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In an otherwise good interview in the final half hour with Rick Warren, the Southern Baptist pastor and bestselling author of The Purpose-Driven Life, The Early Show's Harry Smith worried that some Hurricane Katrina victims taken into the homes of church parishioners might be forced to attend church in order to get a decent meal:

"Let me ask you this, though: is this an opportunity for a church to witness? Or if I'm a family, am, do I need to be concerned that I'm going to go live with a church family, are they going to proselytize me, are they going to say, 'you better come to church with me or else, I'm, you know, you're not going to get your breakfast this morning'?"

Video excerpt: Real or Windows Media



     Misinformation continues to flow about supposed “record high” gas prices. Over the holiday weekend, the national average for gas rose to a little more than $3, still below the inflation-adjusted record of $3.11 set nearly 20 years ago.

     That didn’t stop “The Early Show” on CBS from claiming a record-high $3.20 national average for regular unleaded gasoline. On the September 6 broadcast, both Julie Chen and Hannah Storm made the same incorrect claim.



     America’s media are, once again, predicting economic doom and gloom as a result of a natural disaster. Such predictions have been wrong before and, in the case of Hurricane Katrina, will likely turn out wrong again.


What follows below are the interview questions with New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin from today's Early Show. You will notice Nagin was not asked about any area where his leadership may have failed his constituents, particularly his controversial decision last week to put tourists who had been holed up in a Hyatt priority on evacuation over New Orleans residents who had waited out the storm and the flooding in horrendous living conditions in the Superdome.





There was loads of competition, but perhaps the most cynical anti-Bush story to appear in the Times from the tragedy-filled holiday weekend came Monday from Adam Nagourney and Anne Kornblut, "White House Enacts a Plan To Ease Political Damage" which worked the cliches of a sinister Karl Rove trying to shift hurricane blame to New Orleans' Democrats.


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.