there, I have some stock in Enron I'd like to sell you.

Act now and I'll throw in a free bridge.

If you believe the media has overplayed what has happened down there, I have some stock in Enron I'd like to sell you.

I don't believe that. Nor have I said that anywhere on this website.

Emotions emotions.

Read my words carefully people.

Are you aware that it was the Democratic anti-Bush mayor who called the police officers off of search-and-rescue teams to control looters? Are you aware that it was the Democratic governor who made the much-attacked "shoot to kill" comment?

Jon, neither of these things is true. It was FEMA, currently directed by Bush appointees with literally no disaster response experience, who called off search-and-rescue teams, and it was a blow-hard ultra right wing blogger who made the "shoot to kill" comment.

None of your facts are correct.

How will this affect my Vote?

I voted Bush because I believe in him (still do) BUT I would have to say that I am highly dissapointed at how this situation has be dealt with. Even Bush himself said it was dealt with poorly. So, I will be waiting to hear an explanation. How this happened and how the government proposes to fix the problem for future incidents. I need to hear an answer that satisfies my disgust.

It is funny that most of the people stranded are low-income minorities. I am not the one to jump on "black" or "white" issues but it needs to be said.

So, I want to hear what happended from the President I voted for and believe in. If most of the problems were a result of bad decisions on the part of certain democrats then I will not vote for them. But, if a republican (any republican) made a mistake or a bad judgement call, I may not vote for that person either.

You left out the part where Koppel was stunned in amazements when the director of Fema claimed thousands of refugees at the convention center were rumor. These people had been on television for 2 days.

Maybe if we had not cut Fema, driven out the experienced staff and replaced them with politically correct individuals we would have an organization capable of figuring out thare were thousands of people getting no aid after 2 days of national reporting.

Ambra Nykol,

" If you believe everything the television and the news sources tell you from the exact angle at which they are telling it, you are incredibly dense. I mean that. The amount of bias present in post-hurricane coverage is just sickening."

This is obscure. I have no idea what you mean by bias. It sounds from the context as if you mean media bias. Nowhere do you make it clear that you apparently meant racial bias, which is not disernible from the quote you give or your comments.

Your final point, to the extent it is recoverable from the rambling nature of your post and the egregiously awful typos -that's "tendencies," not "tenancies"- seems to be that it is disgusting that the media is focusing on all this misery in order to feed some quasi-pornographic interest on the part of some viewers. Or maybe it's that all the fingerpointing is unseemly when people are dying. Or maybe it's something else. Who knows?

Yes, indeed, people are dying, and if no one discusses how it happened while it's still fresh, it will keep on happening. That's because this emergency response is FUBAR, but doesn't have to be that way. Not surprising, given that Bush is president, but utterly horrifying nevertheless.

In any case, I've still got that Enron stock for sale. Better act fast.

Tristero, the difference between you and I is that you seem to be taking this personal.

The one valid point amid your comments ("I have no idea what you mean by bias. It sounds from the context as if you mean media bias. Nowhere do you make it clear that you apparently meant racial bias, which is not disernible from the quote you give or your comments.") gets lost in your own ignorance.

Word to the wise: if you want me to address your comments, don't be a jerk. You write:

"Your final point, to the extent it is recoverable from the rambling nature of your post and the egregiously awful typos"
To begin with, the post is 95% quotation so to accuse me of rambling is well...irrevelvant and incorrect. Secondly, egregiously awful typos?

Thus far I see only one.

tristero, if there's a typo in my post, be an adult, point it out to me (like most everyone else does) and I'll fix it. Don't try to use it to further your offended point.

Come back when you can have mature conversation. I don't do the pearl/swine thing.

