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Democrats Can't Handle the Truth

You know, I accept that the Dems will get on TV and spout nonsense to appeal to the base. And I even accept that a minority of them [Kennedy, Shumer] will say it long enough that they start to believe it... But at some point as a citizen, I have to believe these people really do try to do their best.... I guess I was wrong.

They can't even figure out the obvious when it is handed to them on a silver platter.

Chertoff Draws Fire on Briefing

WASHINGTON, Sept. 7 - Michael Chertoff, the homeland security secretary who has been the Bush administration's point man in fielding criticism of the hurricane relief effort, came under fire Wednesday from some Congressional Democrats for private remarks about the conditions faced by storm survivors that struck the lawmakers as insensitive.

Thousands of people waited Friday for buses to take them away from the Superdome. Conditions at the stadium became a point of contention between Democrats and federal officials.

The new criticism was set off by a private and sometimes contentious briefing that Mr. Chertoff and other senior administration officials gave to House members on Tuesday night on the status of relief efforts.

Exactly what was said at the closed-door briefing remained in some dispute Wednesday.

Administration officials and Democrats at the briefing agreed that Mr. Chertoff and other speakers emphasized that news images showing horrendous conditions for evacuees in shelters did not reflect the totality of the federal government's response.

But administration officials said several remarks that House members attributed to Mr. Chertoff were in fact made by other officials.

For instance, one administration official who was at the briefing said it was Lt. Gen. H. Steven Blum, chief of the National Guard Bureau at the Pentagon, not Mr. Chertoff, who told House members that television images of sparse relief efforts for evacuees sheltered at the Superdome offered "a small soda-straw view of what was going on."

Still, much of the Democrats' criticism was directed at Mr. Chertoff himself.

Representative Bennie Thompson of Mississippi, the ranking Democrat on the Homeland Security Committee, said the message he took from Mr. Chertoff's comments regarding the relief effort was that "what you see is not really what is."

"People just looked at him," Mr. Thompson said. "He was the first speaker, and it sort of went downhill after that. People felt we are not going to get the truth here."

A few Democrats were so upset by the tone of Mr. Chertoff's remarks that they walked out of the briefing, said Representative Elijah Cummings, Democrat of Maryland, who said he stayed for all of the remarks but became increasingly frustrated by what he heard.

"The picture was being painted that things were not as bad as they appeared to be" in news reports, Mr. Cummings said in an interview. "It reached the point where the answers didn't add up."

Of course the answers don't add up if don't have the mental brainpower to figure out that 1 building does not represent a whole region. The greater New Orleans area is about 12 miles high by 30 miles wide. CNN et al spent 3 days with their cameras focused on one building. Of course it represented a "soda straw view."

Thru this event, I've become "email friends" with one of the CNN producers. I've probably spent an hour on he phone with her. I BEGGED her for news about other parts of the city. Metairie has a half a million people in it and is about the same geographic size of New Orleans*... I was trapped in a hotel room for 4 DAYS and only heard the word Metairie ONCE on the national news and that was in passing. I had no idea if we were underwater or not. The (damn) national media just would not talk about anything but the Superdome.

Those of us who live there have gone nuts over this.

I can find a away to be annoyed at almost every government agency involved in this... I'm hardly cutting FEMA any slack. But there is a whole big city out there that the media did not cover. If the briefing was about the totality of the effort then at least listen to the man and don't walk out.

Apparently people who managed to get themselves elected to a federal office can't understand that cable news coverage might not show the whole picture.

Amazing.

Even in my most cynical moments I gave the dems more credit than this. Guess I was wrong.

* And for you locals, I lumped Kenner and Metairie into this which is obviously not quite accurate but close enough from the national/international point of view. But I still don't think I've heard the word Kenner on the national media at all. To the big media, Jefferson Parish didn't exist until they started lining people up on Vets highway.


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Comments (26)

Actually, I thought all the... (Below threshold)
DaveD:

Actually, I thought all the Dems' ranting was just another way of them saying thank God this didn't happen when one of our own was in the White House.

