Please visit the new home of Majikthise at bigthink.com/blogs/focal-point.

« Dropped a contact lens | Main | Giant squid pumpkin »

October 26, 2007

FEMA's fake news conference in CA

White House spokesperson Dana Perino is chiding senior FEMA officials for staging a phony news conference:

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.

"I'm very happy with FEMA's response," Johnson said in reply to one query from an agency employee.

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.

"FEMA has issued an apology, saying that they had an error in judgment when they were attempting to get out a lot of information to reporters, who were asking for answers to a variety of questions in regard to the wildfires in California," Perino said. "It's not something I would have condoned. And they — I'm sure — will not do it again."

She said the agency was just trying to provide information to the public, through the press, because there were so many questions. [AP]

USA Today's blog has a good post on the sham Q&A, including a partial transcript of the phony questions.

As "Jeff Gannon" Guckert of "Talon News" once asked George W. Bush, "How are you going to work with people who seem to have divorced themselves from reality?"

TrackBack

TrackBack URL for this entry:
http://www.typepad.com/services/trackback/6a00d8341c61e653ef00e54eff2b0b8833

Listed below are links to weblogs that reference FEMA's fake news conference in CA:

Comments

Given the support for deceit in paying Armstrong Williams and commuting the sentence of Scooter Libby, FEMA probably expected praise from the White House for their fake press conference.

When Dana Perino chastises you for propagandizing that's when you really know you took it too far.

What next? Zombie Pol Pot chastises ghost of Hitler?

I'm left with the impression that we're supposed to feel lucky that the administration still gives press conferences.

AF

Its nice to know there's some limit to the stupidity of the Washington press- though FEMA, obviously, was betting there wasn't.

"Its nice to know there's some limit to the stupidity of the Washington press- though FEMA, obviously, was betting there wasn't."

You can see why FEMA was betting that way.

This would be the Washington press who blithely sat through two years of "Jeff Gannon" of the virtually nonexistent ... what was it called? "Teflon News"? ... without ever once asking "Who is this guy anyway?"

Because the only real secret about who he was, was that no one had bothered to ask: The continuously renewed day pass to the White House (and the overnight stays -- which that same Washington press still has never asked question one about), the pay for play service, the pornographic advertising photos ... how long did all of that take to come to light? A week? After someone (not that ever so brilliant Washington press, though) finally asked.

For two years, the famously incisive WH press corps, the best of the best ... never even noticed.

So, how much difference is there between a "male escort" and a "White House reporter"? So little difference that for two years only "Gannon" knew.

With kind regards,
Dog, etc.
papertrained!

Michael Chertoff called that fake press conference, "...one of the dumbest and most inappropriate things I've seen since I've been in government."

So whatever responsibility the higher-up Bush officials have for setting a tone for deceitful propaganda, at least they have their limits.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/worldlatest/story/0,,-7029255,00.html

Fake news is norm in the Bush Administration. Bernays would be impressed. I'm nauseated.

Old Media Ablaze Over Staged FEMA Presser

Liberal activists and the Old Media are aghast and outraged over a press conference conducted last Tuesday by the Federal Emergency Management Agency. Reporters were only able to listen to a department spokesman respond to questions about relief efforts for the California wildfires posed by other members of the FEMA staff. Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff appropriately chastised the sham press conference and promised an investigation and disciplinary action and the White House expressed its displeasure with the incident.

Surely no one at FEMA believed that the staged event would not immediately be discovered and criticized. What could the motivation have been for such a stunt? Perhaps FEMA wanted an opportunity to present its version of events before the Old Media created its own reality about the fires and the actions of the agency. News consumers had already listened to reporters making comparisons to the federal response to Hurricane Katrina and attempting to find fault with the handling of relief efforts. California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger had to take ABC’s Claire Shipman by the hand to convince her that everything possible was being done and that she should stop trying to invent mistakes and shortcomings. Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid and other environuts demagogued the tragedy as evidence of the effect of global warming, while California Democrats like Sen. Barbara Boxer and Lt. Governor John Garamendi incorrectly claimed that relief efforts were impeded by having troops and equipment in Iraq.

One of the lessons learned in the wake of Katrina is how the unaccountable Old Media are able to create a false impression that their ideological soul mates in the Democratic Party use for political advantage. In my book, “The Great Media War: A Battlefield Report”, I detail the flawed coverage of one of the greatest natural disasters in American history – a record that has yet to be corrected.

When I learned of the fake news conference, I expected that the characterization of Jeff Gannon as a “phony reporter” would be revived. Liberal media activist Keith Olbermann noted it on his nightly train wreck of a talk show and the lefties of the blogosphere dutifully repeated it ad nauseum. This is a classic case of how a lie becomes reality, since the record proves otherwise. I was as real as a reporter gets, writing over 500 articles as a White House correspondent, a job that Secret Service records indicate I actually showed up for more than 200 times over the course of two years. The veracity of my work as a reporter has never been successfully challenged.

Further, in 2006 – a year after my supposed exposure as a “phony reporter” - my peers accepted me into the National Press Club, the most prestigious association of professional journalists in the world. My book about the media will be featured at the National Press Club’s 30th annual book fair on November 1. Not bad for a “fake, fraud and phony.”

The comments to this entry are closed.