First, having served in the military and knowing the kind of effort it takes to move supplies in the quantities needed, I'm not surprised that it has taken this long for substantial aid to get there. Assuming the supplies were pre-positioned with available transport(these weren't) and there are working airfields nearby (there aren't), you're talking about having to move the supplies to available transport, or having transport move to them, loading, then moving the supplies to where they are needed. In the case of New Orleans, there just weren't that many vehicles capable of reaching a flooded city that quickly, especially when it is just one part of a widely devastated area and considering the chaotic conditions everywhere in the zone of destruction. This isn't the movies, folks, these operations take time and planning. They've only had four days. Consider that the few military units in the area don't have heavy helicopter airlift capabilities (Blackhawks and Hueys aren't heavy transports), and those there don't have many of those in their TO&E, there simply isn't any way to move enough supplies for the 100,000 people there (and that is just New Orleans). There are alot of other locations (Biloxi, etc) which need help just as badly. I think all the finger pointing is just people who are shocked by the images they see and want them to go away. Folks, once the country gets mobilized, help will get there.

I'm glad America has learned it's lesson from 9/11; don't trust the government!

Ambra... I thought I made some valid points, and I feel I did so without "be[ing] a jerk" about it. So then, when can I axpect you to address my comments?

Thank you Blake and Loren-voices of reason.

"It is funny that most of the people stranded are low-income minorities"

Tiffany, since the majority of the population is black and many of them low income, what would you expect? The people who had the means to leave, did so, with the exception of those who stayed for sentimental reasons or not believing the worst would really happen.

Blake, do you know if Mayor Nagin offered or arranged for any transpotation out for those who could not afford it?

The media is doing what it does best-gloom and doom. Not to say the bad should not be covered, but I'm sure there is an awful lot of good being done that could and should receive much more coverage than it's being given now..

Blake is still just about the only one worth reading on this thread.

I am amazed that my first comment appeared hypocritical to some because it appeared to be different than Ambra's post. Ambra and I are not the same person. I felt like praising Blake and it had absolutely nothing to do with what Ambra had posted.

As far as "sickened", you are a liar and you should apologize. Here is the truth:

"New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin also ordered virtually the entire police force to abandon search-and-rescue efforts and stop thieves who were becoming increasingly hostile.
'They are starting to get closer to heavily populated areas - hotels, hospitals, and we're going to stop it right now,' Nagin said."
(Nagin is New Orleans's mayor)

"'These troops are fresh back from Iraq, well trained, experienced, battle tested and under my orders to restore order in the streets,' Blanco said.
'They have M-16s and they are locked and loaded.
These troops know how to shoot and kill and they are more than willing to do so if necessary and I expect they will,' Blanco added."
(Blanco is Louisiana's governor)

Of course, to find the truth all anyone had to do was google "Blanco" and "shoot to kill" or "Nagin ordered police". Or you could just lie about me.

Tiffany - you said that this would "affect your vote" directly after complaining about the calling off of police to stop looters. That was an action called by a Democrat, so I was trying to understand in what way it would affect your vote.

Ambra... I thought I made some valid points, and I feel I did so without "be[ing] a jerk" about it. So then, when can I axpect you to address my comments?

When I have time


Dont be such a partisan idiot all the time. This relief effort is and has been a joke. The only people you can blame are the people in charge, and that starts with Combat George and his crony that he appointed to run FEMA.

CNN could drive a camera crew to the NO COnvention center but the Army could not drive any water there.

"'These troops are fresh back from Iraq, well trained, experienced, battle tested and under my orders to restore order in the streets,' Blanco said. 'They have M-16s and they are locked and loaded. These troops know how to shoot and kill and they are more than willing to do so if necessary and I expect they will,' Blanco added."


**The Site Owner's Interjection**

Look, ya'll can disagree with eachother all you want, but we are GOING to be civil up in this piece, you hear? Do NOT make me have to start censoring comments. I've already had to remove profanity. I don't have the time and it will make me very grumpy.

If you are new around here, read the Comment Policy. Do you see me cussing and using crass language? Exactly. No cussing.

*walks away mumbling to self about taking off my slipper*

Lee: If you had actually read the very liberal site the quote came from, you'll see that they're the ones who called it a "shoot to kill" order, not me. If you Googled "shoot to kill" and "New Orleans", you would see that almost everyone has called Governor Blanco's comments a "shoot to kill" order. If you disagree, take it up with the media.

It is hard for me to be characterized as a "partisan idiot" and a "bushie". I have not supported any republicans in this thread. In fact, I have quoted two democrats and gave support for their arguments. Actually, as far as I can remember, I have never supported a republican on this site at all.

