The hurricane may have knocked anti-war Bush-hater Cindy Sheehan off the news pages of the New York Times, but she still has enough liberal cred to make a local splash, as shown in a Monday Metro Section report in the Times by Marc Santora on Sheehan's visit to a church in Brooklyn, "Mother Who Lost Son in Iraq Continues Fight Against War."
"Cindy Sheehan, the mother of an American soldier killed in Iraq, last night brought her campaign to end the war to New York, where she accused Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton of not doing enough to challenge the Bush administration's Iraq policies. Speaking in front of more than 500 supporters in Fort Greene, Brooklyn, Ms. Sheehan, speaking of Senator Clinton, said, 'She knows that the war is a lie but she is waiting for the right time to say it.'"
Santora ignores the far-left nature of Sheehan's posse: "Since leaving Texas, Ms. Sheehan, of Vacaville, Calif., has been traveling around the country, rallying people against the war. Her entourage includes other parents who lost their children in the war, families of soldiers overseas, and veterans who have returned from Iraq."
Santora also ignores Sheehan's latest bizarre statement, but the New York Sun did not, noting: "Ms. Sheehan wrote a letter posted on filmmaker Michael Moore's Web site in which she accused the federal government of evacuating people unnecessarily in the days after Hurricane Katrina struck the Gulf Coast. 'George Bush needs to stop talking, admit the mistakes of his all around failed administration, pull our troops out of occupied New Orleans and Iraq, and excuse his self from power,' she wrote."
In what has become a daily ritual, another New York Times columnist thoroughly defamed and abused the president in an op-ed piece today. This morning, Frank Rich wrote:
“ONCE Toto parts the curtain, the Wizard of Oz can never be the wizard again. He is forever Professor Marvel, blowhard and snake-oil salesman. Hurricane Katrina, which is likely to endure in the American psyche as long as L. Frank Baum's mythic tornado, has similarly unmasked George W. Bush.”
Also of note, Rich demonstrated how Cindy Sheehan – remember her? – was just a pawn of the media while referencing how another of his cronies is now equating Katrina to Vietnam:
“It came only after the plan to heap all the blame on the indeed blameworthy local Democrats failed to lift Mr. Bush's own record-low poll numbers. It came only after America's highest-rated TV news anchor, Brian Williams, started talking about Katrina the way Walter Cronkite once did about Vietnam.”
What a difference a month makes: In August, it was Cindy Sheehan that represented Bush’s Vietnam as far as the were press concerned as reported by NewsBusters squad members here, here, and here. I guess anything that offers the media an opportunity to criticize the performance of the president is now akin to Vietnam.
Rich than predictably moved the discussion in a racial direction:
Despite the enormous popularization of blogging and other public media, the New York Times bucked the trend yesterday with an announcement that it will start charging readers a fee to read the articles of its opinion columnists.
In all honesty, when I first heard the news, I thought it was some sort of joke. Surely the Times wouldn't do something so stupid, especially after seeing the Wall Street Journal became a virtual nonentity online. The NYT's move is especially bizarre considering that since the Journal became a total subscriber site in the late 90s, it's been gradually moving toward freer content through the creation of OpinionJournal.com, periodic free subscription programs, and a recent campaign to free some articles which may be of interest to bloggers.
Sure, some people will be dumb enough to register for the program. But most people, especially those who have no idea who the likes of Tom Friedman or Paul Krugman are, certainly will not. That's because to most people, an opinion slinger is far less valuable than the stuff he or she writes. People develop relationships with columnists, it's true, but only after they've done so with their writing.
Friday brings New York Times reporter Richard Stevenson's latest biased "news analysis," "Amid the Ruins, a President Tries to Reconstruct His Image, Too." Tasteful metaphor, eh?
Twice in his story in the news pages, Stevenson cites as fact Bush's "faltering response" to Katrina, while again ignoring state and local (and Democratic) culpability.
"The violence of Hurricane Katrina and his faltering response to it have left to Mr. Bush the task not just of physically rebuilding a swath of the United States, but also of addressing issues like poverty and racial inequality that were exposed in such raw form by the storm. The challenge would be immense for any president, but is especially so for Mr. Bush. He is scrambling to assure a shaken, angry nation not only that is he up to the task but also that he understands how much it disturbed Americans to see their fellow citizens suffering and their government responding so ineffectually.
