March 2, 2006

WE’RE BACK TO HEARING ABOUT KATRINA, which is a pretty good sign the media is trying to gin up another anti-Bush swarm (“While the information in the video has been public for months, and was the subject of hearings and reports by Congress and the White House, the footage is giving new life to charges that the administration was detached and unresponsive in the face of one of the nation’s worst natural disasters.” In other words, there’s no news here, but we hope it’ll have traction anyway.) Patterico says that the Los Angeles Times is dishonestly portraying the video’s contents, but if you get to the second page of the LAT story you find a bit of a dig at the AP for selective editing:

The AP video does not include footage of Chertoff asking Brown whether he needs any other help or of Chertoff asking whether Brown wants him to approach the Department of Defense. Transcripts show that to both questions, Brown indicated that no additional assistance was needed.

In the transcript of a briefing the following day, Aug. 29, Brown is quoted as saying that Bush “is very engaged, and he’s asking a lot of really good questions I would expect him to ask.”

That Aug. 29 transcript showed that hours after the hurricane hit, federal and state officials remained optimistic about handling the disaster and were unaware that the levees in New Orleans were failing.

Katrina taught the media that if they all swarmed Bush at once they could do harm even if — as turned out to be the case — much of what they reported was outright false. I’ve noticed a lot more of that since. The Bush Administration is quite capable of making its own trouble with PR — see the ports issue, for example — but it’s also quite clear that the media is doing this sort of thing for entirely partisan reasons.

UPDATE: For some history here, it’s worth revisiting this post. And this one. Also a reader sends this useful point:

I have to admit, it had me spun up for about a half an hour, too. What did Bush know? When did he know it? Then I stopped and remembered… wait a minute! Didn’t we already know that Bush knew about the potential of the hurricane in advance, because he made calls to Mayor Nagin asking him to make the evacuation call?

Where is the actual news, here?

The news is that the port-deal publicity is dying down, Iraq’s not in a civil war, and we need something to fill the headlines with anti-Bush stuff.

UPDATE: Wizbang notes a Rathergate connection.

ANOTHER UPDATE: Gateway Pundit has more on what people knew when.

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