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Misleading graphics on Big Story about federal cuts in Homeland Security funding

Reported by Chrish - June 1, 2006

Jane Skinner did a segment yesterday 5/31/06 on The Big Story about possible cuts in funding to US cities for disaster preparedness. Eleven cities which are currently identified as potential targets will likely lose that designation in 2007, through criteria that remains unknown. The Department of Homeland Security has less money this year and they have to spread it out.

Gibson frequently rails at people whom he thinks have forgotten or gotten over 9/11 - can we expect his next balst o' bombast to be directed at the DHS or the Bush budget priorities?

Sixteen cities currently receive the bulk of anti-terrorism dollars. Eleven of those fifteen are slated to lose federal funds in fiscal 2007. Those eleven were identified here:

ssMapcitiesindanger1.jpg

Does this graphic convey that these cities are being removed from the highest risk pool? Au contraire, a casual glance would imply that they will be recipients as they are "in danger." This graphic was shown twice. Another graphic, titled "High Risk Cities", showed a list without a map that named the cities that would retain funding. Soon after that, another graphic with map entitled "High Risk Cities" pinpointed three other cities.

The segment, featuring Oklahoma City Mayor Mick Cornett, was a fairly clear interview but the graphics were very confusing and ominous. The overall impression conveyed was that of danger! Risk! Terror! ("Oklahoma City is an example that nobody is safe." Cornett) With an election coming up, Republicans polling poorly, and the color-coded terror chart discarded, FOX came up with a new graphic to help strike fear into voters.

An over-arching theme of the interview was that cities must and should look to state and local governments for funding of anti-terror and emergency preparedness needs. ("...reducing federal spending, which is a good thing..." Cornett, and "...federal money is supposed to be for extraordinary circumstances. ..and urban areas...should be looking to state and local sources." Skinner paraphrasing one DHS official.)

Jane Skinner closed the segment saying "Michael Chertoff has said, 'you know what, there's not a lot of money to go around. We can't do everything for everybody, so, not everybody is going to be happy. There are tough choices to be made.'"

Comment: Nobody expects Michael Chertoff and the Dept. of Homeland Security to make us happy but we do expect to be kept safe. Equal protection ring a bell? Where's all our money going? (Halliburton) The "ounce of prevention" theory that justifies the so-called Bush Doctrine of pre-emptive war is being applied selectively and unfairly.

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