Paul,I can't imagi... (Below threshold)

Paul,

I can't imagine what you and fellow LA residents went through, but it's beyond farce to see the media reporting from NOLA - essentially from the same street, repeating the same essential script and unable to see beyond where they were staying.

More than a week after the hurricane hit, Catie Couric has discovered Biloxi, MS on the Today show. I give Robin Roberts and ABC some credit for being in Gulfport, and that's where her family was from - and those reports are few and far between.

The national media was fixated on NOLA and there's nothing that would change their mind. Not even the fact that much of MS witnessed a storm surge that travelled more than 2 miles inland and wrecked everything as far as the eye could see. How do we know this? Because there are some local media outlets reporting, the bloggers are pulling out those local reports, and the military has been doing overflights.

Yet, we should not have expected anything other than what we've seen. It's the same kind of straw view that we see in Iraq. Reporters filing stories from Baghdad hotels instead of out in the field - not getting the full picture, etc.

The party of doom and gloom... (Below threshold)
moseby:

The party of doom and gloom. They bring out the worst in everything. That's why they have Eeyore as their party symbol...

WHOCARES. DON'T YOU UNDERST... (Below threshold)

WHOCARES. DON'T YOU UNDERSTAND ANYTHING ABOUT WHAT PAUL HAS GONE THROUGH?

Paul was one of those displaced by the hurricane. Who cares? PAUL CARES. The reason he is so pissed off is that his area wasn't even COVERED BY THE MEDIA. Where did it focus? New Orleans. NOT Mississipi (which had the eyewall hit), NOT Alabama (about the same affected area as Louisiana), and NOT other parts of Louisiana (unless those people had to take New Orleans refugees).

For some fucking reason, we're getting a very narrow view of the entire disaster. maybe 1-5% of the entire affected area is being covered....

I apologize for my profanit... (Below threshold)

I apologize for my profanity in the previous comment.

whocares that you're an idi... (Below threshold)
Jon:

whocares that you're an idiot really...

people died because of a horrific storm, the ineptidue of both parties of our politcos not-withstanding...

Paul,I'm very sorr... (Below threshold)
kevino:

Paul,

I'm very sorry about what happened to your city. Like you, I know that many people should be praised for what they did and others should be criticized for their actions. As in war, the real heroes and villains will never be recognized.

Now, that having been said, the story about what went on at the Superdome and the Convention Center are critical to telling the story of the emergency response. Yes, it doesn't represent the entire city, but those locations are places that citizens were told to go. If supplies are available anywhere, they needed to be sent there first, and there was clearly a breakdown. Tens of thousands of American citizens suffered in conditions resembling the Fifth Circle of Hell because local, state, and federal agencies screwed up. The failure there was huge.

The story should have been placed in the proper context. These were shelters of last resort. Many are very poor people who don't have resources to get away or back up supplies. Many, let's face it, don't always make good decisions. However, Government has a job to do, and it didn't get done: the safety net broke.

We need to do a better job of handling an urban crisis. I was very angry for about a day and a half watching people at the Convention Center who didn't see any law enforcement except an NOPD cop cruising by once in a great while, and people who didn't appear to get any water, food, or medical care. Eventually, the US military sent supplies by helicopter. The response, when it eventually came, was very good.

Why did it take so long?

We saw on TV lots of evidence at the Convention Center of supplies coming in and troops on the ground on Thursday. Comparing that with a day or two earlier gives me an idea about the speed of the response by all levels of government. Clearly the Convention Center and the Superdome must be high-priority locations.

If it is true that the government was doing well but not at the Convention Center and the Superdome, then we didn't get a clear picture of the emergency relief effort, but it is also true that the government has some pretty messed-up priorities.

whocares -In all s... (Below threshold)
jim:

whocares -

In all seriousness, could you repost your remarks/complaints a little more coherently? What $ do you think Bush denied? How was the money they got spent? Was the levee that failed one that had not been upgraded due to denied $?

