Sunday, September 04, 2005

Katrina Press Coverage: Powerful Sentiments

Here is a quick round up of some of the most interesting press coverage on Katrina over the past few days, with video clips and transcripts:

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This is a harrowing and yet brilliant piece of journalism by Geraldo Rivera and Shepard Smith as they document with sadness and anger their frustration at the sights they have witnessed in the aftermath of Katrina. The website is a little busy so you might have to wait about 30 seconds or so for the video to come up... (stick it out - it's worth the wait!!!).

Video: Geraldo and Shep' on Hannity and Colmes

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On Meet the Press today Tim Russert effectively clobbered Secretary of Homeland Security, Michael Chertoff on the issue of accountability. Using a damning article from the Times Picayune in 2002, which essentially predicted the tragic events that have transpired, Russert demanded to know why such huge underestimations were made by the Federal Gov't... and why people were taken by surprise by the extent of the flooding. Here is the eerily spooky quote from the 2002 article Russert used:

"...A major hurricane could decimate the region, but flooding from even a moderate storm could kill thousands. It's just a matter of time. ... The scene's been played out for years in computer models or emergency operations simulations... New Orleans has hurricane levees that create a bowl with the bottom dipping lower than the bottom of Lake Pontchartrain. ...the levees would trap any water that gets inside-- by breach, overtopping or torrential downpour--catastrophic storm. ... The estimated 200,000 or more people left behind in an evacuation will be struggling to survive. Some will be housed at the Superdome, the designated shelter for people too sick or inform to leave the city. ...But many will simply be on their own, in homes or looking for high ground. Thousands will drown while trapped in homes or cars by rising water. Other will be washed away or crushed by debris. Survivors will end up trapped on roofs, in buildings or on high ground surrounded by water, with no means of escape and little food or fresh water, perhaps for several days."

Full transcript from today's "Meet The Press"
Video: Tim Russert Interviews Michael Chertoff

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And finally, as I previously posted in the comments section of the last thread, Mary Landrieu, who I think has been outstanding throughout this entire crisis, was aggressively challenged by Anderson Cooper for complimenting her political colleagues at a time when people were continuing to suffer. Anderson, too, wanted politicians to focus on accountability for the appauling errors that have been made:

Video: Anderson Cooper Interviews Senator Mary Landrieu

As I said in my last entry I feel very strongly that criticism... especially politically motivated shots at the President, is counter productive at a time when the nation needs to be united. People are still stranded in New Orleans desperately requiring political leadership. A post on a right leaning blog called Voice Potential demonstrates the dangerous road we begin to take if we allow the current dialogue to descend into partisan bickering from either side. This is not a time for attacking each other.

The implications are stark for where we might be heading. Liberals aren't exploiting a national tragedy for political purposes as the Voice Potential article contends... at least the majority of them aren't. Liberals are donating money, and volunteering, and doing everything they can to help people still down there. As are Republicans, and people of no political persuasion. Everybody is in this together. Unity is the essential pre-requisite for the expediency and efficiency that was initially lacking in the relief effort. I don't want politicians blaming each other, like Anderson Cooper seemed to be demanding. I want them working together to save lives as swiftly as possible.

It is easy, and perhaps not entirely helpful to frame the journalistic discourse in terms of the dramatic failures that have cost thousands of lives and subjected almost a million people to misery and violence. But the more challenging journalistic responsibility will be in the weeks and months ahead, when the situation is under control, and Hurricane Katrina is no longer a ratings winner on Cable News. I hope then, when it really matters, journalists like Geraldo, Shepard Smith, and Anderson Cooper retain their compelling passion and aggression to thoroughly investigate the events that have contributed to this terrible disaster. I hope eventually then, we can begin to understand why the people of New Orleans were so dreadfully let down by all levels of their government.

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Alice: In Wonderland or Not said...

I can't comment that much as I am just getting ready for my first day of classes but as much as I dislike Fox Geraldo did do a number on the coverage the other day and he was as a friend told me rather hard on the administration for a FOXY.

I think anderson cooper has done a smashing job.

Eban said...

Are you ready for hell to freeze over? Hilary is calling for a 9/11 type investigation. She is also calling on FEMA to be removed from the Homland Security Department and moved back under a cabinet level administrator, and I agree! I am so doomed, I agree with Hillary, argh, the pain.

