AFP News offers a little round up of “combative interviews and scathing commentary” against “government officials” in the wake of the Katrina disaster.
As the scale of carnage became clear and the government was seen as tardy in its response, TV news anchors and reporters dropped their dispassionate reserve in favour of stinging comments straight from the heart.
There’s some insight from Media expert Peter Levine, of the School of Public Policy at the University of Maryland on the change of tone from some of the MSM. Levine noted, “the shift in stance of American television was a return to normal following four years of toeing the government line following the September 11 attacks.”
“After 9/11 those who publicly dissented from support of the president and the government were rounded on from all sides,” he told AFP.
“The political calculation of (opposition) Democratic politicans was that it was best to support the president and so no one wanted to be seen dissenting, giving the media little to base any criticism on,” he said.
But with local officials, including Louisiana Governor Kathleen Blanco and New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin openly slamming the government response to the New Orleans catastrophe, usually reserved media feel free to do the same, he said.
Added to that, the horror played out on live television belied the government’s claims that its preparations for the storm and subsequent rescue effort had been sufficient.
“(Television stations) have people on the ground and are seeing a huge difference between what they are being told by officials and what they are actually seeing,” Levine said.