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Daily Howler: We'll delay our current series while we wait for help to arrive
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A BREAK IN THE ACTION! We’ll delay our current series while we wait for help to arrive: // link // print // previous // next //

A BREAK IN THE ACTION: Yes, there’s a difference between “breaching” and overtopping,” so Bush’s Thursday morning statement to Diane Sawyer wasn’t necessarily as dim as it looked. We agree with Matt Yglesias’ assessment:
YGLESIAS: Apparently, the president of the United States doesn’t “think anyone anticipated the breaching of the levees.” That's false, of course, but the tragic reality is that none of the relevant policymakers do seem to have anticipated this. And that's insane.
This morning’s Times provides some context. And of course, the inevitable failure-to-question: When Bush made his statement to Sawyer, she simply moved ahead to the next question (a pointless question about the ethics of looting). She didn’t ask him what he meant when he said that no one “anticipated the breaching.” Obviously, many people had anticipated such a disaster over the years. But when our potentially clueless president seemed to say something different, our plainly clueless millionaire anchor simply moved on without comment.

For ourselves, we’ve watched endless footage and we’ve puzzled and marveled at the lack of relief on the ground in New Orleans—and at the lack of questioning from some major news sources. Last night, Keith Olbermann presented an intelligent, carefully-reasoned news hour. And by way of contrast, the hapless Chris Matthews started his hour saying this:

MATTHEWS (9/1/05): Good evening. I`m Chris Matthews.

Last night, we showed you the full force of a superpower government going to the rescue. Tonight, we`re going to show you what it means to be an American. Ordinary people all over this country are coming to the aid of their fellow Americans, offering money, food, shelter, hospitality, volunteering for rescue efforts and opening their own homes to strangers.

Somehow, Chris had the idea that we had seen “the full force of a superpower government going to the rescue” by Wednesday night! He spent last nighty on feel-good profiles of private people who are providing aid. If you, like us, were wondering why there was still no order in New Orleans streets, you wouldn’t seem your curiosity mirrored on this DC-based cable news hour.

We’ve spent a lot of time watching the coverage—and observing the commentary on the web. No, one photo caption which used the word “finding” doesn’t tell you how news orgs have handled the topic of looting. But it feels very good to make the claim, and as our liberal intelligence continued to be breached, this silly (but pleasing) claim spread all through the provinces.

At any rate, as we’ve watched, we’ve decided to delay our current series. We’ve spent our time trying to figure when order would finally come to New Orleans. We don’t want to continue that series without full attention, and so we’ll postpone for a time.

P.S. Plus, we now learn that our tech staff may be out till Tuesday. But if so, we think you'll survive.