Open Mind

Stunned

October 27, 2007 · 10 Comments

I’m stunned.

I usually only post about issues related to global warming. But I’m just so astounded by the latest news, I have to make an exception. I knew our government (by which I mean the executive branch of the federal government) was disingenuous, but this takes the cake. The Associated Press reports that FEMA (the Federal Emergency Management Agency) actually staged a fake “press conference”, with FEMA employees playing the role of reporters.

WASHINGTON - The White House scolded the Federal Emergency Management Agency on Friday for staging a phony news conference about assistance to victims of wildfires in southern California.

The agency — much maligned for its sluggish response to Hurricane Katrina over two years ago — arranged to have FEMA employees play the part of independent reporters Tuesday and ask questions of Vice Adm. Harvey E. Johnson, the agency’s deputy director.

The questions were predictably soft and gratuitous.

The report goes on to report that White House press secretary Dana Perino said it was not appropriate that the questions were posed by agency staffers instead of reporters. FEMA was responsible for the “error in judgment,” she said, adding that the White House did not know about it beforehand and did not condone it. Clearly Bush wants us to think he’s not responsible. Isn’t he the captain of this ship? Doesn’t he set the tone for executive-branch policy? Doesn’t he appoint the leaders of this three-ring circus?

Perhaps the most troubling thing is the last line of the AP report:

[Homeland Security spokeswoman Laura] Keehner said senior leadership is considering whether a punishment is necessary.

Considering?

Categories: Global Warming

10 responses so far ↓

  • dhogaza // October 27, 2007 at 1:02 am

    Brownie, you’re not the only one who’s done a wonderful job at FEMA …

    This administration’s cynicism knows no bounds.

    Frontline had a piece on Cheney last week. I think you can watch it on the PBS site if you missed it.

    It requires a few vomit bags to make it through though.

  • Boris // October 27, 2007 at 2:34 am

    Jeff Gannon reports that the White House would never do anything like this.

  • nanny_govt_sucks // October 27, 2007 at 3:05 am

    I’m never suprised by how low politicians and bureaucrats can sink. Didn’t we learn our lessons from the 60’s and Viet Nam? From the Warren Commission? From Watergate? I’m only suprised that people still trust the government for seemingly everything.

  • aphriza // October 27, 2007 at 3:09 am

    sounds sleazy to me - though I admit I don’t totally get it. If it was a fake press conference, and there weren’t any real reporters there, then how does this affect the public at large? Or perhaps there were some reporters sprinkled in who weren’t in on the charade?

    As for the White House’s frequent distribution of staged news clips that low-rent news stations could splice into their nightly coverage - now that’s reprehensible.

  • dhogaza // October 27, 2007 at 4:55 am

    I’m only suprised that people still trust the government for seemingly everything.

    No, we don’t.

    We only trust the government to be less [edit] than private industry in regard to the public interest, and history proves us right in most cases.

  • Hank Roberts // October 27, 2007 at 5:38 am

    No, this is Sturgeon’s Law at work. Bad apples turn up no matter whether it’s a corporate or a governmental organization. And either can be grandiose and think it can manage everything.

  • nanny_govt_sucks // October 28, 2007 at 12:53 am

    Bad apples turn up no matter whether it’s a corporate or a governmental organization.

    But the difference is that we allow government to use force.

    That is a BIG difference.

    If there are bad apples at Google, what’s the worst that can happen? We use Yahoo instead to search for stuff on the internet? If there are bad apples in Government, we get illicit wars and our Bill of Rights destroyed. In extreme cases we get genocide and millions dead.

    I’ll cast my lot with the private sector any day of the week.

  • henry // October 29, 2007 at 2:33 am

    “The report goes on to report that White House press secretary Dana Perino said it was not appropriate that the questions were posed by agency staffers instead of reporters. FEMA was responsible for the “error in judgment,” she said, adding that the White House did not know about it beforehand and did not condone it.”

    I’m sorry, but I get the same feeling when I read about how the same reports and studies get uses, over and over, even after the’ve been discredited or questioned:

    From CA:

    “It seemed bizarre to me at the time that the panel could recommend that strip bark trees be “avoided” in reconstructions and then use as evidence “supporting” the Mann result reconstructions that used strip bark trees. Worse, two of the 4 studies illustrated here (Mann and Jones 2003; Hegerl et al 2006) actually use the Mann PC1 that had been specifically rejected as incorrect methodology.”

    Other scientists using questionable practices and “incorrect methodology”, and you question what FEMA did?

    [Response: Which scientists are using which practices, and how appropriate they are, are topics for fair -- and civil -- debate. But whatever may have happened or not happened in climate reconstructions, does not excuse deliberate deception by FEMA.

    This comment is irrelevant to this thread. In the future, please post such opinions on a thread to which they're relevant.]

  • Conard // October 29, 2007 at 4:57 am

    When I first read of FEMA’s actions I was stunned by FEMA’s estimation of our intelligence. Later I was saddened considering it may have been their estimation of our ability to do anything about it that gave them license.

  • henry // October 29, 2007 at 1:13 pm

    [Response: Which scientists are using which practices, and how appropriate they are, are topics for fair — and civil — debate. But whatever may have happened or not happened in climate reconstructions, does not excuse deliberate deception by FEMA.

    This comment is irrelevant to this thread. In the future, please post such opinions on a thread to which they’re relevant.]

    Please point me in the direction of the thread where this discussion is taking place, and I’ll gladly post there…

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