"So for nearly 30 minutes, he stood in a largely lifeless New Orleans and, to recast his presidency in response to one of the nation's most devastating disasters, sought to show that he understands the suffering. He spoke of housing and health care and job training. He reached with rhetorical confidence for the uplifting theme that out of tragedy can emerge a better society, and he groped for what he lost in the wind and water more than two weeks ago: his well-cultivated image as a strong leader."
When it comes to the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, the Times has never tried to pin or suggest blame lies anywhere but with President George W. Bush, despite ample evidence elsewhere of congressional and local failures. Stevenson continues mining that same vein:
"But if the speech helped him clear his first hurdle by projecting the aura of a president at the controls, it probably did not, by itself, get him over a second: his need to erase or at least blur the image of a White House that was unresponsive to the plight of some of the country's most vulnerable citizens and failed to manage the government competently. Whether he can put a floor under his falling poll numbers, restore his political authority and move ahead with his agenda will determine not just the course of his second term but the strength of his party, which by virtue of having controlled both the White House and the Congress for more than five years has trouble credibly pinning the blame elsewhere."
The New York Times buries its latest poll story on Bush on Page 18, perhaps recognizing the lack of news in the findings. Yet reporters Todd Purdum and Marjorie Connelly try their best in, "Support for Bush Continues to Drop as More Question His Leadership Skills, Poll Shows."
They open: "A summer of bad news from Iraq, high gasoline prices, economic unease and now the devastation of Hurricane Katrina has left President Bush with overall approval ratings for his job performance and handling of Iraq, foreign policy and the economy at or near the lowest levels of his presidency, according to the latest New York Times/CBS News Poll."
The Times admits, contrary to its headline, that "The hurricane, alone, does not appear to have taken any significant toll on Mr. Bush's overall job approval rating, which remains stuck virtually where it has been since early summer. But the findings do suggest that the slow federal response to the hurricane has increased public doubts about the Bush administration's effectiveness. Fifty-six percent of Americans said they were now less confident about the government's ability to respond to a terrorist attack or natural disaster."
But the Times doesn't mention in its story that the public perception of Bush's handling of Katrina has actually improved this week, from a 20-point gap in a CBS poll a week ago (38%-58% approval-disapproval) to a 6-point gap in this latest poll (44%-50%). For that tidbit you have to dig into the poll questions online. (It's Question 8.)
The media continue to use the 60th anniversary of the United Nations as a platform to criticize U.S. foreign aid as “second lowest of any wealthy country.” This is part of an ongoing, celebrity-filled push to get the United States to give billions of dollars in aid – totally ignoring the massive contributions already made by American charities.
The General Assembly has been debating what are called U.N. Millennium Development Goals, which attempt to mandate that each industrialized nation give 0.7 percent of its Gross National Product to foreign aid. The media have used the event to misrepresent U.S. foreign aid and to highlight celebrities like actress Angelia Jolie, an outspoken supporter of increased taxpayer-funded aid.
ABC’s “Good Morning America” interviewed Jolie September 13, along with with Dr. Jeffrey Sachs of the U.N. Millennium Project. Sachs is author of “The End of Poverty,” in which he indicted the United States for supposedly lagging behind other countries in aid for the poor. The two have produced a documentary about a trip to Kenya that is being shown on MTV on September 14.
Editor & Publisher reports on a cozy little deal made by The Washington Post and The New York Times in which the two MSM giants let each other know in advance what their most important product - the Front Page - will be, every day.
"As part of a secret arrangement formed more than 10 years ago, the Post and Times send each other copies of their next day's front pages every night. The sharing began as a courtesy between Post Executive Editor Leonard Downie Jr. and former Times Executive Editor Joseph Lelyveld in the early 1990s and has continued ever since. "'It seemed logical, because for years we would always try to get a copy of each other's papers as soon as they came out,' Downie tells E&P. 'It made sense to both of us to make it simpler for everybody.' Lelyveld, who left the Times in 2001, declined comment."
In any other industry, this would be called "collusion" and the Times and Post editorial pages would be in high dudgeon, demanding anti-trust investigations by the Department of Justice. Go here for the full E & P report.
Can you imagine what the outrage would be if it were Microsoft and Apple exchanging their product plans every day? Or GM and Ford?
