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For almost two weeks since Katrina devastated New Orleans, America’s media have been lambasting the president for not properly funding the Army Corps of Engineers. An article at CNSNews this week deals specifically with a NY Times hypocrisy in this regard.

This morning, NY Times columnist John Tierney has an op-ed suggesting that much of the media – including the Times – might have no clothes on:

“Or suppose the investigators try to find out why the Army Corps of Engineers didn't protect New Orleans from the flood. Democrats have blamed the Iraq war for diverting money and attention from domestic needs. But that hasn't meant less money for the Corps during the past five years. Overall spending hasn't declined since the Clinton years, and there has been a fairly sharp increase in money for flood-control construction projects in New Orleans.

“The problem is that the bulk of the Corps's budget goes for projects far less important than preventing floods in New Orleans. And if the investigators want to find who's responsible, they don't have to leave Capitol Hill.”



During the Friday night (SOS) Saving OurSelves: The BET Relief Telethon, actor/comedian Steve Harvey and singer/actress Queen Latifah came to rapper Kanye West's defense. Harvey imparted: “We love you, brother. And do keep your head up, and we understand what you were trying to say, and you have a lot of people's support in spite of all the ridicule that you're receiving, man. Do stay strong.” Latifah saw West as a martyr, chiming in with how “you always going to pay to speak what's on your mind and what's on your heart. But that don't mean you shouldn't say it.”

Last Friday (Sept. 2), on NBC's Concert for Hurricane Relief, West ludicrously contended that “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.” He later added this slam: “George Bush doesn't care about black people." (Previous NewsBusters item on West.)

Transcript of the comments from Harvey and Latifah follows. Video Excerpt: RealPlayer or Windows Media



Seeking to extol the virtues of ‘diversity’ and bemoan the lack of same on campus, Michelle Locke of the Associated Press gives us a story titled, “Blacks Still a Minority at UC Berkeley.” She writes:



NPR's All Things Considered tonight carried a story from reporter Frank Langfitt focusing on how Wal-Mart brought their efficient distribution system to bear in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, particularly in Kenner, Louisiana, where their supplies arrived before federal or Red Cross help. He did conclude by noting that Wal-Mart is videotaping their charity for reporters. But hey, why not? Wal-Mart has been quite a whipping boy for negative media coverage.



Reading viewer email at the bottom of 4:00 hour of CNN's "Situation Room," Jack Cafferty dismissed a call from a viewer "try to be 'fair and balanced'" in his commentary segments, deriding the audience member's suggestion as a "thinly veiled reference to the F-word network."

Full transcript:

And finally, John writes: Cafferty, your liberal opinions are not appreciated by a majority of the viewers. Your smart remarks about our President and Vice President are not welcome. If at all possible, try to be "fair and balanced."

I think that was a thinly veiled reference to the F-word Network, Wolf. What do you think?

Video Excerpt: Real or Windows



What would you do if you opened up your morning newspaper or turned on the local television news and found grisly photos of one of your parents, or a brother, sister, uncle, cousin or a close personal friend? You would be outraged. And rightfully so.

But some of my colleagues in the mainstream media claim they can’t report properly the terrible aftermath of Hurricane Katrina unless the Federal Emergency Management Agency allows them to photograph dead bodies up close and personal.



After nearly two weeks of media carping about a slow federal response to the Hurricane Katrina disaster, tonight ABC will air a story critical of the federal government for listing a charity which is providing hurricane relief -- one founded by Pat Robertson. Viewers of Thursday's World News Tonight were treated to this promo: “Tomorrow: He wanted the U.S. to assassinate a world leader. Now the U.S. is recommending his charity as second only to the Red Cross for Hurricane Katrina donations. The politics of Katrina relief and Pat Robertson, tomorrow, only on World News Tonight.” (As the announcer said that, ABC displayed video clips of Robertson, Hugo Chavez, hurricane destruction, the name “Operation Blessing” and Robertson with a frowning face as he prayed.)

I don't know how the feds made Operation Blessing “second only to the Red Cross,” but below are links to Operation Blessing and a FEMA press release which lists Operation Blessing fourth, after the Humane Society. And why should victims suffer just because the founder of one relief group, who has nothing to do with day-to-day operations, said something dumb?
UPDATED 9:10pm EDT with what aired.


On Tuesday, I posted an item about how Harry Smith worried that Christians who put up Hurricane Katrina evacuees in their homes might force their guests to attend church in order to eat breakfast. It was a silly question in an otherwise non-biased interview with Pastor Rick Warren, author of the best-selling book, The Purpose-Driven Life. Well, our favorite religious scholar made another gaffe today which similarly shows his ignorance about the beliefs of his interview subjects.


Smith asked a female parishioner:



Who decides whether you hear more about the Red Cross or the Salvation Army? Its the news producers.


Friday's "news analysis" by Richard Stevenson, "The President From 9/11 Has Yet to Reappear," follows in the slanted footsteps of his previous one. The text box reads: "Still looking for vision in the face of national calamity."


The BBC reports that tonight's telethon to help victims of Hurricane Katrina will not be cut to "edit political statements out" of the live show. The BBC also reports that Kanye West has again been invited to perform. During NBC's telethon last week, West deviated from the script to say "George Bush doesn't care about black people."

"No special precautions will be taken to edit political statements out of a live US TV benefit for Hurricane Katrina survivors, the show's producer said...



Was FEMA head Mike Brown Assistant City Manager of Edmond, OK, or was he Assistant to the City Manager? And did he serve from 1975-78 or from 1977-80?

Small beer, you might think, but a heady enough brew for the Today show to lead with this morning.

Andrea Mitchell reported on a Time Magazine piece which she claimed raised "serious questions about the management training" Brown had received.



After insisting that “I don’t do opinions,” on Thursday’s Daily Show on Comedy Central, NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams seemed to come dangerously close to endorsing the view that racism was behind the slow rescue of residents in New Orleans as he approvingly relayed how, a “refrain” he heard from “everyone watching the coverage all week,” was “had this been Nantucket, had this been Boston, Cleveland, Chicago, Miami, Los Angeles, how many choppers would have-” At that point, audience applause caused him to cut off his sentence as he gestured toward the audience to cite affirmation of his point.


Hard to imagine that if Williams heard the refrain, which is out there, that the hurricane’s destruction of abortion clinics in New Orleans shows it was meant as God’s punishment of sinful behavior in the city, Williams would have so willingly passed along that line of reasoning.


Transcript follows. Video Excerpt: Real or Windows Media



In keeping with trying to figure out which Republican is to blame for Katrina, TIME has launched an in-depth "investigation" into FEMA Chief Mike Brown's online resumes. While accusing Brown of both padding his resume and having no emergency management expience prior to becoming FEMA head, TIME simply doesn't acknowledge his work as having "served as FEMA's Deputy Director and the agency's General Counsel.



For two days now Fox News' Major Garrett has reported on first the Red Cross, and then the Salvation Army, being denied entrance to New Orleans by Louisiana State authorities. According to Garrett and the Red Cross website, officials didn't want the food, water and sanitary supplies to get to the Superdome and Convention Center because it might encourage others to come to those sites rather than evacuate the city. The result of the decision to withhold aid was thousands of New Orleans citizens trying to survive in horrific conditions without much needed supplies. The Louisiana National Guard, which was not tasked with providing survival supplies to evacuees, had to divert their attention from law enforcement and rescue operations to providing aid to the desperate families looking for the basics of life.