Media Blog

CNN’s Anger Management Tour

Michael Kinsley writes that CNN coached one of his colleagues to “get angry” for the cameras. Part of CNN’s new editorial direction? Or just taking a cue from Anderson Cooper: Anchorman of Tomorrow?
Who could Kinsley be referring to? Technically, Ron Brownstein was the only Los Angeles Times writer on CNN last week (Lou Dobbs Tonight, Sept. 9), but LA Times editorial writer Jon Healy was on Paula Zahn’s show on September 2nd and seemed, well, pretty angry:

ZAHN: And the anger isn’t just in the streets or at City Hall. Who is to blame for all the misery we have seen this week? And how can our country do better? We know this is a debate that has many of you out there deeply divided. And we are going to take it on tonight.
Joining me now, Mississippi Congressman Bennie Thompson, the ranking Democrat on the House Homeland Security Committee, CNN security analyst Richard Falkenrath, and “Los Angeles Times” editorial writer Jon Healy, who wrote the lead editorial in today’s paper, slamming the federal response.
Glad to have all three of you with us tonight.
Jon, I want to start with you. We mentioned this editorial. You wrote where you said — quote — “The disaster was all but scripted. Why wasn’t the response?”
How big a failure do you think the federal response was?
JON HEALY, EDITORIAL WRITER, “THE LOS ANGELES TIMES”: Well, it seems pretty indefensible that it would take four days to see the kind of display of force and personnel that we have come to expect from the United States in much shorter order.
And the most disturbing thing about this to us, I think, is the fact that this was a very well-modeled situation. They knew — planners, disaster planners, FEMA, state officials, have known for years that, if you get a storm the size of Katrina hitting the city or near the city, the levees wouldn’t hold.
ZAHN: Sure.
HEALY: You would have flooding. You would have massive flooding and you would have a whole bunch of people, tens of thousands of people, stuck.
ZAHN: All right.

Although Brownstein was pretty angry too, on Lou Dobbs’ September 2nd broadcast:

RON BROWNSTEIN, LOS ANGELES TIMES: Well, real simply, it has been one of the worst weeks for the federal government in my adult lifetime. I think the natural instinct of any administration when facing the kind of criticism that the Bush administration is now under is to, you know, rally around each other, to circle the wagons and to say we did as much as we could as quickly as we could.
Look, reality bites, and in this case the president would be better served to be the one out there, the first one out there acknowledging what Americans are seeing every day. This has not been adequate. It’s been far from adequate, and he should be the one asking the toughest questions, because obviously, as you suggested before, the underlying subtext here is if we are not ready for this, a catastrophe which was among the most studied and anticipated of anything on the books, how would we respond, four years after 9/11 to another terrorist attack?

Which one was coached? Or is CNN coaching everyone to get angry these days? And if so, isn’t that irresponsible in the case of Howard Dean? (via Drudge)

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