What else have the Post and Times decided to play nice with each other on? After all, it wasn't that long ago that the two papers co-owned The International Herald Tribune. Have they divided up national advertising accounts? Agreed on who would cover which government agencies aggressively? Coordinated recruiting operations? Exchanged lists of favored politicos and lists of those targeted for tough treatment?
In another New York Timesstory seemingly spurred by Democratic complaints, Philip Shenon reports Wednesday: "The inspector general of the Department of Homeland Security said Tuesday that his office had received accusations of fraud and waste in the multibillion-dollar relief programs linked to Hurricane Katrina and would investigate how no-bid contracts were awarded to several large, politically well-connected companies."Of course, there's an Iraq connection: "Their comments appeared to be a response, in part, to charges from Democratic lawmakers that such a large, hurriedly organized federal relief program could produce the sort of contract abuses, cronyism and waste that numerous investigations have identified in the Bush administration's reconstruction programs in postwar Iraq."
"[IG Richard Skinner] said that his investigators would focus on several no-bid contracts awarded over the last two weeks to large, politically influential companies, including the Fluor Corporation of California, a major donor to the Republican Party, and the Shaw Group of Baton Rouge, La. Shaw is a client of Joe M. Allbaugh, a consultant who is the former head of FEMA and was President Bush's campaign manager in 2000. Another of Mr. Allbaugh's clients -- Kellogg Brown & Root, a subsidiary of Halliburton, the giant defense contractor once led by Vice President Dick Cheney -- is doing major repairs at Navy facilities along the Gulf Coast that were damaged by the hurricane. That work is being done under a $500 million contract with the Defense Department."
There were some gruesome findings yesterday in New Orleans.
Some were discovered in a hospital. Others in a nursing home.
Yet, this didn’t stop New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd from continuing her bitter evisceration of our president.
No, not a moment’s mourning for this crusader. Not a second to consider the innocents that were lost in these medical facilities, or the friends and family members who are grieving.
Instead, Ms. Dowd gets more and more vitriolic and venomous with each passing day. Just listen to her apparent glee as she announces the increase in the hurricane fatalities while linking responsibility to the White House:
Criticism for budget deficits has been replaced by calls for big government
As quickly as the water started rising in New Orleans, America’s media began blaming Hurricane Katrina-related damages on the president’s 2001 and 2003 economic stimulus packages. The overriding theme the first week after Katrina hit was that the levees of Louisiana failed due to a lack of federal funding stemming from “tax cuts for the rich.” However, a closer look at the federal budget reveals that funding for departments and agencies administering U.S. “Physical Resources” – Agriculture, Commerce, Energy, Transportation, Environmental Protection, etc. – increased by 35 percent during George W. Bush’s first term.
But the media have claimed that tax cuts reduced our nation’s ability to protect New Orleans from a natural disaster.
The New York Times’ Elisabeth Bumiller has an article today that continues to dwell on the supposed impact that racism had on the immediacy of hurricane recovery efforts, and how this is hurting the president as well as Republicans:
“The storm also appears to have damaged the carefully laid plans of Karl Rove, President Bush's political adviser, to make inroads among black voters and expand the reach of the Republican Party for decades to come.
“Many African-Americans across the country said they seethed as they watched the television pictures of the largely poor and black victims of Hurricane Katrina dying for food and water in the New Orleans Superdome and the convention center.”
Ms. Bumiller felt it was necessary to quote a rapper in her political analysis:
“The anger has invigorated the president's critics. Kanye West, the rap star, raged off-script at a televised benefit for storm victims that ‘George Bush doesn't care about black people.’"
1. Christopher Fotos at PostWatch notes that Kanye West has company in WashPost columnist Colbert King. King also was offering his respect for Kanye on the talk show Inside Washington, and Charles Krauthammer quickly told him he was nuts.
2. The New York Times reports Katrina Vanden Heuvel of the "left-leaning" (make that "left-careening") Nation magazine "became incensed" when Rush Limbaugh picked up on NRO chatter and started calling the storm "Hurricane Katrina Vanden Heuvel."
3. Are rock stars trying to give us lectures as they sing on hurricane-relief benefits? Last night's mega-channel concert featured Neil Young sang his song "When God Made Me." The lyrics clearly show Young thinks that the problem with religion is that God tends to favor people who believe he exists. That, and religion is the reason for too many bloody wars. Some compare it to John Lennon's "Imagine," but Lennon wants no God, and Young just thinks He might be a Unitarian Universalist.
