The AP is running yet another piece in which the White House is being blamed for the disaster that is New Orleans. It starts with the title of the piece (White House Backpedals on Flood Control) and takes off from there.
The White House scrambled Thursday to defend itself against criticism that it has consistently proposed cutting the budget for Army Corps of Engineers water and flood control projects — including several that could have mitigated the disaster in New Orleans. Just in February, President Bush proposed cutting the Corps' budget by 7 percent. The year before, Bush proposed a 13 percent cut.Everybody got that, right? There were plans to protect New Orleans, and President Bush cut them. It's all his fault. Or, at least, that's the impression that will be taken away by anyone who reads the headline, or the headline and the first couple of paragraphs. But buried down toward the end, there are a couple of lines that put things into a slightly different context.
Other presidents also have taken aim at the Corps' budget. President Carters' [sic] first veto came against a big water projects bill passed by a Democratic-dominated Congress. And President Clinton squeezed the Corps budget as well.Yes, that information is in the article. But a casual reader isn't going to get it. The headline and the first paragraph set the tone and agenda of the piece so completely that most people won't come away with the whole picture.
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