After Bashing Romney's Storm Relief Rally, ABC News Reports Sandy Victims Still Need Food

Turnabout is fair play, judging from the coverage ABC News has given GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney's October 30 campaign event which he used to collect money, clothing and food for the victims of Hurricane Sandy.

The first article the network produced on the donation effort was entitled "Aid Organizations Prefer Cash to Canned Food" and criticized the "hastily organized storm relief" as a problem for relief organizations, which "will take canned goods and supplies, but they'd much rather have cash."

The event, which was originally planned as a "victory rally," became a relief drive after the "superstorm" devastated parts of the East Coast. Romney greeted supporters carrying non-perishable items like canned food and drinks.

However, reporter Abby Phillip stated that ABC News had contacted the American Red Cross, which noted that the organization "appreciates the support from the Romney campaign and is working with the campaign to process this donation of supplies."

We are grateful that both the Obama and Romney campaigns have also encouraged the public to send financial donations to the Red Cross. We encourage individuals who want to help to consider making a financial donation or making an appointment to give blood.

Phillip added that "the Red Cross and other aid organizations like FEMA (the Federal Emergency Management Agency)  have long said that donations of food, clothing and other small in-kind items force them to divert crucial resources away from relief efforts and toward sorting and cleaning donations."

Nevertheless, the Romney campaign confirmed that their supplies were sent to a warehouse in New Jersey, where they would be processed. And a Romney spokesman added that the campaign has solicited financial donations from their supporters on Twitter and Facebook and a rally in Florida.

Also, Romney made a financial contribution to the disaster relief agency, though the amount of his donation was not disclosed.

Just one day later, an article written by Jennifer Abbey and Cynthia McFadden had a totally different perspective on the relief efforts.

"Staten Island officials sounded increasingly desperate today, asking when supplies will arrive," the reporters stated. "They blasted the Red Cross for not being there when it counted."

"This is America, not a third world nation. We need food, we need clothing," Staten Island Borough President Jim Molinaro said. "My advice to the people of Staten Island is: Don't donate to the American Red Cross. Put your money elsewhere."

One sign of the severe damage caused by the hurricane is the fact that Molinaro's criticism was made even though the Red Cross and the National Guard had reportedly arrived in the area two days earlier and were indeed distributing food, water and gasoline.

As NewsBusters previously reported, other members of the media harshly criticized the former Massachusetts governor for using his campaign event as a means of collecting items needed by Sandy's victims.

One of Romney's sternest critics was CNN anchor Martin Bashir, who slammed the campaign's relief efforts with the help of his guest, Lehigh professor James Peterson.

After showing a clip of President Obama speaking at the American Red Cross headquarters in Washington, D.C., the host turned to Peterson for comment.

I think this is just another moment where you see the clear, striking difference between a president who has a heart for the American people and someone who simply wants to be president of the United States.

These comments fly in the face of a Washington Post report that described the Romney event this way:

Long white tables to one side of the cavernous James S. Trent Arena were piled high with flashlights, batteries, diapers, toothbrushes, mini-deodorants, fleece blankets, cereal, toilet paper and canned goods.

Two large TV screens at the front of the venue bore the logo of the American Red Cross and the message: "Sandy: Support the Relief Effort Text 'REDCROSS' to 90999 to make a $10 donation."

Warner Todd Huston from the website accurately summarized the situation:

This is so typical of "the news," isn't it? Instead of reporting, they opine. For days, the media ridiculed Romney for the food donation event, yet now they are reporting that Romney's initial instinct was exactly what was needed.

Maybe it's just me, but after hearing Romney attacked as "wooden," "cold" and "uncaring" for the past 18 months, I was touched that he went the extra mile to help folks in desperate need. Consider me impressed.

2012 Presidential Events Hurricane Sandy ABC Mitt Romney