When we had the great responce after 9/11, it was before The Homeland Security Department was even a twinkle in the administrations eye. I have always been skeptical of the department. I always believe that adding another level of beurocracy is a bad thing. Now we may have seen the result. Oh, and the patriot act.

To keep this more in tone with my normal veiw of Hillary, I have found some internet porn with the girl a spitting image of a young Hillary. That get your attention?

I do hope that I never have to ever say that I agree with Hillary again, I feel icky.

Have a great day bro!

C R Mountjoy - GDF said...

I don't care what Geraldo (Jerry Rivers) did in Iraq. He is a pimp! Pure and simple. The rest of the media is terrible and is using this disaster to attack this administration. The real probe needs to start with the Corp of Engineers, all LA COngressman from the 60s to present, every mayor of NO from the 60s to present. The Americans needs to know why its taken over 30 years to compelte projects to shore up levees. The list is endless. This is not a present administration issue.

Sophia said...

Graham, you rock. I'm consulting you as much as I do my news sources and referred to you in my latest post on Katrina. :)

Thanks for all your awesome work! :)

Graham said...

Hey Alice,

I didn't see enough of Anderson Cooper to comment because I don't get CNN US over here. I thought Shepard Smith was fantastic on Fox. With Geraldo you just don't know... when he's crying holding that kid part of me feels like he's emotional because he knows it's award winning TV journalism... he's got an intuitive sense for the dramatic that seems a little forced sometimes.

Hey Eban,

I'll have you converted by 2008 :)! The truth is that even though I adore the strident, passionate Hillary of yesteryear this latest, cold, analytical incarnation isn't so much to my taste. I still fancy her though :)... this older woman thing I have, lol.

Hope you're doing well my friend.

CR Mountjoy:

I disagree that all of the media is using this event to attack the administration. I think there are many justified criticism's to be levelled at the Administration. And to be fair, inspite of my previous column, I also think there are justified criticism's to be levelled at Bush's leadership through this crisis. But, I do think the place for this is within a full independent inquiry, and not, as Move behaved yesterday, conducting a protest outside the Whitehouse... which was just embarrassing.

Hey Sophia,

Glad you're back from Texas. I have missed your witty, life loving posts a great deal. Thanks for the links and references... your post on Katrina was very comprehensive and impressive.

Would highly recommend that people check out:


Graham said...

One of the things that is really starting to T me off is that many of those who expressed the sentiment that now is not the time for recriminations, or criticism... and argued that people who do so are behaving inappropriately... are now all too happy to apportion blame to state and local officials extensively as a means to deflect negative attention to themselves, or those that they support politically.

There seems to be something hypocritical about the Administration saying that now is not the time for scrutiny, and then in turn publically scrutinizing everyone elses behavior so vehemently.

Sarah said...

I like your blog entry, and your last comment, but I definitely disagree with what you said in your post about this not being the time for criticism. Speaking out against the way the Bush administration is handling themselves in yet another time of national tragedy isn't necessarily partisan, it's just true. The idea that it's partisan and detrimental is a bunch of crap that they're feeding us to avoid responsibilty for their own failings. I assure you, Americans can open our wallets to give, feed the hungry, and speak out against injustice all at the same time without compromising our efforts.

Graham said...

Hey Sarah,

Both of these posts were made in the direct aftermath of the Hurricane. At that time, when there was a political vacuum of leadership required from everybody suffering, I felt the criticism was counterproductive... especially that directed at the President. The office of the Presidency was desperately required by the people in peril and in my heart of hearts I believed George W. would rise to the occasion as he did at 9/11, as you can see in my post below this one.

What I have seen since I've found increasingly frustrating. It's been a lack of leadership that has been shameful from the whitehouse. Watching Scott McClellan play politics when asked in the Press briefing about the President's confidence in Michael Brown was digusting under the circumstances. What's worse is that they've resorted to laying blame on local, and state officials, while accussing everyone else of playing the blame game. So over the course of the last week my views have shifted in light at how poorly this administration has dealt with things... and to be fair I think a lot of Republican's feel the same way.

The point you make about sending relief and criticising at the same time is a potent argument. But, I still believe the political discourse should be focused upon the situation in Louisiana, and the relief effort. The country needs to be united, the people in Washington need to be united... and I really believe that matters at a time of national tragedy. I think were wrong protesting outside the White House.

Thanks for your comment Sarah :).

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