Do you think Bush should have declared the State of LA in rebellion so as to bypass the State and local governments in an effort to get aid there faster? If he had done so, what would Democrats be saying now? Do you think Bush should have broken federal laws of posse comitatus (sp?) to make the US Armed Forces act unlawfully? Do you think MSM spent all the days pre-9/6 attacking anyone other than Republicans or federal agencies?

Work with us here, please!

Oh, by the way, I should ha... (Below threshold)
kevino:

Oh, by the way, I should have also said for the record: one of my best friends family are in Metairie, and so are some of my daughter-in-law's family. Thank God they are safe.

Some of my daughter-in-law's family have moved Shreveport, LA and Mississippi. We don't know, but it appears that one of them didn't make it.

Good luck, Paul.

>I can't believe in light o... (Below threshold)
Paul:

>I can't believe in light of all of this, you still cling to the need to belittle the loss of life so you can say that dems are lonny for caring for the dead and why they died.

Look you moron, I never belittled any deaths. No, the Dems are loony becasue they can't get past images of the Superdome (where by and large people were safe) becasue that is what they saw on TV.

How does anyone as stupid as you remember to breathe?

=================

kevino

I don't disagree... But remember this was briefing to top federal officials about what the feds were doing on the ground.

The damage area was the size of Great Brittin and the media was focused on 1 building.

Certainly you understand that if they are being briefed on what the fed response was, there was more to talk about than 1 building.

If you don't then I guess I really can't help you.

Paul,Yeah, I know ... (Below threshold)
kevino:

Paul,

Yeah, I know what you mean. The Federal response should have involved more than that one building (or two buildings). I don't think that ANY branches of government planned or executed well. Once the MSM focused on the failures at that building, I'm sure that the Feds spent a lot of time trying to spin the situation.

Look at Mississippi. Our family is trying to get word about what is going on, and there is very little on the MSM about Mississippi, even though they took a direct hit. There were some reports on the coast itself, but that's about it. It took several days to find out which houses are gone, which roads are OK, and what everyone is going to do next.

whocares' version of "carin... (Below threshold)
Sue Dohnim:

whocares' version of "caring":

A woman and her small child are stranded beside the road because her car broke down.

whocares drives by, sees the woman and stops.

Woman: Please help me. My car broke down and...

whocares: BUSH! It was ALL BUSH'S FAULT that your car broke down! HE didn't give you enough money to keep it in good repair!

Woman: Well no... but...

whocares: AND NOW THIS HORRIBLE TRAGEDY HAS BEFALLEN YOU, YOU POOR POOR WOMAN! IT'S BECAUSE BUSH IS A SEXIST PIG AND DOESN'T CARE ABOUT THE PLIGHT OF WOMEN IN AMERICA!

Woman: Listen, it's hot and my little girl and I need...

whocares: YOU KNOW WHAT? I CARE! BUSH DOESN'T CARE, BUT I DO! WATCH HOW MUCH I CARE!

[whocares pulls out a cat-o'-nine-tails and begins whipping himself]

OHHHH THE PAIN! I FEEL YOUR PAIN! THIS IS HOW MUCH I CARE! I CARE SO MUCH I MUST SHARE YOUR PAIN!

Woman: Really, we just want...

whocares: Whew, that was cleansing. See ya!

Woman: BUT WAIT!!

[whocares zooms off into the distance]

Sue...a little bit harsh, b... (Below threshold)

Sue...a little bit harsh, but for some odd reason, I can see it happening.

Sue that was funny... mostl... (Below threshold)
Paul:

Sue that was funny... mostly becasue it was true.

But if you notice, whocares (aka joser) is no long with us.

