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Sunday, September 04, 2005

The mainstream media join the blogosphere

I've previously argued that one essential function of the blogosphere is to provide quick and verifiable criticism of the misdeeds of public figures. When those in power say or do something outrageous, bloggers have a viable media with which to offer criticism that just might enter the public discussion. It is a means to assure public accountability. Indeed, I like to think that my blog serves this function on occasion.

CNN today:
Defending the U.S. government's response to Hurricane Katrina, Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff argued Saturday that government planners did not predict such a disaster ever could occur.

But in fact, government officials, scientists and journalists have warned of such a scenario for years.
Since 9/11, Bush administration officials have said some ridiculous things, and big media outlets have all-too-rarely called them on it.

Apparently, facing an obvious national tragedy, the media has decided to enliven the public sphere with some blogger-style fact-checking:
"That 'perfect storm' of a combination of catastrophes exceeded the foresight of the planners, and maybe anybody's foresight," Chertoff said.

He called the disaster "breathtaking in its surprise."

But engineers say the levees preventing this below-sea-level city from being turned into a swamp were built to withstand only Category 3 hurricanes. And officials have warned for years that a Category 4 could cause the levees to fail.
I haven't been glued to the TV set by any means, but I saw CNN's Aaron Brown actually prioritize the hurricane victims over Bush administration bureacrats the other day! (Atrios has the transcript). And Ted Koppel's interview with FEMA Director Michael Brown the other night included a large number of sentences begining "With all due respect Mr. Brown..." Crooks and Liars has video links to the latter.

Maybe the tide has turned?

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