Media Blog

Broussard Episode: Readers’ Respond

First of all, credit to John from WuzzaDem for tracking this story and in all likelihood prompting the MSNBC investigation. Who knows how much bad information went uncorrected before the blogosphere? John writes:

I saw your article, and I don’t disagree with anything you said, however, correcting the details of the date of this woman’s death was not my primary motivation for writing the post.
First of all, the Broussard interview spread through the left side of the blogosphere like wildfire (run a Technorati search), and was used as “proof” of everything from George Bush being responsible for this woman’s death to FEMA promising to rescue someone and then breaking that promise.
The fact is that Broussard, perhaps intentionally, perhaps not (to be fair, I can’t get inside the man’s head), tacked this story onto the end of a rant that he began by saying to Tim Russert that he was promised “the cavalry’s coming, on a federal level,” when he knew full well that the responsibility for evacuation in the two days leading up to this poor woman’s death was that of the parish president (his counterpart in the next parish).
I will say that, if you watch the video of the interview, Broussard is apparently reading from prepared notes throughout, so I’m dubious about this being an off-the-cuff emotional outburst.
MSNBC, the New York Times and CNN all had this information and declined to connect the dots, but Maureen Dowd’s column on the 14th in which she tried (indirectly, of course) to pin the blame Bush for the woman’s death followed on the heels of Richard Roeper’s conservative-bashing column that referred to Broussard’s performance as “One of the defining media moments of all the hurricane [Katrina] coverage.”
Finally, I saw numerous online “debates” occurring where the rules of engagement appeared to be that one side could use someone’s death to indict (FEMA, Bush, etc.), but to respond to that charge was macabre and disrespectful.
I felt the record should be corrected.
John from WuzzaDem

I know John. I tried to make it clear in my post that the left’s ghoulish use of the dead was what I found most obscene. It’s sad that you even had to correct the record on this, and Aaron Broussard’s tirade on Meet the Press was disgraceful.
Jon S. writes:

“I’ve resisted commenting because I think it was inappropriate for Aaron Broussard to bring his colleague’s dead mother into the political arena in the first place and I don’t have the stomach to perpetuate the dogfight over the particulars of how she died.”
I’m sorry, but this makes zero sense. If she died under the conditions which Broussard described, then he was right to go on camera and say the things that he did.
If Broussard was making the whole thing up, and it appears that he was, then yes, that is obscene.
The problem is that nobody knows that this obscenity occurred. This story is getting zero coverage. Even the right wng blogs are not touching it. So the public, or 99% of it, will continue to think of this poor woman calling for help and then dying while the incompetent Bush administration bumbled along. Which is exactly what Broussard intended for them to think.
The Democrats, from top to bottom, see themselves as in a desperate fight for their very survival. Large chunks of the Republican party seem to imagine themselves as engaging in civil discourse over a glass of sherry at the debating club.
There is only one possible outcome to such a situation. If we are not going to fight back, then we should save ourselves the time, money, and effort and simply surrender. That is why Bush’s poll numbers continue to crumble. Our people are giving up, sensing that the “leadership” has already done so. And by leadership I include people with bully pulpits, like you.

Jon raises some good points as well, but I don’t think it’s quite as dire as all that. The story didn’t get zero coverage from the right. WuzzaDem tracked the investigations and Drudge linked to the MSNBC report today.
The right’s response was a reaction to the left’s attack using Broussard’s meltdown as ammo. It was obscene it had to come to that.

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