Whocares/Kevino:You ... (Below threshold)
Moon Monkey:

Whocares/Kevino:
You guys simply don't get it and, although you don't need my sympathy, I do feel sorry for you.
Borrowing Gen. Honore's jibe, you''re both "stuck on stupid"! Neither of you is displaying a thought process that conveys any pre-consideration to your comments,consequently you remind me of the Black Knight in M. Python's "Holy Grail". I'm going to explain some of what the big guys know in a minute. But first let me say that when people carry on like you two,noone really respects your thinking and you only come off as a boor and lacking any respect.
Think about this:
1. We're all going to be dead for a long time,so don't get so serious about the crap that you are forcing yourself to swim in.
2. Only narrowminded,shortsighted people think that either major political party will be their ticket out of here. Grow up and sort out people based on performance over time. 'Just might surprise you.
3. When was the last time you "personally" helped someone in need? I'm not talking about helping through some slot in a can, I'm talking about one-on-one help? Be nice to someone in a special way.
4. Being angry is a choice,be your own man and make a better choice.

Hmmm."I can't imag... (Below threshold)
ed:

Hmmm.

"I can't imagine what you and fellow LA residents went through, but it's beyond farce to see the media reporting from NOLA - essentially from the same street, repeating the same essential script and unable to see beyond where they were staying."

Amazingly similar to how the media reports from Iraq isn't it?

I wonder if they'll teach this in college journalism classes.

Moon Monkey:You're... (Below threshold)
kevino:

Moon Monkey:

You're talking about things you know nothing about.

RE: "1. We're all going to be dead for a long time,so don't get so serious about the crap that you are forcing yourself to swim in."
Re-read what I wrote. My friends and family are on the ground in this situation. I'm not forcing myself to think about this. People that I know and care about are directly involved. We want to know where the storm surge ended up in Mississippi and what parts of Jefferson Parish are flooded because it affects decisions about who goes where. Secondly, this is our country. These are our citizens. Maybe you don't have pride in your country, but some of us care.

RE: "2. Only narrowminded,shortsighted people think that either major political party will be their ticket out of here. Grow up and sort out people based on performance over time. 'Just might surprise you."
I don't know where you get that crap, in terms of political parties, no one -- least of all me -- says that a political party is a "ticket out of here," unless it was a one-way ticket to Hell.

RE: "3. When was the last time you 'personally' helped someone in need?"
Here's where you really look stupid because you're talking about something (me) you know nothing about. When was the last time? Constantly -- at least one person, one-on-one -- for more than twenty-five years. Not as a profession: unpaid volunteer in my "free" time.

RE: "4. Being angry is a choice,be your own man and make a better choice."
The problems need to be fixed: too many people suffered for no good reason. Homeland Security is a joke. The MSM coverage was a joke.

KevinoYour thought p... (Below threshold)
Moon Monkey:

Kevino
Your thought process remains the same. Two hours ago you found fault with local,state and federal gov'ts.,then you shift responsibilities solely with the federal gov't! And you conclude your arguement by wrapping yourself in a flag. Get serious and learn how to communicate. I just know that you won't give up on this junk,but I do wish you would quit whinning and blaming. Enough already...over and out. Semper Fi.

Hear, hear! I wanted infor... (Below threshold)

Hear, hear! I wanted information on conditions in Mississippi, because we have friends with relatives there- but I couldn't find _anything_ except an occasional postscript to a long report on the conditions at the dome- basically, "Oh, yeah, and things are real bad in MS, too."

Moon Monkey:I comm... (Below threshold)
kevino:

Moon Monkey:

I communicate just fine: you don't seem to know how to read. As I have said in this forum and others: there is blame to spread around, but the Federal government (my previous employer) get a big share. The major problems in the long run need to be fixed there. The special problems in Lousiana will never be fixed, and it probably won't matter.

I also stand by my other statements: you're talking about things that you clearly don't know anything about.

Just to add to the few news... (Below threshold)
junior:

Just to add to the few news services that haven't completely ignored the other areas hit by the hurricane -
I happened to watch News Hour with Jim Lehrer last night, and they had a segment on the aftermath of the hurricane, and spent much of the segment outside of New Orleans. iirc, Biloxi was specifically shown, along with a few other areas that I don't recall off the top of my head. A good chunk of the segment was also focused on a particular church in one of the affected areas that had turned into a private distribution point for supplies.

