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When President Bush returned to the Gulf Coast on Monday, many of us thought it was a part of the Hurricane relief effort. Maybe he wanted to check again on FEMA's progress. Or possibly he felt that it would help the relief effort to keep attention focused on it. Or he wanted to meet again with the local representatives, to see what else needed to be done. But, no, apparently none of that was the case. At least not according to Knight-Ridder's Ron Hutcheson. No, apparently the reason that the President returned was political damage control.

The NY Times today seemed so excited to see former President Clinton involved in hurricane relief that it practically ignored his partner in this pursuit, former President Bush.  In fact, this article refers to Mr. Clinton by name at least 17 times, his wife five times, while the former President Bush is actually only named twice.  From this, one would think that he’s such an afterthought that this effort should be called the Clinton-Clinton Katrina Fund.

What is also striking about this article is its condescending tone toward current President Bush:

Yom Kippur is still a month off, but for the Today show and Tim Russert, the Day of Atonement has already arrived for President Bush.

And just how might W make amends for his perceived "callousness" on Katrina? Why, by appointing a moderate "or even a minority" to the Supreme Court.

Matt Lauer interviewed Russert this morning beneath the on-screen legend "Bush on the Hot Seat."

Lauer mused that when it came to W's handling of Katrina, this could be a case of "you never get a second chance to make a first impression."

At the bottom of an E! Online story on Kanye West's NBC outburst, we're alerted that BET and MTV have decided to give West more of a platform for his emotional ranting:

During the press conference of former presidents Bill Clinton and George Bush to announce their Katrina fundraising efforts, Clinton got an interesting question from a reporter:

"President Clinton, what do you think about the fact that some of the folks think that the levee was broken on purpose?"

Clinton was taken aback and had no response.

Monday’s Access Hollywood teased with a clip of rapper Kanye West’s blast on Friday’s Concert for Hurricane Relief broadcast on several NBC channels, "George Bush doesn't care about black people," followed by a clip of actor Matt Damon: “I let out a cheer.” The syndicated NBC Productions program also featured a clip of this ludicrous claim from West on the fund-raising show: “We already realize a lot of the people that could help are at war right now fighting another way and they’ve given them permission to go down and shoot us.” (For more about West's allegations, check this Friday night NewsBusters posting by Tim Graham.)

A few minutes later on Access Hollywood, co-host Nancy O’Dell touted how “it was Kanye West’s anti-Bush remarks that caught the attention of Matt Damon and Susan Sarandon in Italy” at the Venice Film Festival. Viewers then saw this from actress Susan Sarandon as she stood at some sort of an event: “I don’t think that’s an original thought, but it’s probably true.” (With Access Hollywood’s quick cut editing, it’s hard to know what people are specifically referring to.)

Immediately after Sarandon, Access Hollywood played a longer soundbite from Damon who claimed the White House press corps is too nice to Bush and thus “not one of them’s an honest journalist.” Full quote follows, as well as Colin Farrell’s charge that white people would have been rescued faster.

According to Davids Medienkritik, a blog that monitors the German media, columnist Philipp Mausshardt wrote in the Tageszeitung that that because of Hurricane Katrina, "joy and sympathy beat simultaneously in my chest. I am, for example, joyful at the moment that the latest hurricane catastrophe hasn't again hit some poor land, but instead the richest country in the world.

In a harried, fast-moving interview with CNN’s Soledad O’Brien this morning, New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin had many words of praise for President Bush, while pointing much blame at Louisiana Governor Kathleen Blanco:

In a poll most likely to be played down by both the Washington Post and ABC News (sponsors of the poll), it shows that "far fewer take George W. Bush personally to task" for the hurricane, and "public anger about the response is less widespread than some critics would suggest."

This is not what you would assume by the media's coverage.

        Pardon my naiveté, but I was unaware that the venom, nastiness, and malice spewed so rampantly and callously on Air America.

        On Air America's Mike Malloy show on Friday night, September 2, 2005 (link to entire show audio (3 hrs.)), Malloy said this about our First Lady, Laura Bush (audiotape on file) (emphasis mine):

Aaron Broussard, a Democrat who is the President of Jefferson Parish, Lousiana, was just interviewed on CNN.

The essence of his rant was that the federal government in general and FEMA in particular are "covering their butts" by concealing the number of dead.At one point Broussard said, verbatim, that FEMA was trying to hide the fact that they had "murdered" thousands of people through their bureaucratic incompetence.

It had to happen. When the chorus of MSM complaints of federal inaction was drowned in a sea of thousands of soldiers moving into New Orleans, the MSM nimbly adjusted. Now the problem is . . . too many soldiers.

NBC's Carl Quintanilla framed it this way on this morning's Today show, with the rubric "Chaos in New Orleans" displayed on screen:

"Now that the military is moving in huge convoys of soldiers, concerns that too strong a military presence in too small a space could cause accidents, crashes."

CBS News Sunday Morning “contributor” Nancy Giles, in the only commentary aired on the show on Sunday, delivered a blistering diatribe in which she charged that racism was behind the slow response to the hurricane victims in New Orleans, rationalized looting, claimed the real war is the one on poverty that’s being lost thanks to tax cuts, and mocked President Bush for visiting Iraq but skipping the Superdome -- thus showing he doesn’t give “a damn” about black people.

Giles asserted that “if the majority of the hardest hit victims of Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans were white people, they would not have gone for days without food and water” and insisted that “the real war is not in Iraq, but right here in America. It's the War on Poverty, and it's a war that's been ignored and lost.” She complained that “we've repeatedly given tax cuts to the wealthiest and left our most vulnerable American citizens to basically fend for themselves." Giles scolded Bush for finding photo-ops with some “black folks to hug” while he skipped “the messy parts of New Orleans.” She castigated Bush for how he “has put himself at risk by visiting the troops in Iraq, but didn't venture anywhere near the Superdome or the convention center, where thousands of victims, mostly black and poor, needed to see that he gave a damn."

Video excerpt: Real or Windows Media

Full transcript of her September 4 commentary follows, as well as a look back at her 2003 commentary charging Rush Limbaugh with racism.

Reuters News Service left little to the imagination of its readers as to who they believe is responsible for the death's associated with Hurricane Katrina. The story, "New Orleans collects dead as officials dodge blame" reads more like an opinion piece than it does a news report.

James Lee Witt, hired by Governor Kathleen Blanco of Louisiana, stated in one of his first public appearances, on MSNBC on Sunday,

"This was our worst nightmare," Witt said. "You could point the finger at anybody and everybody. ... I don't think they turned a blind eye. I don't think the state did. I don't think the mayor did. I think they worked as fast as they could [to] do whatever they could."

Source: AP.