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Thursday, September 01, 2005

You think that's offensive?

The devastated state in which Katrina left the Gulf Coast is undeniably huge. At the same time, many individuals find the reports of looting and other forms of violence to be equally horrific and disconcerting. I, too, am deeply offended when individuals take advantage of the severely compromised state of others for their own personal gain. For that reason I wanted to make a quick mention of the most recent article by Ron Fournier of the Associated Press.

Ron Fournier writes in his recent article, entitled Politicians Failed Storm Victims:

At every turn, political leaders failed Katrina's victims. They didn't strengthen the levees. They ceded the streets to marauding looters. They left dead bodies to rot or bloat. Thousands suffered or died for lack of water, food and hope. Who's at fault?

There's plenty of blame to go around - the White House, Congress, federal agencies, local governments, police and even residents of the Gulf Coast who refused orders to evacuate. But all the finger-pointing misses the point: Politicians and the people they lead too often ignore danger signs until a crisis hits.

It wasn't a secret that levees built to keep New Orleans from flooding could not withstand a major hurricane, but government leaders never found the money to fully shore up the network of earthen, steel and concrete barriers . . .

. . ."The truth will speak for itself," Sen. Mary Landrieu, D-La., said of potential lapses by government. Later, her office blamed the White House for budget cuts.

If it's not the Republicans' fault, perhaps some in Washington would like to blame New Orleans itself. House Speaker Dennis Hastert, R-Ill., questioned whether a city that lies below sea level should be rebuilt. "That doesn't make sense to me," he
said. But for anybody living - or dying - in the devastated region, there are far too many villains to name.

"We're out here like pure animals. We don't have help," the Rev. Issac Clark, 68, said outside the New Orleans Convention Center . . .


Some will argue that, while the rescue procedures are still in full effect, it is too soon for Fournier to be "pointing fingers." Concerning whether it is too early I have little valuable to say. I didn't bring it up, but if Mr. Fournier did, then let it be an honest, impartial discussion. Although I am not passing blame on anyone or any entity for the disaster in the Gulf Coast, if I did, I can say with reasonable certainty that, at this point, I probably wouldn't lead off the list with the White House and close it with "even [those] who refused orders to evacuate". But, a quick Google search for "Ron Fournier" and "Associated Press" is rather enlightening.

I encourage anyone to read Ron Fournier's previous articles as well as his current ones on Katrina, including the present article. I am fairly certain that the reasonable minded individual will see a pattern. After all, the other piece that Fournier has written on Katrina opens with:

Cutting short his vacation and marshaling the power of the federal government could help reverse his sliding job approval rating. But the president's hands-on approach seems a bit too political for some, and makes him an easy target should Katrina's victims start looking for somebody to blame during the long, costly road to recovery.

Wow. That's the lead paragraph? Luckily for the "Katrina victim" who "should look for someone to blame", they can read the article written on the same day, September 1st, by the same author, Ron Fournier, wherein the blameworthy are listed-leading the list, the White House. Politicians failed them. And hey, in Fournier's words, "even if it isn't the Republicans' fault, perhaps some in Washington would like to blame New Orleans itself. House Speaker Dennis Hastert, R. Ill. . ." R for Republican (or, perhaps to Mr. Fournier, Republican't). "Even if it isn't the Republican's fault . . ."? We're still talking about the aftermath of a hurricane, right? Even though Fournier gave us his list, he seems to be leaning toward a zero-sum fault scenario here.

I've always been put-off by conversations wherein people complain about the largely "conservative" or, conversely, "liberal" media. If you're not perceptive enough to realize that a particular author of a particular piece may tend to have a skewed viewpoint on an issue and you read it without a critical eye and agree to everything . . . well, too bad. What does bother me is when an author, clearly of one particular viewpoint, as evidence by the huge morass of articles he has previously written, decides to use a national catastrophe in an attempt to loot the public conscience, whether that attempt be successful or not. That is entirely and unacceptably vulgar. That is what Mr. Fournier has done in his recent articles pushing, with barely veiled opportunism, his contempt for one political party.

Mr. Fournier, you are an ass.

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