But Mr. Brown's account, in which he described making "a blur of calls" all week to Mr. Chertoff, Mr. Card and Mr. Hagin, suggested that Mr. Bush, or at least his top aides, were informed early and repeatedly by the top federal official at the scene that state and local authorities were overwhelmed and that the overall response was going badly.
A senior administration official said Wednesday night that White House officials recalled the conversations with Mr. Brown but did not believe they had the urgency or desperation he described in the interview.
"There's a general recollection of him saying, 'They're going to need more help,' " said the official, who insisted on anonymity because of the delicacy of internal White House discussions.
Mr. Brown's version of events raises questions about whether the White House and Mr. Chertoff acted aggressively enough in the response. New Orleans convulsed in looting and violence after the hurricane, and troops did not arrive in force to restore order until five days later.
The above is from David D. Kirkpatrick and Scott Shane's "Ex-FEMA Chief Tells of Frustration and Chaos" in this morning's New York Times. Zach e-mails to name it as the spotlight story.
Zach: Basic interview but the facts contradicting Brownie's statements are right there the way they should be with each story where a claim seems less than accurate.
Delayed (and dictated) but we're up and running. I'm sorry for the delay. There were problems with the site this morning. I told my friend not to worry about it and I'd call back later and we'd try to figure out what the problem was. You'll see another post go up immediately (already dictated) and then we'll do the mid-morning one right after.
New member Petra e-mails with a copy and paste from Rory O'Connor's blog wanting to know how to get something noted here. Just like that. From O'Connor's "Katrina's Silver Lining" where O'Connor's discussing the 'new' news:
This is the savior of NBC News speaking? "Perhaps we've taken something off our fastball?" Give me a break! Cooper's crying and Williams whining aside, what you really saw on your television screens last week was simply the media's true bias peeking through -- not liberal, not conservative, but commercial and careerist. In other words, there was a helluva good story -- and blood in the water, both literally (the residents') and figuratively (the President's). As Tom Friedman phrased it in the New York Times, "Hell hath no fury like journalists with a compelling TV story where they get to be the heroes and the government the fools."
Hence, NBC "Nightly News" viewer ship jumped 2.5 million the week after the storm, according to Nielsen Media Research. And a Williams-anchored "Dateline NBC" special about Katrina was the most-watched program all week. Williams greatly increased his own stature within NBC News by aggressively seizing his opportunity, as Jeff Alan, author of "Anchoring America: The Changing Face of Network News," told the AP.
"Brian handled this as professionally as any of the reporters down there and maybe more so," Alan said. "Brian knew how much was at stake here. Brian took his anchor hat off and put his human being hat on in a lot of the broadcasts that I saw."
CNN's ratings also skyrocketed – Anderson Cooper's "360" program saw its ratings increase 400% in the first week of Katrina coverage, causing his promo-crazed boss to gush further. "He is the anchorperson of the future," Klein told the New York Times. "He's all human. He's not putting it on."
Wow -- even anti-anchorpersons wearing their human being hats! What will the network bigs think of next?
Faced with radical change moving at the speed of light throughout the industry, the Jonathan Klein's of the world continue to grasp at anything in their unending quest to boost ratings. For apparatchiks like Klein, it's all the same. One week it's that cable car wreck Nancy Grace boosting ratings by convicting people without benefit of a trial on CNN Headline News; the next it's a real 'headline news' story like Katrina. One day Brian Williams is the next coming of Tom Brokaw; the next, he’s a blogger like the rest of us, albeit one who delivers his best insights and tidbits off air rather than before his nightly news audience of millions! (On Labor Day, for example, Williams wrote about food and water being dropped to survivors: "There was water, there was food, and there were choppers to drop both. Why no one was able to combine them in an airdrop is a cruel and criminal mystery of this dark chapter in our recent history. The words 'failure of imagination' come to mind." Yet such pointed criticism of the government response somehow failed to make air on NBC.)
Reminders. On CSPAN today (from Tom Hayden's "SEPT. 15- FIRST HEARINGS ON EXIT STRATEGY" at The Huffington Post):
SEPTEMBER 15, THE FIRST CONGRESSIONAL HEARINGS ON EXITING IRAQ WILL COMMENCE, FEATURING REPUBLICAN AS WELL AS DEMOCRATIC REPRESENTATIVES. THIS EVENT MARKS A DEEP SHIFT IN CONGRESSIONAL DISCOURSE, FROM PREVIOUS HEARINGS ON HOW TO MANAGE THE WAR TO THE FIRST HEARINGS ON HOW TO WITHDRAW TROOPS AND END THE OCCUPATION. THE HEARINGS WILL BE TELEVISED ON C-SPAN.
Roberts hearings continue on Pacifica:
KPFA (94.1 FM in Berkeley) listen to KPFA online or visit www.kpfa.org
KPFK (90.7 FM in Los Angeles) listen to KPFK online or visit www.kpfk.org
KPFT (90.1 FM in Houston) listen to KPFT online or visit www.kpft.org
WBAI (99.5 FM in New York) listen to WBAI online or visit www.wbai.org
WPFW (89.3 FM in Washington DC)listen to WPFW online or visit www.wpfw.org
Rod e-mails to note the scheduled topics for today's Democracy Now!:
Coverage of Day 3 of the confirmation hearing of John Roberts to be the nation's 17th Supreme Court Chief Justice. We'll speak with Ted Shaw, President of the NAACP Legal Defense Fund. Excerpts of tonight's Grapple in the Big Apple: George Galloway and Christopher Hitchens debate the Iraq war and U.S. and British foreign policy.
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