The severe ice storm that has crippled parts of the midwest and devastated Kentucky is getting a little more attention from the press than it has since last Tuesday, when the storm hit. This is the Monday after.
Time Magazine writes a professional-sounding piece that is completely devoid of emotion, mentions President Obama exactly once (in passive voice) and never ever strays into unfair wonderings such as “why isn’t more being done,” or “where is the President, why isn’t he present here,” or “how can the president stay warm, eat steak and watch football when scores have died, half a million remain cold and helpless, without power, water, heat and sometimes without food?” No one is asking why there are no pictures of bodies for the press to print. Wolf Blitzer, who famously (and terribly) cried of the Katrina displaced, “they are so poor, and so black,” is not standing in teeth-chattering frost declaring, “these people are so cold, and so white…”
That would also be a terrible thing to say, and I think playing the racism card is stupid, but the point is, when Katrina hit, the press pulled out every stop they possibly could – including the racism canard – to identify that disaster with a “Bush epic fail.” They ignored his early pleadings to Ray Nagin and Kathleen Blanco to evacuate. They ignored his declaring NOLA and surrounding areas as Disaster Areas even before Katrina hit, so the fed could immediately get to work. They ignored the proper jurisdiction of emergencies (local, then state, then fed) and the extreme incompetence of the Louisiana leadership and made Katrina all about “what Bush did or didn’t do.” By contrast, the press seems to be going out of its way to insure that Obama is not associated with this week-long drama at all.
We’ve heard that “Bush ate cake”, while people suffered. (Obama ate steak and watched the Super Bowl). Bush did not quickly enough go to the disaster area to survey it and hug people and cry. (Obama – like the derided Bush – is wisely staying away so as not to impede relief efforts, but he remains un-derided). Bush dared to praise FEMA, even though FEMA was late because flood conditions and Gov. Blanco prevented them from doing much at first. Obama…hasn’t said much of anything. But he DID call the Gov. of Kentucky last Wednesday, and that Governor, Democrat Steve Beshear, apparently found the phone call heartening enough to continue.
And that’s basically all the press has had to say about President Obama. He “called the Governor on Wednesday.”
And, in one sense, that’s what the president does. He calls the Governor, gives the pep talk. If the disaster is not obviously costing more than 45 million dollars, then he waits until it reaches that point and then declares the place a disaster area so that federal funds may be released. If the disaster can be aided by naval vessels, or military choppers he sends them. The president stays out of the way of the first responders, and then – usually 3 or 4 days into an event – views the damage. If possible, he gets on the ground and meets the people and shows himself to be present to them and to the situation.
President Obama has not done that. 7 days into the mess, he has not asked Americans to donate to the Red Cross or other disaster-relief agencies. He has not flown over the area to see the extent of the disaster. He has not gotten onto the ground to meet with anyone. This is the first thing that Obama can rightly be criticized for – he should now, finally, make an appearance. The rest of it, the steak-eating, the cocktails, the ballgame – it is brought up only to illustrate the difference between what was unreasonably demanded of one president, and what is (reasonably) excused in another.
The “where’s Bush” press should be called on this; on the double-standards, the manipulative and self-indulgent emotionalism and dishonest Bush-bashing that demanded miracles from a man who had done all he could in the situation, and asks nothing at all of President Obama. If there is still an honest reporter, anywhere – in print or on television or radio – I’d like to see him or her encourage some self-examination of the press and their extreme and reprehensible behavior during Katrina. But I won’t hold my breath. After all, most members of the press think Katrina was “their finest hour.”
I guess if you think your job is to destroy a president, it was that, after all.
Undoubtedly, if Obama does finally put in an appearance in Kentucky and the other areas, the press will go overboard in its praise, will gush about his “compassionate” response and his wisdom and “laying low on this matter” until the first rescue efforts had subsided.
Meanwhile, approximately 500,000 people (all told) are still without power. People are cold. Some of them are getting hungry.There isn’t a lot of continuing coverage on this – an article here and there. I always thought that stories about hungry people, anywhere, were stories worth telling; we cannot help people we don’t know about. But coverage of hungry people in emergency situations is not as useful, I guess, as coverage of hungry people whose stories might help move a dubious stimulus legislation.
Do I sound cynical? I hate sounding cynical. But when it comes to the press, and what they will do for political expediency, yes, I am sadly cynical. I listened to President Obama’s inaugural speech, so I know that political expediency is wrong.
The Sargent Schultz press; Here is another example of how they know nothing and see nothing that reflects negatively on Obama.
Can’t wrap your head around those “stimulus bill” figures? Here is an illustration. More here, and here
The Peaceful Elections in Iraq are getting some coverage. I blame Bush and our troops. I missed it when Obama praised the UN.
A Kinder, Gentler Rendition: President Obama is preserving rendition. Actually he is expanding them. Someone – I forget who – in my morning reading explained that when Clinton (who developed the rendition policy) and Obama use rendition, it’s okay, because “they won’t support torture and I believe them!). Rendition under the previous administration was, of course, an unambiguous war crime. Yes, I’m rolling my eyes.
“Sobering Intelligence Briefs”: So, Matt Lauer is helping the nation to understand why presidents take actions some don’t always appreciate or understand. Or something.
“No longer are we allowed to keep our thoughts to ourselves, while being polite and kind”: When “Tolerance” becomes more than merely living and letting live, Peter Hitchens gets annoyed
From 1744 to today: The HMS Victory. Fascinating.
Volcanos, heat, and melting glaciers
Michael Totten: A report from The West Bank and Gaza
A liberal says thanks to George W. Bush.
A new site calling on calling!
Okay, that’s enough politics for the day. More than enough. Something a bit more spiritual will be up in a little bit. Here is something beautiful: Colors in snow garden by Ann Althouse.
WELCOME: Instapundit readers, and thanks for the link, Glenn. While you’re here, please look around. I’m going to be posting about ugly Catholic churches and beautiful nuns in a bit.