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The trickle-up philosophy of blame: start with the victims...

Reported by Chrish - September 5, 2005

On Special Report's Grapevine segment today 9/05/05, Brit Hume read that the New Orleans newspaper, The Times-Picayune, said that every official at FEMA should be fired and that the "feeble response" and the horrific aftermath was "ultimately the president's failure." "But" continues Hume, "the paper has nothing but praise for the performance of New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin, finding no fault with his failure to enforce the mandatory evacuation order he issued last Sunday. That order was issued only after the Director of the National Hurricane Center called Nagin at home on Saturday night, and after Bush pleaded with the mayor the next day to evacuate New Orleans in a mandatory way. Some people wouldn't leave no matter what, including"... and he describes an individual who falls far outside the Fox mainstream.

Comment: I watched it live, and Mayor Nagin was composed and serious when he ordered the evacuation, and contrary to what Fox has been repeating, city buses were being made available at no charge. From one report:
"One of the few moments of visible agitation was before the storm hit, when Nagin was trying to hustle as many residents as possible out of town. His warnings were dire and apocalyptic and, observers say, effective: 80 percent of the city evacuated."

I watched on CNN as officers went door-to-door and even threatened to come back and cuff and forcibly remove residents if they were still there on the second round. They put their own safety second to their efforts to evacuate the city and it is shameful to fault them for those who would not leave.

Hume then quotes Senator Mary Landrieu, who says she might likely have to punch Bush if he criticizes the local response, and Jefferson Parish president Aaron Broussard says FEMA officials at the top of the totem pole need to be chainsawed off.

Hume cites a poll (sample size 501) that finds people think officials at all levels should share the blame: 67% think state and local officials were not prepared, and 75% think the federal government was not prepared. Hume transposed those numbers verbally while the figures appeared on the screen, so someone not watching (and rewinding) would have heard that more people thought the state/local governments were at fault. He also cited that 55% think Bush is not responsible for the slow federal response.

Question: What IS Bush responsible for? Is Bush responsible for his own slow response, or does he get to lay blame on his handlers? If so, will any of them be fired? Don't forget what a big deal was made of Bush cutting his vacation "short" as all hell was breaking loose in NOLA.

To further dilute and divert the blame, Hume attacks the New York Times again, first citing a 9/02/05 editorial that asks "why N.O. levees remained so inadequate...Why was Congress, before it wandered off to vacation, engaged in slashing the budget for correcting some of the gaping holes in the area's flood protection?" Hume opines that the answer may be that they were reading old Times editorials, and then cites a twelve-year-old editorial that said Washington DC should resist pressure to spend more on flood-control projects, and in 1997 they praised moderate Republicans for protecting the environment by blocking flood-control spending, and in April of this year the Times ripped a Senate bill that would have injected $17 billion into flood control measures, including what the Times called a $2.7 billion boondoggle on the Mississippi River, saying that bill was bad legislation.

Comment: This shows how low Hume has sunk and how desperate the Fox/WH has become. There is no legitimate comparison being made, just phrases taken out of context to smear a "liberal" (ha) newspaper and take heat off of this administration for its callous and uninformed gutting of funding that affects thousands of real people's lives.

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