The last time a major disaster threatened the U.S. Gulf Coast, journalists dropped any pretense of objectivity and openly scorned what they saw as the ineffective response of the Bush administration to Hurricane Katrina. And top media writers found it just wonderful that the press was taking a side, with New York Times’ critic Alessandra Stanley saluting “a rare sense of righteous indignation by a news media that is usually on the defensive.”
Now, there are gentle suggestions that the Obama administration dropped the ball in the days after the oil rig explosion that triggered a 5,000 barrel per day leak that threatens to eclipse the 1989 Exxon Valdez spill as the worst in U.S. history. Today’s lead story in the New York Times
determined that “a review of the response suggests it may be too simplistic to place all the blame for the unfolding environmental catastrophe on the oil company. The federal government also had opportunities to move more quickly, but did not do so while it waited for a resolution to the spreading spill from BP,” a theme echoed in an editorial, as Noel Sheppard notes below
Not exactly “righteous indignation,” but the story isn’t over, yet.
In contrast, here’s some of what the critics had to say about the media’s adversarial approach when George W. Bush was in the White House: