Lies and Truth
It’s almost awe-inspiring to see the level of energy and coordination the Bush White House can bring to bear in a genuine crisis. Not hurricane Katrina, of course, but the political crisis they now find rising around them. … the storyline and the outlines of the attack are now clear: pin the blame for the debacle on state and local authorities.
Of course, with the gullible this stuff works. And what’s more gullible than the White House media? White House lies on when LA governor asked for state of emergency to be declared. The Bush administration spin succeeds in suckering Washington Post, which doesn’t fact-check and reports: “As of Saturday, Blanco still had not declared a state of emergency, the senior Bush official said.” The Post then runs a misleading correction (“A Sept. 4 article on the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina incorrectly said that Louisiana Gov. Kathleen Babineaux Blanco (D) had not declared a state of emergency. She declared an emergency on Aug. 26.”) which fails to source the error to anonymous White House operatives but instead takes the rap.
More Post laziness or worse: Spinning poll results to make Bush look less bad. (But to be fair to the Post, they did break this story on how Karl Rove seems to have claimed a homestead (tax) deduciton he clearly had no right to…and might even have committted voter fraud.)
Chertoff on Face the Nation: it was two disasters (hurricane and flooding) one after the other; no one could have expected that…
The DHS was preparing for both a storm and levee collapse. Full details via Isthatlegal.org. Isthatlegal.org bonus: see Eric Muller, You Can’t Cross-Examine A Hurricane on why Chertoff, a great prosecutor, and maybe a great terrorist-hunter, is not the guy you want running disaster relief.
Aaron Broussard, president of Jefferson Parish, Louisiana, on how the feds kept promising help would be there tomorrow, but tomorrow never came. Links to interview transcript and videos at Boing Boing. Other local officials argue that FEMA was making things worse, not better. The Times-Pic editorializes that “Every official at the Federal Emergency Management Agency should be fired, Director Michael Brown especially.”
Compare the Bush poll numbers as spun by the Post (above) to these tracking poll numbers:
Thinking just about the President of the United States … Do you approve or disapprove of President Bush’s response to Hurricane Katrina?
9/4 9/3 9/2 9/1 8/31
Approve 38 41 40 46 48
Disapprove 55 53 53 44 39
New Orleans Begins Counting Its Dead. The death toll is thousands, maybe more than 10,000. Nobody really knows.