Accuracy in Media

Soon after the Katrina hurricane, the media script was written: racist Republicans in the Bush administration were to blame. But now the facts and evidence are starting to seep out. The media, including Tim Russert of Meet the Press, have egg all over their faces.

On his terrible September 4 show, when he tried to find fault with the Bush administration alone for responding to the Katrina hurricane disaster, Russert permitted Jefferson Parish President Aaron Broussard to tearfully accuse the federal government of murder in the case of an employee’s mother’s death at St. Rita’s Nursing home. Broussard claimed the federal government refused to save her day after day after day. It was powerful television. But he was all wet.

The employee himself says that Broussard was wrong, that Broussard was confused about the day when the mother died. What’s more, it wasn’t the fault of the federal government. It was the fault of local officials and the nursing home owners, who have been indicted for failing to get the people out.  On his September 25 show, Russert meekly tried to get Broussard to correct the record. He refused, saying that his critics were evil people.

Broussard is a blowhard, just like the windbags in the media, who can’t accept the facts. Now, the environmentalists are desperate to avoid being held accountable for their role in making the flooding of New Orleans possible.  But the idea of holding the environmentalists accountable frightens their allies in the press.

Washington Post reporter Dan Eggen wrote a September 17 story about how a Senate committee headed by Senator James Inhofe had asked the Justice Department to provide information about legal challenges to New Orleans levee projects by environmental groups, “prompting accusations that Republicans are seeking to blame environmentalists for the damage wrought by Hurricane Katrina.”

Isn’t that an interesting way to frame a story? When congress tries to investigate why the levees collapsed and whether lawsuits by radical environmentalists played a role, this is depicted as an alarming probe that provokes “accusations” that Republicans are trying to blame others. Whatever happened to finding the facts? Or are they disturbing to those who have already found the Republicans guilty of malfeasance?

A Los Angeles Time story by Ralph Vartabedian and Peter Pae had the facts that Eggen neglected to dig up. “In the wake of Hurricane Betsy 40 years ago, Congress approved a massive hurricane barrier to protect New Orleans from storm surges that could inundate the city,” they reported. “But the project, signed into law by President Johnson, was derailed in 1977 by an environmental lawsuit.”

Most papers, like the Post, are reluctant to go into this aspect of the catastrophe.

In one case, however, a reader has sent an angry letter to the editor. Ronald John Lofaro wrote in the Mobile (Alabama) Register on September 17:

“Of course we know that the ‘hate Bush’ crowd, including the ‘Mainstream Media,’ are pushing the screed that New Orleans’ disaster was all his fault, but the reality is this, and all that follows is a matter of published articles and public records. One wonders why or how the watchdog mainstream media ‘overlooked’ it?”

He went on, “It would seem that environmental activists were responsible for spiking a plan that may have saved New Orleans. Almost 30 years ago, the ‘green left,’ pursuing its agenda of valuing wetlands and topographical ‘diversity’ over human life, sued to prevent the Army Corps of Engineers from building floodgates that would have prevented much of the flooding that resulted from Hurricane Katrina.”

The letter went into detail about this proposed project and concluded: “Despite its rhetoric, the environmental left’s true legacy will be on display in New Orleans for years to come.”

Like Senator Inhofe, who is being targeted by the press for trying to hold the environmentalists accountable, Rep. Joe Barton, chairman of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce, is under media attack for simply requesting information about whether some federally funded studies promoting the man-made global warming theory have been compromised by flaws and data errors. He is being accused in the press of McCarthyism for trying to find out if the studies are bogus. What are the media afraid of? Perhaps they have a vested interest in the global warming theory.

In these very important cases, we have seen that the major media want us to have less, not more, information. They don’t want Congress to upset their pet causes.

This is an important lesson in understanding media bias. The media like to claim they investigate and expose “special interests.” But when the special interests are in the environmental movement, they can depend on the media to be their puppets and mouthpieces.




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