ONE of the real tests of journalistic integrity is being fair to someone who might be best described by a four-letter word.
As amazing as it might seem, it is now four weeks since Hurricane Katrina made landfall in Louisiana. Yet, even though another major storm has pummeled our country this weekend, CNN is still fixated on the perceived errors made by the federal government four weeks ago rather than the successful evacuation and preparations for Hurricane Rita.
TIME's cover this week asks "Are We Making Hurricanes Worse?" Jeffrey Kluger is back with a longer version of his theory that man-made global warming is worsening hurricane season, titled "Global Warming: The Culprit?" They also take another bite out of the Mike Brown apple with a longer piece on how the Bush team has been good at placing political cronies in places with genuine power in the bureaucracy despite thei
Do you remember that Jefferson Parish, Louisiana president that was on NBC's “Meet the Press” three weeks ago suggesting that the poor response by the federal government to Hurricane Katrina ended up resulting in the death of a colleague’s mother? To refresh your memory (video to follow):
STAHL: Has anyone from our government called you, like our President?
In March 2003, in the midst of the lead-up to the war in Iraq, CBS’s Dan Rather sat down with Saddam Hussein to allow the Iraqi leader to present his side of the story to the American people. This week, Newsweek and Lally Weymouth gave one of the world’s foremost despots, Venezuela's president Hugo Chavez, a similar opportunity. The following is a sample of the exchange, with Weymouth's questions in bold:
Why did you call the United States a terrorist state?
The country is one thing; we have lovely relations with the people—like in the Bronx [where Chavez paid a visit]. We have economic relations. We have a company [Citgo] that refines daily 800,000 barrels of oil... We have 14,000 gas stations in this country. We have sent major-league baseball players here. But the media is trying to make the American people see me as an enemy. What I said is that this U.S. administration—the current government—is a terrorist administration, not all U.S. governments.
On ABC’s “This Week”, host George Stephanopoulos cherry-picked a recent USA Today/CNN/Gallup poll, and referenced yesterday’s anti-war rally, to press Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz) on how to pay for New Orleans reconstruction:
“Seems like the American people disagree with you across the board. Let me show you this poll from 'USA Today'/CNN/Gallup poll. How should we pay? 54% say cut Iraq spending, 17% say raise taxes, 15% say increase the deficit. Only 6% say cut the spending you're talking about.”
This last sentence is a misrepresentation of the poll results as well as McCain’s statement. What Stephanopoulos neglected to mention is that this poll question asked, "If you had to choose, which of the following would you say would be the best way for the government to pay for the problems caused by Hurricane Katrina: increase the federal budget deficit, raise taxes, cut spending for the war in Iraq, or cut spending for domestic programs such as education and health care?"
McCain wasn’t talking about cutting education or health care. McCain was talking about cutting pork out of fat pieces of legislation like the Highway Bill:
Ever since the dust and debris had been cleared away from where once stood the
Regarding Katrina, the Times opines, “Four years after 9/11, Katrina showed the world that performance standards for the Department of Homeland Security were so low that it was not required to create real plans to respond to real disasters.”
As part of its massive love letter to the left-over hippies and their anti-war march in D.C. yesterday, the Washington Post left out some pretty laughable details. While one Style section piece called protester Cindy Sheehan “the Rosa Parks of this generation,” the Post ignored the true nature of the event, evident to those who tuned in to the speakers on C-Span.
Transcript follows. Video excerpt: RealPlayer or Windows Media
"I have been wanting to write about this issue since I got this job 18 months ago. The boss told me to hold out before I alienated most of the city."
Now you get your chance to alienate most of the city.
“NBC Nightly News” anchor Brian Williams wrote an op-ed for the New York Times this morning. In a lot of respects, it praised former president Lyndon Baines Johnson, while certainly not flattering George W. Bush. In fact, the purpose of the piece appears to be to chastise president Bush for not going to Texas ahead of Rita by relaying what Johnson did forty years ago when Hurricane Betsy hit Louisiana:
“GIVEN President Bush's final decision not to head to Texas in advance of Hurricane Rita, it's worth noting that American presidents have long found both political riches and peril at the scene of a storm. A listen to the tapes of President Lyndon B. Johnson's White House telephone conversations of 40 years ago reveals that history does indeed repeat itself, even if presidential reactions and motivations have varied widely.”
Yet, the piece went on to show how LBJ didn’t want to go to Louisiana despite the efforts of its Senator, Russell Long. It wasn’t until Long properly conveyed a political benefit for the trip that LBJ acquiesced: