Thursday, September 29, 2005

In the aftermath

It's a funny thing, as time passes and more and more facts come to light, our vision of what happened in the aftermath of Katrina is turning out to be radically different from what we were told at the time. Via Instapundit, Jeff Goldstein has an excellent post on the role that the media played in all of this (see also Forward Biased interesting followup). Given that some in the MSM including Dan Rather were crowing that the Katrina coverage was possibly their finest hour, the fact that it now turns out that they were relentlessly hyping exaggerated rumors and outright fabrications does not speak well for them. If this was the media at their finest, what are we to expect from them on an average day?

One particular meme that partisans have plucked from the coverage and are now bandying about triumphantly is the "Bush was so clueless about the situation in New Orleans that Dan Bartlett had to prepare a DVD of media coverage for him to watch." This appears to have originated with the Newsweek hit piece "How Bush Blew It".

On the face of it, the assumption is ridiculous. Somehow the President of the United States with a vast network of agencies reporting back to him on the situation in New Orleans has no clue what is going on down there. He is being fed reports from trained professionals on the scene who's job it is to assess the situation but he still is in the dark. And somehow he would be better off ignoring what his people are telling him and instead focusing on the media reports. As Peter King put it perfectly, speaking to Chris Matthews "Just because the president doesn't watch you on television, it doesn't mean he's not doing his job."

But add to this, as we now know, that the media was wildly exaggerating the situation. I wouldn't be surprised if somebody doesn't pull Bartlett into their office for a little talk. "Dan, in a time of crisis it is important that the President be as well informed as possible. It is our job to provide him with facts, not rumors. In the future I would appreciate it if you refrain from feeding the President uninformed media hype and hysteria."

I wonder if the media will be as critical of their response to hurricane Katrina as they were of the president. Look for this article in the next issue of Newsweek, "How We Blew It". Just don't hold your breath.

UPDATE: Corrected my grammar so that media is plural instead of singular.

1 Comments:

Blogger Obi-Wan said...

Why, thanks for the link and kind words, Dougie. 'Preciate that.

In fact, I had never before seen your blog. Now that's just one more thing I have to keep an eye on... ;o)

1:49 PM  

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