"How did it come to pass that an opposition's measure of a president's foreign policy was all or nothing, success or "failure"? The answer is that the political absolutism now normal in Washington arrived at the moment--Nov. 7, 2000--that our politics subordinated even a war against terror to seizing the office of the presidency." - Daniel Henninger - WSJ 11/18/05
"the slovenliness of our language makes it easier for us to have foolish thoughts." - George Orwell

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

The media's imperfect storm

From Jonah Goldberg, editor-at-large at NRO writing at Townhall.com:

On a recent edition of "Larry King Live," liberal Republican Congressman Christopher Shays, eager to put some distance between himself and the president, explained what he thinks is George Bush's real albatross.

"Let me just say that I think the thing that has hurt the president most is not Iraq. It's Katrina," Shays said. "People saw an arrogant but confident administration, but when they saw Katrina, they saw arrogance and frankly incompetence, and that was very unsettling."

This sentiment is pervasive among Democrats and the press. Time magazine writes matter-of-factly that "the government's inept response to Hurricane Katrina" is a major liability for Republicans in '06. Howard Dean and other Democrats mention Katrina as a staple talking point.

The gist or grist of the mill, is that the msm defines the Katrina response as perhaps President Bush at his worst; and the media at it's best. Yet as Jonah Goldberg points out:
Dan Rather proclaimed it one of the "quintessential great moments in television news." Christiane Amanpour explained, "I think what's interesting is that it took a Katrina, you know, to bring us back to where we belong. In other words, real journalists, real journalism, and I think that's a good thing."

But in the race to prove the federal response incompetent, the "real journalists" missed some important details. As Lou Dolinar of RealClearPolitics.com exhaustively documents, the National Guard did amazing work in New Orleans. From the Superdome, the Guard managed some 2,500 troops, a dozen emergency shelters, more than 200 boats, 150 helicopters (which flew more than 10,000 sorties moving 88,181 passengers, 18,834 tons of cargo, and saved 17,411 survivors), and an enormous M*A*S*H operation that, among other things, delivered seven babies.

Also left out of the conventional tale of Katrina is the fact that the hurricane hardly singled out New Orleans. Obviously, the flooding was worse because of the levee breaks. But, as Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour noted, the people of his state and Alabama and Florida have the same federal government. And despite awesome destruction, they managed to do OK.

This is pretty sad when you consider that "all politicians lie" and the msm is the font of truth, honestly and reality.

As Goldberg closes, he points out that the government and administration reponse did not exclude mistakes, which I and many will agree. But to have the media tell it, is to tell a story filled with inaccuracies; inaccuracies never to be fully admitted to and reported. This is one reason, the follow up investigations/committees and the fixes recommended and acted on are of such concern; how do you fix something that you truly don't understand because of all the lies in the way?


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