Ed Driscoll

CNN Lets The Snark Fly

The mainstream media are of course totally objective and without bias or ideology. Just ask Jack Cafferty of CNN, who had this snarky exchange with Wolf Blitzer:

WB: It’s…what can I say. It’s a horrible situation. Did you ever think in our lifetime a major American city like New Orleans, population a half a million, could be in a disaster situation like this?

JC: No, you don’t think of it. But then, if you look back at the history, Wolf, I guess in a way, they were sort of were living on borrowed time. 1965 was the last big hurricane. The Army Corps of Engineers went in and built those levees to withstand a Category 3 storm. Apparently, that was all the technology and/or the budget would allow at the time. And Category is not as strong as it gets. And one day, two days ago, the unthinkable happened. And you know, like I said, they’ve been living on borrowed time. You have to wonder, watching these pictures and listening to these accounts, if we’ll ever see the City of New Orleans as we all remember the Big Easy. And where’s President Bush? Is he still on vacation?

WB: He’s cut short his vacation. He’s coming back to Washington tomorrow.

JC: Oh, that’d be a good idea. He was out in San Diego, I think at a Naval Air Station, giving a speech on Japan and the war in Iraq today. Based on his approval rating in the latest polls, my guess is getting back to work might not be a terrible idea. That’s not the question of this hour, however.

Duane Peterson has an audio clip of the exchange, and comments:

What an insufferable jerk. First of all, today is also the 60th anniversary of V-J day. The speech obviously got upstaged today by events in the Gulf Coast, but the speech was a really important one, linking the resolve to re-build Japan with the resolve necessary to rebuild Iraq into its own version of a freedom-loving democracy. Bush wasn’t on vacation today, and Cafferty knows it.

Second, when Bush is on “vacation,” that doesn’t mean it’s like a vacation you or I take. He still gets briefings all through the day every day. He still has to make decisions every day. Cafferty either knows it and took a cheap political shot in the wake of a catastrophe, or he’s an idiot.

Third, Bush had already declared the areas hit as disaster areas before the storm ever got there. Once it was determined that the storm was going to be a monster and strike near New Orleans, Bush made the decision so that the relief dollars and federal assistance, including FEMA, was in the pipeline by the time the storm was happening. Once again, Cafferty’s cheap shot was really low, because Bush did as much as he could do, short of issuing an executive order outlawing the storm from arriving.

Fourth, if Bush was in Washington, would that make life any easier for the people affected by the storm? What if Bush came to down to see for himself. Would that help in the relief effort underway? Is Bush supposed to drop down the line of the Coast Guard helicopters and help pluck roof-bound refugees to safety himself?

Nice going, Jack. You’re the first moron in the media that supposedly has credibility to inject politics into what could turn out to the be greatest natural disaster this country has faced, and you did it while the disaster is still unfolding.

Ironically, the media has the all-too-recent Indian Ocean tsumani as a template for their coverage. And once again, they’re making the same mistakes they did nine months ago.

Incidentally, Matt Drudge is reporting that the Navy’s been called into help. How long before there’s a repeat of this classic groaner?

Update: Ed Morrissey observes Old Europe acting as equally reactionary as old media. Frank Martin’s response?

Over the history of the United States our answer to the needs of the people of other countries as they face natural and man made disasters is