Saturday, October 27, 2007

A Solution to the Problem of Feisty Reporters

FEMA followed up its disastrous response to Katrina -- disastrous to the citizens of New Orleans and to the vanishing image of the Bush administration -- to holding a completely fake news conference in response to the California fires. It was fake in that there was insufficient time to alert news organizations as to their holding the news conference so they used their own employees as reporters. Not surprisingly these "reporters" "asked questions many described as soft and gratuitous."

Even funnier than that a representative of Homeland Security said
"We have made it clear that stunts such as this will not be tolerated or repeated," Laura Keehner said, adding that the department was considering whether or not to reprimand those responsible.
So, they are considering whether or not to reprimand the persons responsible. I am wondering why they are not considering whether or not to fire those responsible for this violation of our fast eroding democratic values.

I am not sure whether or not it was common practice in the Soviet Union to hold press conferences like this one but it does sound like what they might have done. FEMA even made sure to provide the normal structure of a press conference by calling for a "last question" the report says. I'm quite sure the Soviets would have done the same thing. Appearances are as good as reality to some.

What is most puzzling about this is why FEMA just didn't provide a live TV feed of someone detailing their plans for dealing with this disaster in California and, in the process, announce that a press conference would be held in, say, two hours. This would have been reasonable given that they didn't have time to gather real reporters and it would have accomplished all of their goals -- providing information and, a bit later, making sure that reporters had an opportunity to grill them.

FEMA just can't seem to get anything right. To me, this is simply a sign that George Bush doesn't give a damn about the American people -- especially Black people, as his response to Katrina made quite clear. If he did, he wouldn't have appointed a crony for the job of heading up FEMA early on who was the father of the lack of a response to the Katrina disaster. And he would be replacing incompetents every time one raised his or her head.

Another sign that the administration has little regard for the American people is the abuse of the National Guard -- ostensibly citizen soldiers but actually not different than the active military in how they are treated. These people have families and civilian careers. They made the mistake of enlisting. People will not make that mistake in the future.

Still another sign that the Administration has no regard for the people is that, in the words of a BBC web news story
The US state department has said it may have to force some diplomats to work in Iraq to fill vacancies at the embassy in Baghdad.
So, the administration is now forcing people to work in a very dangerous environment. It is interesting that the BBC picked out the Orwellian feature of the language used to announce this action.
About 250 foreign service staff are to be told they are "prime candidates" for nearly 50 jobs, state department human resources director Harry Thomas said.
Who could resist being thought of as a "prime candidate." I suspect that the main criterion for being a prime canidate is stupidity.

If not enough volunteer (many carrots will be offered), some will be ordered to go. And if they refuse, they will be sent to the guillotine in the basement of the State Department and their heads will be lopped off. There will be no TV of this and so no need for fake reporters.

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Blogger Bilbo said...

This FEMA fiasco was indeed a real display of appalling stupidity. One hopes that at least one person somewhere in FEMA is actually studying what California is doing and trying to figure out how to apply it to conditions which might erupt in the wake of disasters elsewhere. I do take issue with you on your assertion that the Bush administration singles out black people for special neglect. I believe it appears so only because the news reporters tend to focus on them at times of trouble. The real issue is that the Bush administration and its hidebound conservative ideals and followers neglect anything that doesn't directly concern business interests and the very wealthy (in neither of which I am represented). As perhaps befits my age, I do have some conservative leanings, but I am horrified by the brutally incompetent government we have that views any type of consideration for the less fortunate as a betrayal of "fundamental conservative beliefs."

8:24 AM

Blogger The Language Guy said...

I take your point about Blacks and the Bush Administration. These neocons are business people period, taking the short form of the claim of Charles Wilson of General Motors and then the Secretary of Defense "What’s good for the country is good for General Motors, and vice versa," namely "what is good for business is good for the USA." However, Blacks always seem to get the worst shake, perhaps because they are the most vulnerable.

7:42 AM


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