Remember how, during Hurricane Katrina, FEMA chief Mike Brown was ridiculed for not knowing about the plight of those gathered at the New Orleans Convention Center until he belatedly heard about it from the MSM? This column by Mona Charen suggests that FEMA might have done better had it never tuned the MSM in. Charen notes that FEMA eventually showed up at the Convention Center with a refrigerated 18-wheeler and three doctors to process bodies. Based on MSM reports, they reportedly were expecting scores of victims. In fact, only six had died — one of a drug overdose, one of a suicide, and four of natural causes. According to Charen, the New Orleans police chief later conceded that badly needed resources like police and rescue workers were diverted to deal with emergencies that proved nonexistent.
Charen shows that the MSM got Hurricane Katrina wrong in nearly every respect. Its initial reports on the death count were off by a factor of about ten. Its suggestion that poor African-Americans suffered a disproportionate number of deaths appears to have been false. Its claim (and President Clinton’s) that poor people died because they lacked the means to escape the city is contradicted by evidence that most of those who died either owned a car or were offered a ride out. And so on.
2004 was a bad year for the MSM. Its efforts to malign and blind-side the Bush administration not only failed but sometimes back-fired. In 2005, the MSM attempted to exact its revenge and never more, it seems to me, than during Katrina. At year’s end, the MSM appears to have succeeded in injuring Bush, though probably not severely. But it has also injured itself, and that injury is likely to be longer lasting.