Perhaps, it was the serendipity of catching this headline, 3 officers plead not guilty in Katrina shootings, while pondering the media’s comparatively* kid-glove treatment of the Administration’s reaction to the Gulf Oil Spill that reminded me just how jaundiced was their coverage of Katrina.
Here we have a story of the misconduct of New Orleans police officers, individuals answerable to municipal, not federal, authorities, yet all too many media outlets covered the story as if the Bush White House and the Republican’s appointees were entirely responsible for the mayhem in The Big Easy in the immediate aftermath of Katrina:
Five former officers already have pleaded guilty to helping cover up the shootings, which happened in the midst of another of the scorching days after Katrina. Bodies floated in filthy flood waters. Shots could be heard throughout the city, and many believed they were aimed at the endless stream of helicopters, the police, the rescue crews.
This all relates to the overheated media coverage of Katrina, with many false stories making their way to the public through the media, such as at the “legend” of shot being fired at helicopters. This is not to excuse the Administration for some of the bungled federal efforts at relief, but to point out that officials from other levels of government responded in a manner which compromised relief efforts and conributed to the chaos.
This story serves to remind us that municipal officials did not always respond in a professional manner, yet somehow, somewhere a narrative was created of George W. Bush’s almost exclusive incompetence.