All in all, I found it to be an informative segment with interesting pieces of information. Of course, this was News Hour, and not one of the better known non-PBS programs, so viewership isn't so high.

The main problem with the segment is that so large of an area was affected, and the segment is only so long. So the producers are forced to pick and choose what's going to go in. But that doesn't excuse networks that only focus on New Orleans.

But I still don't think ... (Below threshold)

But I still don't think I've heard the word Kenner on the national media at all.

FWIW, the day of the helicopter airlift from I-10, Fox News did mention a time or two that the airport, to which the evacuees were being airlifted, is in Kenner.

Which certainly gave the false impression there wasn't anything wrong in Kenner since they were taking people there...

Now here's one Red & Blue c... (Below threshold)
GoMommyGo:

Now here's one Red & Blue can both agree on. It's absolutely pathetic that with so many 24/7 news channels, they can't cover more than 3 stories in a day which they replay over and over. It seems even if they spent 1 hour on each state affected, they'd still have plenty of time to rehash evidence of missing blondes.

I think all of this critici... (Below threshold)
Chris:

I think all of this criticism of the media coverage is a little misguided. The press covered New Orleans the most because a) that's the place most people around the country had heard of and b) that's where most of the survivors were trapped. The networks will always cover the human story. A Superdome full of refugees is more compelling than acres of destroyed houses, as painful as the destroyed houses are to so many people. People are always complaining about the media not covering stories that are important to them, from Little League parents to storm victims. I am in no way minimizing the concerns of Paul or anyone else affected. I just think we're talking about the reality of the news business. They didn't change things just for this storm.

I also think the parallel with Iraq is a fair one, but it's not as condemning as others see it. Reporters aren't soldiers; yes, we want them to go get the story, but they are required to go in harm's way only so much. If a reporter feels that his life is in danger by roaming around the Iraqi countryside, then yes, he's going to stay in Baghdad. If the streets of New Orleans are underwater and rescue crews can't navigate the city, then no, you won't see reporters fanning out in every parish.

And for what it's worth, I saw plenty of coverage of Mississippi. The smashed casinos and swath of destruction were well documented. But you didn't have tens of thousands of people in constant danger, so it didn't get as much coverage. That's not where the story was, despite it's importance to a segment of the population.

Hmmmm.This is inte... (Below threshold)
ed:

Hmmmm.

This is interesting. Brit Hume's show was just on and they discussed briefly that:

1. There were about 300-400 LA National Guard troops in the Superdome, but that they were completely overwhelmed.

2. People were told to bring food and water when evacuating to the Superdome, but didn't do so. Probably didn't have time to assemble a package of food and water once the flood water started coming in.

3. That the City of New Orlean's evacuation plan was completely buggered and that all of the city's busses were either not used or out of commmission.

4. That FEMA had to find 1,100 busses to evacuate the people in the Superdome and Convention Center. Man that's got to suck. Imagine having to find 1,100 busses and get them over damaged roads and bridges to a drowned city.

...

Frankly as terrible as the Superdome and Convention Center were, they're really not a good yardstick. You might think that FEMA's only concern should have been those people, but that's an extremely short-sighted viewpoint.

There were about 50,000 people total in both the Superdome and the Convention Center. And let's face some serious facts here. Unless these people were elderly, invalid, ill or had very small children, they could have walked out any time they chose. They could have either walked out of the city, or simply walked to higher, and drier, ground.

Now contrast 50,000 people with the total number of affected, homeless and/or injured people in the three affected states who were NOT in New Orleans.

Which number is bigger? I'd suggest the latter is far larger than the former.

The Lt. Governer of Mississ... (Below threshold)
Darby:

The Lt. Governer of Mississipi was on the Sean Hannity show (radio version) last week. There are complete towns that are gone... I don't mean destroyed. I mean gone, as in there is nothing there. Nothing there at all. Wiped completely off the face of the earth. New Orleans has been the focal point in the media, but the size and scope of this storm and the havok she has loosed upon our country is a lot greater than the average person realizes.

My prayers go out to all those who have lost everything.




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