I have been in a media blackout for most of the past week, preparing my presentations for the Claremont panels at the American Political Science Association convention at the begining of last week and attending the convention for the rest of the week. Even watching the broadcast news shows with the sound off while working out in the morning during the convention, I could sense the party line the lamestream media were relentlessly retailing.
The party line, as I understand it, is that everything is Bush’s fault, including the levees built to Hurricane Level 3 specifications, the hurricane itself, the people who stayed behind, the default of municipal and state authorities, the difficulty of helping those who stayed behind, and the criminals who have exploited the vulnerable and impeded the rescue efforts.
The broadcast news peddlers look like berserk used car salesmen who won’t shut up, and they seem to have kept on pushing that jalopy since I returned home yesterday. I think they’re nuts. They have the single-minded intensity and loose connection to reality of Art Fern, the matinee movie host immortalized by Johnny Carson. Below, Matt Lauer and Katie Couric do their thing.
On the plane home yesterday I had the opportunity to read the Washington Post from front to back. Virtually every section of the paper carried hurricane-related stories, many of them interesting and informative. Manuel Roig-Franzia and Spencer Hsu bury the lede, however, in their page-one story: “Many evacuated, but thousands still waiting.” The story’s subhead seemed to editorialize news that might be of special interest: “White House shifts blame to state and local officials.” Why would the White House do that? There beginning in the sixth paragraph an answer was intimated:
Behind the scenes, a power struggle emerged, as federal officials tried to wrest authority from Louisiana Gov. Kathleen Babineaux Blanco (D). Shortly before midnight Friday, the Bush administration sent her a proposed legal memorandum asking her to request a federal takeover of the evacuation of New Orleans, a source within the state’s emergency operations center said Saturday.
The administration sought unified control over all local police and state National Guard units reporting to the governor. Louisiana officials rejected the request after talks throughout the night, concerned that such a move would be comparable to a federal declaration of martial law. Some officials in the state suspected a political motive behind the request. “Quite frankly, if they’d been able to pull off taking it away from the locals, they then could have blamed everything on the locals,” said the source, who does not have the authority to speak publicly.
I thought a bit more about the lamestream media news coverage of Hurricane Katrina in connection with Eric Hansen’s fascinating review of a new film about the 1976 exorcism of Annelise Michel in Klingenberg, Germany: “What in God’s name?!” Below is a still from the film. Or is that Katie Couric doing her thing?
What I found most interesting about the review was the spirit of inquiry with which it approached the subject of possession (and of exorcism, for that matter). Like the lamestream media coverage of the hurricane and its aftermath, it’s enough to make you think there might be something to it.
UPDATE: Gregg Hanke writes:
I have links and information on the Katrina disaster timeline at my post here: “The (political) Dating Game.”
As I said in my post, “I swear, if President Bush had shown up like Moses, parted the waters and led the people to safety, the liberals would have sued him for violating the separation of church and state.”
Impacted Wisdom Truth