Damage Control


I am now adding a third post to the list of Katrina posts I am updating. The first, about government irresponsibility, is here. The second about issues of race (and poverty) is here. And now a third one about the attempts by the Bush administration to play spin the blame.

Joshua Micah Marshall:

It’s almost awe-inspiring to see the level of energy and coordination the Bush White House can bring to bear in a genuine crisis. Not hurricane Katrina, of course, but the political crisis they now find rising around them.

The New York Times:

Under the command of President Bush’s two senior political advisers, the White House rolled out a plan this weekend to contain the political damage from the administration’s response to Hurricane Katrina.

Laura Rozen provides a report from a Dutch reader about the differences in CNN and ZDF coverage of a Bush photo-op (via Kevin Drum, who has more):

There was a striking dicrepancy between the CNN International report on the Bush visit to the New Orleans disaster zone, yesterday, and reports of the same event by German TV.

ZDF News reported that the president’s visit was a completely staged event. Their crew witnessed how the open air food distribution point Bush visited in front of the cameras was torn down immediately after the president and the herd of news people’ had left and that others which were allegedly being set up were abandoned at the same time.

The people in the area were once again left to fend for themselves, said ZDF.

UPDATE: Respectful of Otters says that Laura Rozen’s Dutch reader was wrong about the content of the ZDF story I reported above.

Reuters reports that FEMA is blocking pictures of the dead.

The numbers of those each agency claims it rescued don’t add up.

UPDATE: The media blackout seems to be more total than just blocking pictures of the dead. There are reports of reporters and trucks being turned away and people being told by FEMA not to talk to reporters…

UPDATE: Karen Nakamura has an excellent post comparing the current media blackout with the response of the Feds to the Great Depression.

UPDATE: Republican talking points:

It’s disappointing that while President Bush has focused his administration’s entire efforts towards saving lives and helping the victims of Katrina, there are those who are using this tragedy to score cheap political points.

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