September 04, 2005
Faked Photo-Ops for Dubya?

In my first post, I wondered if my new blog would gradually turn political, as many blogs seem to do. Today I may get started in that direction, because I'd like to call attention to something that, so far, only seems to have turned up in the German media. Reports from the German TV news shows tagesschau and heute suggest that relief operations in Biloxi, MIssissippi in the aftermath hurricane Katrina were faked in order to provide photo opportunities for George W. Bush, who was touring the area with media in tow.

According to the reports, relief workers who had been desperately needed for days suddenly showed up on the route of Dubya's tour just before his arrival, and only at the places where he appeared before the press. Bulldozers cleared up debris and dead bodies were removed, the press got their pictures, and then when the president left, the relief resources went away too. The tagesschau reporter said that none of the work was necessary at the location where it was being done, because nobody lives there -- the people who really needed help were further into the city. She that the staged media events were at least as shocking to her as any of the destruction and suffering she had seen in the area.

According to a statement by Louisiana Senator Mary Landrieu, the same thing was apparently done for levee repairs near New Orleans. When she toured the site with Bush, it appeared to her that significant work was being done, but the next day she discovered that nearly all of the people and equipment that she had seen there were gone.

If this is true, it really puts me at a loss for words. You couldn't make this stuff up; I cannot imagine a more tragically comical display of superficiality and incompetence in the face of a crisis. What the US federal government and Dubya in particular are doing right now may go down in history as the most boneheaded response to a deadly disaster we have ever known. What kind of moral and intellectual ingrates would fake rescue work to make the president look good, rather than get real work done for the people who need it?

And why do the media go along with this kinda crap? To be sure, some reporters have been unusally blunt about the government's failures in the aftermath of Katrina -- I happened to be watching CNN when Anderson Cooper lashed out at Senator Landrieu. And it's about time, after the press rolled over and played dead for Bush in the run-up to the Iraq War. But the only news I've seen of faked photo-ops have come either from the German media or the Senator's statement. Have the American media already given up their newly-found backbone? Why would they allow themselves to be played for fools? Why would they be accomplices to such a farce?

1 comment:

Speaking as someone living in the US, I have not heard of this particular case, but there are rumors of this kind of thing happening all the time. It doesn't surprise me a bit to hear this one. I guess I've just learned not to take news reports too seriously, especially about or president.
cameron - September 09, 2005-15:27
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