The Associated Press takes up the question whether the Gulf oil spill is the Obama administration’s Katrina and concludes that the administration has acquitted itself admirably. The AP headlines: Obama oil response: aggressive as crisis unfolded. The AP takes on the Katrina comparison directly:
Would there be a repeat of the bureaucratic bungling that marked President George W. Bush’s response to the hurricane?
While the Obama administration has faced second-guessing about the speed and effectiveness of some of its actions, a narrative pieced together by The Associated Press, based on documents, interviews and public statements, shows little resemblance to Katrina in either the characterization of the threat or the federal government’s response.
Two things about the AP story immediately jump out at the reader. First, it is based on interviews with administration sources. It accepts their narrative and repeats it uncritically. Second, despite describing the Obama administration’s response as “aggressive,” the AP does not detail a single action taken by the administration that did anything to effectively combat the spill. Yet this doesn’t seem to bother the AP; its analysis takes place entirely on a symbolic level.
Actually, if you pay attention to the dates, the AP documents, as many others have, the slow pace of the administration’s response to the spill. The Deepwater Horizon blew up on April 20, yet it wasn’t until April 28 that Barack Obama told his advisers that he wanted meaningful action taken to counteract the spill. By what standard, one wonders, is this an “aggressive” response?
Moreover, the AP is either ignorant of, or prefers not to mention, the key facts that we and others have publicized about this incident. As we have pointed out, responsible federal officials believed by April 21–the day after the oil rig exploded–that a major oil leak, on the order of 10,000 to 20,000 barrels per day, was likely if not inevitable. This is completely at odds with the AP’s comforting assurance that in the early days after the explosion, any resulting oil spill was believed to be minimal.
Further, the AP never mentions the most obvious failing of the federal response to the disaster–the fact that, despite a 1994 plan that said major oil spills in the Gulf would be fought with fire booms, when the Deepwater Horizon blew up the federal government did not have a single fire boom on hand. This is malfeasance of an extraordinary nature, and if a Republican administration were in the White House, every American would know about it by now. Yet the Associated Press and its fellows in the liberal media have successfully kept the lid on what should be a scandal of major proportions. This time it is the AP that says: Barry, you’re doing a heck of a job!