Checking in on Friday's CBS Evening News with how the administration is reacting to the Walter Reed scandal, White House correspondent Jim Axelrod gratuitously brought up Katrina as he asserted that “the White House is well aware of the PR nightmare that it faces. The last thing this administration can afford is another Katrina.”
Following the lead story on how Secretary of Defense Gates forced the resignation of Secretary of the Army Francis Harvey, and then replaced Harvey's choice to take over as commander of the Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, DC, in the wake of controversy over dilapidated conditions in an outpatient housing building, Couric went to Axelrod on the White House lawn. He delivered a brief report:
“A former Pentagon official close to the situation says the President's so angry, quote, 'his hair is on fire.' Mr. Bush learned about the resignation of the Secretary of the Army this morning at 8:35 in the White House Situation Room. He was told by Secretary Gates. On the day this story broke, he told Gates to quote, 'fix it.' But the decision to fire the Secretary of the Army was apparently made by Gates, not the President. Still, Katie, the White House is well aware of the PR nightmare that it faces. The last thing this administration can afford is another Katrina.”
A PR nightmare the media would be pleased to fuel with an approach that presumes every problem must be compared to Katrina.
ABC's Jonathan Karl and NBC's Jim Miklaszewski managed report the story Friday night without reminding viewers of Katrina.