On Fox News this morning, Geraldo Rivera claimed that the New York Times’ Allessandra Stanley lied about him pushing people in New Orleans so his camera crew could catch him assisting folks being evacuated from a retirement home. Please reference Ian Schwartz’s post from Tuesday concerning this.
“The New York Times has lied about me. And they have an arrogance, an institutional arrogance that somehow prohibits them from admitting their mistake. And it’s really embarrassing. So, here’s what we’re going to do: We’re going to provide to any journalistic outfit that wants it the entire uncut, unedited tape of what happened to me and what I was doing helping the airforce guys to evacuate that retirement home. And there is no first-year journalism student anywhere on the planet that will agree with their assessment. And the fact that they refuse to correct is an arrogance, it’s an anti-Fox bias. It’s also a kind of superiority…a social and cultural superiority.”
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.”
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."
"Nine days after the United States was attacked on Sept. 11, 2001, President Bush stood before a joint session of Congress and rallied the nation to a new mission. On Thursday, nine days after it became apparent that New Orleans and much of the Gulf Coast had been devastated by Hurricane Katrina, Mr. Bush stood in an auditorium across the street from the White House and directed storm victims to a Web site and a toll-free telephone number. There are obvious differences between the situations. But while the first showed Mr. Bush capable of commanding the nation's attention, transcending partisanship and clearly articulating a set of goals, the second has left him groping to find his voice and set out a vision of how the government and the American people should respond."
Stevenson implies Bush is some kind of conservative hypocrite: "But as Thursday's performance made clear, he has remained small bore in addressing the crisis, casting himself more as a manager than a leader. And as someone who regularly cites the virtues of limited government, he has been somewhat out of character in unleashing rather than reining in the kinds of social welfare programs he urged the storm's victims to sign up for on Thursday….But most of the rest of his speech was a guide to government assistance programs, including Medicaid, assistance for needy families, food stamps, housing and job training, many of which he has tried to trim in the name of leaner government."
Stevenson then suggests that waiving a union-backed requirement in order to speed up relief indicates a lack of compassion: "Mr. Bush's effort to strike a compassionate tone were also complicated by his decision to waive a requirement that employers who receive federal government contracts related to the relief effort pay their workers the prevailing wages for that kind of work in the area it is being done. The White House said the change was made to save the government money. John J. Sweeney, the president of the A.F.L.-C.I.O, called it 'unbelievable and outrageous.'"
Speaking of compassion, Wal-Mart, long attacked in the Times for being anti-union, donated $15 million to Hurricane Katrina relief. We'll see if the AFL-CIO proves equally generous.
Go to TimesWatch for more coverage of bias in the New York Times.
The misery and loss of life following Hurricane Katrina and the flooding of New Orleans make it the worst calamity to hit the United States since the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. But after 9/11, many journalists insisted that their correct stance was rigid neutrality, refusing to call terrorists "terrorists" and insisting objectivity would be compromised by wearing lapel pins with the American flag. In contrast, journalists showed no similar desire for neutrality in covering this disaster.
Tuesday's Times story by Simon Romero on the efforts of Houston businesses to assist in Katrina relief efforts was fairly unobjectionable -- but the version that appeared in the Times' international edition (the International Herald Tribune) contained some political raunch sure to delight European readers of a left-wing bent.
Blogger Austin Bay says, "note the sharpened rhetorical daggers" in the lead sentence of the IHT version: "No one would accuse this city of being timid in the scramble to profit from the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina."
That bit didn't make it into the stateside edition of the Times.
For more on local reaction to the Times story, see the website of Houston's local ABC station, where some found the international version "overly critical, ill-timed, and in poor taste."
Louisiana Democrats can lambaste Bush and the federal government's response to hurricane Katrina all they want without objection from the Times. But let Republican Gov. Haley Barbour dare praise the federal response, and it "raises eyebrows." That's according to a Tuesday story from reporter Michael Cooper, "Bush Has Staunch Defender Amid Critics on Gulf Coast." The text box reads: "Praise for the federal response from a rising G.O.P. star raises eyebrows in his state."
"Mr. Barbour's praise of the federal efforts has put him at odds with some other Mississippi officials who have bemoaned the slow response in their areas and has put him at risk of sounding like a Pollyanna to Mississippians still struggling in the storm's aftermath. But the strategy is unsurprising for a canny political strategist like Mr. Barbour -- a former political director in the Reagan White House, chairman of the Republican Party, and powerful Washington lobbyist -- who won the governorship two years ago by in part emphasizing the strength of his close ties to President Bush."