That's not too surprising, because I am not a Republican. In fact, I was a consistently strong supporter of Clinton with hopes for a Gore dynasty. I did not vote for Bush in either of the last two elections. Yes, I have many conservative ideas and probably won't be voting for democrats like I did in the past, but I doubt I'll be voting for republicans either. The only person I can imagine voting for in the current administration is Condi.

So if there is one thing I am not, it is partisan. You can apologize now, to ambra for cursing on her site and to me for being mean and making false assumptions.

Tiffany - I want to apologize for asking you to explain yourself a second time. I was in shock at sickened's comment and didn't notice you adequately explaining yourself.


Condi? Who showed her compassion for the poor and suffering of NOLA by spening an entertaining evening at Spamalot, then shoping for $500 footware at an upscale boutique (and having another patron forcibly removed when she commented on this)?

Then again, none of the Bushies seemed to take much notice of what was going on in the south, and seemed to heartily resent having their vacations interrupted by the death and dying of thousands of their contrymen.

Except for Cheney, that is, who hasn't been seen in days. Anyone know what happened to him?


Dont hold your breath for an apology. You sound like an idiot. All of your arguments are baseless. Do the internet a favor and throw away your keyboard.


For once the media reported the truth, and shocked the entire world with its reports of desperate people living in squalid conditions without food, water, toilets,and basic medical care.

There are no excuses for the tardiness of the National Guard and FEMA in reacting to the crisis. Had they been mobilized and ready to go on Monday, when Katrina struck, the situation would not have turned into a humanitarian crisis, the like of which we expect to see in some God-forsaken Thirld-World country, not in the U.S.A.

There is plenty of blame to go around, starting with the inept leadership of the President. I hope, for once, that his employers -- We, the People -- will demand accountability. After all, it is our tax dollar that is going to pay for the housing, the feeding, and the medical care, that the refugees are going to need in the coming year.

So, by all means, donate your money and your time, and ask your employers to set up funds for the refugees. But, let us not forget to demand accountaility either.

Lee, if you're just here to tell people how stupid they are, then maybe it's best you leave. The conversation seems unproductive.

Neo-progressive *rolling eyes at choice of alias* said: "For once the media reported the truth"

For this comment right here? I think we need to have a come to Jesus meeting. Right here. Right now.

O.K. Nykola,

The media made it all up. In fact, they probably unearthed footage from some humanitarian crisis in some Thirld-World country, and passed it off as images from new Orleans.

You want to blind yourself to the truth, fine with me. And, please, leave Jesus out of it. I am sick of the reliogiosity of the right-wingers. You people do not have a clue about compassion, charity, tolerance, and you certainly do "...Love Thy Neighbor...".

Your beloved President was so quick to come back from Washington to sign the scandalously intrusive Terri Schiavo bill, but he could not get on a plane on Monday, or Tuesday, to attend to a national crisis?

As for Neo-Progressive, it stands for anti-Neo-Con; it stands for being a fiscal conservative and a social liberal. The kindest thing that can be said about you, Bushites, is that your irresponsibility in fiscal matters is abysmal, and your commitment to control every aspect of people's positively terryfing.

Have a good day. Come 2006, you may not be so happy, as, We, the People, reclaim our country from the hands of irresponsible, cruel, and mean-spirited, greedheads.

It's unfortunate some people are unable to enter a discussion with non-kindergartner-like accusations and tactics as clearly displayed among some comments left in this discussion.


Wake me when it's over.

This was an interesting blog. We've just witnessed what will (hopefully) be the biggest U.S. natural disaster of our lives. There is immense suffering, dying, and mayhem.

Yet, this is inappropriate to air? This is disgusting TV? Won't actually airing the pain and suffering ultimately generate more support for relief efforts?

What would have been truly more disgusting would have been to believe the federal government in the first few days. God bless the reporters would stood up to these government hacks and held them accountable. I guess if the media had "put a happy face" on the disaster we could all have more TV choices and drink our lattes in peace (who wants to be bothered by so such death and suffering?).

Just a reminder, TVs generally have hundreds of channels. No one is forcing anyone to watch wall-to-wall coverage.

