Tuesday, September 20, 2005

LA Times's ' Alice In Wonderland' Coverage of Ray Nagin... Continues!

On Monday's post I gave examples of quotes from New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin that the LA Times would not - so far - print. Well, they finally did, more-or-less, print one of these quotes... kinda... sorta... well... see for yourself.

First the New York Times and AP quotes:

Noting that Admiral Allen had urged residents not to return, the mayor said: "The admiral's a good man. I respect him. But when he starts talking to the citizens of New Orleans, that's kind of out of his lane. There's only one mayor of New Orleans and I'm it.


... a clearly agitated Nagin snapped that Allen had apparently made himself "the new crowned federal mayor of New Orleans."

And this is how the LA Times reported the same story:

While calling Allen "a good man," Nagin said that he was attempting to repopulate only the safest portions of the city; he reminded Allen on Monday that "there is only one mayor of New Orleans."

Now there's selective editing and there's total fabrication. This is clearly somewhere in the middle, but the LAT story also clearly misrepresents the emotional state of the Mayor .

And now here's tomorrow's LAT story on the subject with a headline of:

This time, local, state and federal authorities are working together, and emergency food, water and evacuation are planned.

Well, again, this is kinda... sorta of.... almost true, other than the fact it's total BS beyond getting ready for just this week's storm. And even that took a direct presidential order to get him to do that. Finally, Nagin's grip on reality is shown in the below New York Times story that shows the NYT - finally - realizes this guy is... nuts:

The mayor, asked whether the city could allow residents to safely return at a point in the near future, knowing that hurricane seasons does not end until Nov. 30, said the city would resume its phased in re-entries in some form after the threat from the new storm had passed.

OK, so now we have a city with almost no clean water, limited power, no 911 service, pockets of deadly water, no sewers, no sanitation, almost no medical services and levees that could easily breech and flood the city in even a moderate rainstorm - much less a tropical storm or a hurricane - and still Ray Nagin wants to bring people back - two months before the end of hurricane season, as soon as this week's hurricane passes.

And the LA Times calls this... working together?

Can anyone now not understand how everything fell apart in the evacuation of New Orleans? Or why no plans had been made to evacuate the poor? Or why there was no effort to bring food and water to the evacuation shelters? This guy lives on his own personal Fantasy Island.

I just hope some reporter gets their hands on the WWL-TV interview done on Sunday before the storm and reports what Nagin said as the storm headed straight at New Orleans. Maybe that will wake up the LA Times. Or, failing that, a LAT reporter might pick-up tomorrow's NYT and read more about Ray Nagin's record:

Mr. Nagin did not get everyone out, did not fire up the school buses for evacuees, did not have enough food or water for them in the Superdome or the convention center, did not protect people adequately and let the looters loot so he could make rescues the priority.

He had to answer for flying to Dallas the second weekend after Hurricane Katrina to visit his evacuated family and for meeting there with white businessmen from New Orleans. This infuriated many of the city's black lawmakers and businessmen, worried about being left out of the rebuilding loop, despite Mr. Nagin's assurances to the contrary.

UPDATE! Good News - Bad News!


First the bad news; the LA Times Editorial Page still ignores Ray Nagin's behavior and only mentions that he was ' too early' in allowing peole back into the city. The problem here is that his rush to fill up the city is endangering people's lives, and unless the media strongly points this out, he is going to put hundreds of thousands of lives at risk.

The much larger good news is that the above editorial has a lot of sound, well reasoned arguments whether one agrees with all of them or not.



Also in today's LAT Katrina story I briefly quoted from above:

Although Rita is expected to strike in Texas and may have little effect on New Orleans, it appeared Tuesday that the local, state and federal authorities here were well-prepared. Leaders of the Katrina reconstruction effort, however, would not discuss what happened in the days leading up to and following that storm.

Well, just because they will not discuss how the Mayor went nuts when everyone else on this planet told him it was NOT a good idea to lure hundreds of thousands of people into a potential deathtrap - that doesn't mean the media should not discuss it. Remember, he still said he wants to repopulate the city as soon as this single hurricane passes. And it will only be time to move ahead from this issue when Nagin agrees to stop endangering people's live unnecessarily.

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