Geraldo Rivera appeared on The O'Reilly Factor this evening to discuss what he said was a false story printed by The New York Times. Television journalist, Alesssandra Stanley wrote the following snippet that is hidden at the bottom her the article:
Some reporters helped stranded victims because no police officers or rescue workers were around. (Fox's Geraldo Rivera did his rivals one better: yesterday, he nudged an Air Force rescue worker out of the way so his camera crew could tape him as he helped lift an older woman in a wheelchair to safety.)
News reports alerted the world, and, it seems, an inattentive federal government, to the neglected victims in New Orleans. And television networks even acted as benefactors, holding star-studded telethons to raise money for the storm's victims.
America’s media are, once again, predicting economic doom and gloom as a result of a natural disaster. Such predictions have been wrong before and, in the case of Hurricane Katrina, will likely turn out wrong again.
These predictions fly in the face of strong economic data reported by the Labor Department on Friday – including an August unemployment rate of 4.9 percent that is now the lowest in four years. America’s press decided to play down the positives by focusing on the threat to jobs and the economy as a result of Katrina.
Edmund L. Andrews of The New York Times took a negative outlook with this:
There was loads of competition, but perhaps the most cynical anti-Bush story to appear in the Times from the tragedy-filled holiday weekend came Monday from Adam Nagourney and Anne Kornblut, "White House Enacts a Plan To Ease Political Damage" which worked the cliches of a sinister Karl Rove trying to shift hurricane blame to New Orleans' Democrats.
They begin: "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. It orchestrated visits by cabinet members to the region, leading up to an extraordinary return visit by Mr. Bush planned for Monday, directed administration officials not to respond to attacks from Democrats on the relief efforts, and sought to move the blame for the slow response to Louisiana state officials, according to Republicans familiar with the White House plan."
The Times warns away anyone who would suggest state and local officials had anything to do with the tragedy of errors that engulfed New Orleans: "In a reflection of what has long been a hallmark of Mr. Rove's tough political style, the administration is also working to shift the blame away from the White House and toward officials of New Orleans and Louisiana who, as it happens, are Democrats. 'The way that emergency operations act under the law is the responsibility and the power, the authority, to order an evacuation rests with state and local officials," Mr. Chertoff said in his television interview. 'The federal government comes in and supports those officials.' That line of argument was echoed throughout the day, in harsher language, by Republicans reflecting the White House line."
For the second time the Times faults the Secretary of State for not being in D.C. while the water was in New Orleans: "[Condoleezza] Rice did not return to Washington until Thursday, after she was spotted at a Broadway show and shopping for shoes, an image that Republicans said buttressed the notion of a White House unconcerned with tragedy."
One wonders how often the Times criticized Warren Christopher or Madeleine Albright, (secretaries of state under Clinton) for not heading off to the scene of natural disasters.
The NY Times today seemed so excited to see former President Clinton involved in hurricane relief that it practically ignored his partner in this pursuit, former President Bush. In fact, this article refers to Mr. Clinton by name at least 17 times, his wife five times, while the former President Bush is actually only named twice. From this, one would think that he’s such an afterthought that this effort should be called the Clinton-Clinton Katrina Fund.
What is also striking about this article is its condescending tone toward current President Bush:
When David Brooks first joined the NY Times in September 2003, it initially seemed that he was going to be able to keep his conservative leanings, and would be a fine replacement for William Safire once the latter had retired. However, lately it seems that Mr. Brooks is being co-opted by others on the Times editorial staff.
In fact, his latest op-ed sounds like it could have been written by either Paul Krugman or Maureen Dowd:
The scrapbook of history accords but a few pages to each decade, and it is already clear that the pages devoted to this one will be grisly. There will be pictures of bodies falling from the twin towers, beheaded kidnapping victims in Iraq and corpses still floating in the waterways of New Orleans five days after the disaster that caused them.
Katrina means that the political culture, already sour and bloody-minded in many quarters, will shift. There will be a reaction. There will be more impatience for something new. There is going to be some sort of big bang as people respond to the cumulative blows of bad events and try to fundamentally change the way things are.
