SOMETIMES I HAVE a strong urge to resign in disgust from the Amalgamated Federation of Pollsters, Pundits, Politicians and Pompous Pontificators. This is one of those times.
No sooner had Hurricane Katrina roared through Louisiana and adjacent states than every blockhead with a microphone or a word processor felt compelled to spout off about What It All Means — and, more important, Who Is to Blame. . . .
Ordinary people are sitting at home, transfixed by the spectacle unfolding on their television screens. Their hearts are breaking as they watch the horrifying spectacle of an entire city drowned. Many have already contributed what they can to the American Red Cross, to the Salvation Army, to the other armies of compassion, and only wish they could do more.
What must they think of the talking heads who treat this as if it were another bit of minor grist for the political mills? As if this were another story about some politician's war record or a nominee's nanny issues. The callowness now on display goes a long way toward explaining why politicians and the media are held in public esteem somewhere above child molesters and below bankers.
Sounds like he's channeling Foamy the Squirrel. But hey, when you're right, you're right, even when you're a talking cartoon squirrel.
UPDATE: Judging from the latest Gallup Poll Max and Foamy may be onto something.
Geraldo Rivera arrives in a Fox News truck. An elderly woman with blond hair grips his elbow. She's wearing thick dark glasses and a pink shirt. He carries her small white dog in his arms. He's wearing thigh-high waders unzipped to below his knees. We shake hands. "Her relative called one of our stations," Geraldo tells me, explaining how that call went to another station, and then another, and finally to him.
The woman had been stranded in her home for six days. Geraldo picked up the woman and her dog and brought them here. The woman looks frail on his arm, though not as bad perhaps as a lady collapsed on a chair nearby, unable to move. Or a woman in a wheelchair being lifted from the truck, carrying her prosthetic leg on her lap.
"That's the second time he brought her here," one of the doctors tells me, nodding toward Geraldo.
"They did two takes. Geraldo made that poor woman walk from the Fox News van to the heliport twice. Both times carrying her dog."
"Are you serious?" I ask. He says he is.
MORE: On Geraldo, according to Howard Kurtz: "Fox News says that's absolutely, positively not true."