Some points about responsibility have become clear in the aftermath of Katrina: The National Response Plan was accepted and implemented by Bush Administration in December 2004. The NRP states that, ?upon recognition that a catastrophic incident condition (e.g., involving mass casualties and/or mass evacuation) exists, the Secretary of Homeland Security immediately designates the event an Incident of National Significance and begins, potentially in advance of a formal Presidential disaster declaration, implementation of the NRP-CIA.? As indicated in the NRP, the NRP-CIA grants broad authority to DHS. Weather reports show Katrina was recognized as meeting the criteria of an Incident of National Significance before it hit. Add to that LA Governor Katherine Blanco?s declaration of a state level of emergency on Aug. 26, and her request on Aug. 27 that the president declare a federal state of emergency for Louisiana, which Bush did that same day.

That document, the Statement on Federal Emergency Assistance for Louisiana, consists mostly of this:

The President today declared an emergency exists in the State of Louisiana and ordered Federal aid to supplement state and local response efforts in the parishes located in the path of Hurricane Katrina beginning on August 26, 2005, and continuing.

The President's action authorizes the Department of Homeland Security, Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), to coordinate all disaster relief efforts which have the purpose of alleviating the hardship and suffering caused by the emergency on the local population, and to provide appropriate assistance for required emergency measures, authorized under Title V of the Stafford Act, to save lives, protect property and public health and safety, or to lessen or avert the threat of a catastrophe in the parishes of Allen, .. [long list omitted] and Winn.

Specifically, FEMA is authorized to identify, mobilize, and provide at its discretion, equipment and resources necessary to alleviate the impacts of the emergency.

As a result, DHS/FEMA bore all the responsibility, and should have been working as early as Aug. 26-28 to put in place the resources it knew it might need, based on exercises and modeling. FEMA had shown it was capable of such proactive allocation in the Florida hurricanes of 2004. Yet in the case of NOLA, FEMA?s actions are most notable for slowing or BLOCKING deliveries of aid! (One story worth pursuing is the privatization of FEMA services since 2001. In the case of a hurricane in NOLA, the firm IEM was paid over half a million dollars to prepare for an event eerily similar to what happened. Where are the results?)

The White House response has been marked by staged photo-ops that delayed actual aid delivery (as rescue and aid helicopters are grounded in the presence of the President) and blame-shifting spin, particularly from DHS head Chertoff and FEMA head Brown. (The NYT reports that this spin comes from Rove in the WH.) The White House claim ? pushed hard in the right blogosphere -- that federal inaction was due to failures at the local level does not withstand scrutiny in light of federal rules. The results continue to be fatal.

The disaster left by Katrina (including a breached levee and flooding) was predicted and modeled accurately at least as early as a Scientific American article in 2001, and the evacuation and rescue plans were modeled less than a year ago. How can anyone believe that this administration has effectively spent over $100 billion on the Department of Homeland Security, which now encompasses FEMA and all its responsibilities? The US is less prepared for the aftermath of an attack than it was prior to 9-11.

The Republican party and conservative ideology are both supposed to stand for accountability. It is way, way past time for you all to practice what you preach.

The President was in charge. His personal appointee was head of FEMA.

Troops were delayed for days. FEMA repeatedly turned away volunteers, experts, and resources which could have saved peoples lives.

It remains a fact that we responded to the Indonesian tsunami crisis faster.

This is completely unacceptable.

Will you Republicans and conservatives hold Bush fully accountable for his complete and utter negligence and incompetence, which has resulted in the deaths of hundreds if not thousands of people?

Will you practice what you preach - or will you continue to only apply accountability to people you don't like?

Jim...who is you all?

Aw man, you missed your chance!
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Why I'm Not a Republican Parts I, II, III, IV
Reflections on the Ill-Read Society
The ROI of a Kid
The Double-Minded Haters
Hip-Hop in Education: Do You Wanna Revolution?
Oh parent Where Art Thou?
Requisite Monthly Rant: the State of the Nation
College Curriculum Gone Wild
Walmart Chronicles
An Open Letter to American Idol
Gonorrhea and the City