Mike Brown Part 2: The Media Bias Factor
Of course, even after reading the same things you read in “Mike Brown Part 1,” the New York Times turns things around and blames Bush:
“But Mr. Brown’s account, in which he described making “a blur of calls” all week to Mr. Chertoff, Mr. Card and Mr. Hagin, suggested that Mr. Bush, or at least his top aides, were informed early and repeatedly by the top federal official at the scene that state and local authorities were overwhelmed and that the overall response was going badly.
A senior administration official said Wednesday night that White House officials recalled the conversations with Mr. Brown but did not believe they had the urgency or desperation he described in the interview.
“There’s a general recollection of him saying, ‘They’re going to need more help,’ ” said the official, who insisted on anonymity because of the delicacy of internal White House discussions.
Mr. Brown’s version of events raises questions about whether the White House and Mr. Chertoff acted aggressively enough in the response. New Orleans convulsed in looting and violence after the hurricane, and troops did not arrive in force to restore order until five days later.”
This is a fascinating meme and I’ll tell you why.
The original meme pushed by the media after things started to break down in New Orleans was that FEMA, and by extension the Bush administration, were supposed to be first responders, and therefore they were responsible for every mistake that was made.
Unfortunately, this meme was out there for almost a week because most conservatives, driven by a sense of decency, didn’t want to start pointing fingers while people were still being rescued.
However, conservatives eventually started speaking up and pointed out that the locals, not FEMA, were supposed to be the first responders. Then, one screw-up after another that had absolutely nothing to do with FEMA were revealed. Nagin didn’t follow the city’s evacuation plan. He didn’t use city buses to get people out of New Orleans. The state blocked the Red Cross from coming in to feed the people at the Superdome. Blanco was slow to call out the National Guard, etc., etc., etc.
At that point, the media had a dilemma to deal with.
They had already spent a solid week screaming to everyone who’d listen that this whole mess was Bush and FEMA’s fault and yet, as the days went on, it became increasingly obvious that Blanco and Nagin were the root of the problems in New Orleans.
Which brings us to where we are today.
If the liberal MSM were to correct itself at this point, it would not only be embarrassing, it would require shifting the “finger of blame” from the hated Bush administration to two Democrats. Of course, that would never do.
So, what the MSM has done instead is shift the goalposts and blame the Bush administration for not realizing Blanco and Nagin were
inept overwhelmed sooner. This is a perversely brilliant tactic, because no matter what happens, the Bush Administration is always at fault. Did FEMA screw something up that was actually their responsibility? Then FEMA gets the blame. Did Blanco or Nagin screw something up? Then FEMA gets the blame for that, too, because they should have immediately realized that Blanco and Nagin didn’t know what they were doing.
That sort of, “d*mned if you do, d*mned if you don’t,” coverage for the Bush administration is typical of how the MSM has handled Katrina’s aftermath. For example…
Bush was too slow to fly over to New Orleans? That means he’s a big jerk who doesn’t care! Bush flies over New Orleans? What good is a fly-over? He may as well have just watched it on TV. Bush actually goes to New Orleans and talks to people on the ground? Oh, he’s just looking to get some good publicity photos!
It’s as if the MSM’s hurricane coverage started out with a premise of “How can we use Katrina to stick it to Bush?” and then they worked from there. You know, in retrospect, even if they didn’t start out with that premise, would the mainstream media coverage have been significantly different if they had? The honest answer to that question is “no”…