From TPM Café
SORTING OUT OPINION FROM FACT ON KATRINA
By Larry Johnson bio
While watching the MSNBC program, CONNECTED, COAST TO COAST with Ron Reagan, a man from the Evergreen Foundation was on air spinning the myth that the President had to "beg" the Governor of Louisiana to take action. Having been on this show several times I called one of the bookers, Susan Durrwatcher, to alert her to the fact that this man was misrepresenting what happened. I offered Susan the following objective, documented facts (see timeline below). Susan thanked me for my "opinion" and said "we just have a different perspective". Stunned, I asked her by what standard of journalism that an objective fact was mere opinion? I asked her to simply look at the documents and correct the record. She declined. I asked her to remove me from the MSNBC list of contacts. I'm sure MSNBC won't miss me and I am certain I will have a happy life without having to subject myself to their unprofessional approach to journalism.
The Bush White House is furiously spinning to lay the blame on the Governor and Mayor of Louisiana. My position is that I think both the Governor and the Mayor can be faulted on a variety of fronts. I do not absolve them of their responsibility to properly and fully implement their own emergency response plans. However, the Governor followed the appropriate protocol and, in accordance with the National Response Plan (NRP), asked the President in accordance with the Stafford Act, to declare a State of Emergency.
Friday, 26 August 2005, Governor of Louisiana declares state of emergency
Saturday morning, 27 August 2005, Governor of Louisiana asks President Bush to declare a state of emergency and requests Federal Assistance "to save lives and property".
Note, the letter was published on 27 August 2005 on Lexis Nexis but was dated 28 August 2005. Bush received the letter on Saturday and responded on the same day by declaring a State of Emergency. Note, per the NRP, William Lokey was designated as the Federal Coordinating Officer for Federal recovery operations in Louisiana.
Sunday, 28 August 2005, Mayor of New Orleans orders Mandatory Evacuation.
(Note: In Governor Blanco's request on the 27th, there is a specific request for help with evacuation and a specific request for help to "save lives and protect property". )
Monday, 29 August 2005, FEMA Director Brown requests DHS Secretary Chertoff's help in getting 1000 DHS employees ready to deploy to the disaster within 48 hours.
Under the National Response Plane (see p. 93, Figure 11), once the President declares a State of Emergency the Department of Homeland Security is supposed to implement the Plan. Initially, DHS is supposed to deploy an Emergency Response Team to the State to provide expertise in assessing needs and determining appropriate courses of action. Moreover, on p. 52 of the NRP the President may act proactively under the Stafford Act.
Folks, these are not OPINIONS, these are cold, objective facts. However, MSNBC and other members of the Main Stream Media are confused about what is a fact and what is opinion.
National Response Plan (NRP)
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