Katrina: News Round-Up

Here is a randomly-selected collection of noteworthy items from the recent coverage of Hurricane Katrina:

  • Bill Carter thinks Brian Williams is the bees knees (for the record, we totally do too). [NYT]
  • Watch Bob Schieffer excoriate the powers that be on Face The Nation: “This was just survival of the richest.” [Crooks & Liars, natch]
  • David Carr analyzes the response of cable news reporters to the disaster, from picture-perfect coifs to being among the first responders on the scene. He cites Anderson Cooper’s takedown of Mary Landrieu as a point when the press reclaimed its cojones, and Tony Zumbado’s graphic reporting as another high point of straight, unvarnished coverage (low points in his round-up include Hannity’s fixation on Superdome rapes). It’s a succinct, perspective-giving account of the past week. Best line is re: that buffoon Dennis Hastert advocating the bulldozing of New Orleans: “Representative Hastert has since backed away from that suggestion, making him just one more person who will regret what he said and did when the going got tough.”
  • Jack Shafer has his own opinion on the coverage; that is to say, he hates TV news, most specifically, it seems, Fox. I agree with him that the melodramatic background music has no place on cable news (FOX) but think he could cut the networks a little more slack, particularly when the coverage was so good when it so needed to be.
  • Don’t be so hard on Geraldo, Jack, he saved a woman and her dog. I’m actually a fan of Geraldo, I find him quite genuine despite the ‘stache.
  • More notes from Geraldo at Large last night: Bill Hemmer reported that the Louisiana Medical Examiner had listed the official death count at 59 (circa 10pm). This is obviously ludicrously and sadly very low, but apparently they’re not going to up it until the water level has lowered and they are able to go house by house and see what remains. Awful. (NB I’ve not seen/looked for print news on this so please do correct me if this has since been updated).
  • Another sad, awful side to the story: At least two policemen in New Orleans have committed suicide and according to Fox firefighter(s) may have as well. This is unfortunately confirmed. Dozens more cops are up and quitting. Again, unfathomably awful.
  • By now you’ve all heard about Kanye West‘s unscripted outburst on the NBC telethon Friday. Watch it here (poor deer-in-headlights Mike Myers), unexpurgated (it has since been edited — selectively edited, I might add: they left in a comment about how the military should have been in Louisiana instead of Iraq, but deleted the critique of using ‘looting’ vs.’finding’). UPDATE: Time’s semi-prescient story about why Kanye West shouldn’t be ignored.
  • Wolf Blitzer: Freudian slip? I personally don’t think so, but of course it’s going to get airplay (NB FishbowlDC had this one a few days ago).
  • For the record: The NOAA predicted about 4 or 5 storms to come this season…on August 2nd. Not good.
  • Perhaps it’s unfair of me, but I would have liked to have seen a little more than this from John Kerry and Theresa Heinz. I just think that, given what the country knows about their finances, the almost-president could at least match Hilary Duff.*

    *To those of you who say that giving is a private matter, I counter and say that appearances matter — as Kerry the hot-doggin’ windsurfer found out — but also that gestures like that shore up morale and inspire people not only to give but to feel like a proud part of something.