I just finished reading in disbelief this report from Brian Williams on MSNBC – Now it can be told: Notes on the eve of destruction, and I have question…
Why, if you received this text by email from the National Weather Service, and it was so “incendiary”… It contained such a strong warning… Why did you very “cautiously couch[ed] the information” in your “live report by phone for Nightly News”?
I get the part Mr. Williams, where you say that “our folks were concerned that it wasn’t real…”, but my goodness, if there was even the smallest doubt that it could be true, would it not have been better to flash this TEXT all over every news station in the area?
URGENT – WEATHER MESSAGE
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE NEW ORLEANS LA
1011 AM CDT SUN AUG 28 2005
…DEVASTATING DAMAGE EXPECTED…
HURRICANE KATRINA…A MOST POWERFUL HURRICANE WITH UNPRECEDENTED STRENGTH…RIVALING THE INTENSITY OF HURRICANE CAMILLE OF 1969.
MOST OF THE AREA WILL BE UNINHABITABLE FOR WEEKS…PERHAPS LONGER.
AT LEAST HALF OF WELL CONSTRUCTED HOMES WILL HAVE ROOF AND WALL FAILURE. ALL GABLED ROOFS WILL FAIL…ALL WOOD FRAMED LOW RISING APARTMENT BUILDINGS WILL BE DESTROYED…ALL WINDOWS WILL BE BLOWN OUT.
THE VAST MAJORITY…OF TREES WILL BE SNAPPED OR UPROOTED. ONLY THE HEARTIEST WILL REMAIN STANDING…BUT BE TOTALLY DEFOLIATED.
POWER OUTAGES WILL LAST FOR WEEKS…AS MOST POWER POLES WILL BE DOWN AND TRANSFORMERS DESTROYED. WATER SHORTAGES WILL MAKE HUMAN SUFFERING INCREDIBLE BY MODERN STANDARDS.
Mr. Williams says in his post on Nightly News, “Note the time on the message… but more importantly… note the content.”
They saw the possibility coming… unbelievable as it was…
The last sentence in that statement is as concise a summation of conditions in New Orleans as is possible. We talked about the document en route to New Orleans. It turned out to be an advance copy of the script for this storm, predicting in unbelievable detail the level of destruction that was by now less than 24 hours away. To me it conjured up the image of a lone forecaster, known but to his or her co-workers, struggling to merge decades-old boilerplate Weather Service wording with the most vivid language possible in a final attempt to warn an entire region.
I see this as yet another FAILURE of the MSM to inform the American public.
Better safe than sorry is the old saying that certainly would have fit the bill, in this circumstance. Shame on NBC. Shame on the MSM. I am beyond appalled, it is the media’s job (and the GOVERNMENT’S job) to warn the public in situations like these.