Well, we all knew this was coming. A New York Times editorial quite strongly suggests that income tax rates in our nation should now be raised as a result of Hurricane Katrina:
Congress and the president had better get the message: an extraordinary time is upon the nation. The annihilation in New Orleans is an irrefutable sign that the national tax-cut party is over. So is the idea that American voters cannot be required to accept sacrifice or inconvenience, no matter how great the crisis. This country is better than that.
Yep. With higher fuel prices, along with what are sure to be higher heating and electricity bills this winter, what all those suffering from hurricane damages definitively need is higher federal income taxes.
In the days since Hurricane Katrina struck, there has been a lot of hand-wringing and finger-pointing at the Bush administration concerning budget cuts to the Army Corps of Engineers that might have shored up the levee system surrounding New Orleans. The most recent such tirade comes from Times economic writer Paul Krugman:
Why wasn't more preventive action taken? After 2003 the Army Corps of Engineers sharply slowed its flood-control work, including work on sinking levees. "The corps," an Editor and Publisher article says, citing a series of articles in The Times-Picayune in New Orleans, "never tried to hide the fact that the spending pressures of the war in Iraq, as well as homeland security - coming at the same time as federal tax cuts - was the reason for the strain."
As depicted in a recent posting by NewsBusters own David Pierre, cable outlets like CNN have started to depict race as a "hindrance of choice" to the rescue efforts that are taking place on a massive scale in New Orleans. Predictably, old media outlets like the New York Times have followed suit.
In an article by the Times David Gonzalez, the fault lies not with a category 5 Hurricane, but with white people in general, and President Bush principally. Gonzalez starts out this way:
No longer mincing words, a New York Timeseditorial puts the blame for the current post-Katrina disaster area in New Orleans squarely on the backs of the Bush administration and its diverted attention to the war in Iraq:
Watching helplessly from afar, many citizens wondered whether rescue operations were hampered because almost one-third of the men and women of the Louisiana National Guard, and an even higher percentage of the Mississippi National Guard, were 7,000 miles away, fighting in Iraq. That's an even bigger loss than the raw numbers suggest because many of these part-time soldiers had to leave behind their full-time jobs in police and fire departments or their jobs as paramedics. Regardless of whether they wear public safety uniforms in civilian life, the guardsmen in Iraq are a crucial resource sorely missed during these early days, when hours have literally meant the difference between evacuation and inundation, between civic order and chaos, between life and death.
Hurricane Katrina is a U.S. natural disaster unparalleled in modern times, leaving at least half of a major city underwater. In this national tragedy, the nation's paper of record rises to the occasion by declaring everything Bush's fault. But perhaps some blame could be more plausibly apportioned to the Times' own editorial page
Yesterday's lead New York Times editorial, "Waiting for a Leader," asks: "While our attention must now be on the Gulf Coast's most immediate needs, the nation will soon ask why New Orleans's levees remained so inadequate. Publications from the local newspaper to National Geographic have fulminated about the bad state of flood protection in this beloved city, which is below sea level. Why were developers permitted to destroy wetlands and barrier islands that could have held back the hurricane's surge? Why was Congress, before it wandered off to vacation, engaged in slashing the budget for correcting some of the gaping holes in the area's flood protection?"
Perhaps they were reading old Times editorials on flood control. As the EU Rota blog notes, the Times editorial page has often criticized such efforts as anti-environmental boondoggles.
No, this isn’t about Maureen Dowd or Paul Krugman. That’s too easy. It’s about a story on flooding in New Orleans today (1 September). Here’s the lede:
“The 17th Street levee that gave way and led to the flooding of New Orleans was part of an intricate, aging system of barriers and pumps that was so chronically underfinanced that senior regional officials of the Army Corps of Engineers complained about it publicly for years.”
The second and third paragraphs say:
“Often leading the chorus was Alfred C. Naomi, a senior project manager for the corps... [who] grew particularly frustrated this year as the Gulf Coast braced for what forecasters said would be an intense hurricane season and a nearly simultaneous $71 million cut was announced in the New Orleans district budget to guard against such storms.”
As the pressure mounts on the media to figure out more and more creative ways to blame the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina on the Bush administration, a front-page New York Times article by David Sanger appears to lay the post-hurricane looting right at the White House doorstep:
Even before Hurricane Katrina, governors were beginning to question whether National Guard units stretched to the breaking point by service in Iraq would be available for domestic emergencies. Those concerns have now been amplified by scenes of looting and disorder.