Media Blog

TimesReject: Now Katrina is Vietnam

Gotta hand it to Frank Rich. Even though the media’s focus has moved from Iraq to Katrina, he sticks to the Frank Rich template: compare it to Watergate, Vietnam or McCarthy.
How does he do it? Simple. Now, Katrina is Vietnam:

Nor can the president’s acceptance of “responsibility” for the disaster dislodge what came before. Mr. Bush didn’t cough up his modified-limited mea culpa until he’d seen his whole administration flash before his eyes. His admission that some of the buck may stop with him… came only after America’s highest-rated TV news anchor, Brian Williams, started talking about Katrina the way Walter Cronkite once did about Vietnam.

Besides just recycling the same comparisons, Rich recycles an erroneous factoid that’s been floating around the media:

Actually, you don’t have to imagine: we already know some of it was immediately siphoned into no-bid contracts with a major Republican donor, the Fluor Corporation, as well as with a client of the consultant Joe Allbaugh, the Bush 2000 campaign manager who ran FEMA for this White House until Brownie, Mr. Allbaugh’s college roommate, was installed in his place.

Actually, as Eric Pfeiffer reported over two weeks ago, Mike Brown and Joe Allbaugh were friends in college, but not roommates. Even Maureen Dowd got this right.
It’s time for Frank Rich to help us answer Barney Calame’s question: “Does a corrections policy not enforced damage The Times’s credibility more than having no policy at all?”
UPDATE — IT’S A TWO-FER!: Dan C. writes:

I believe “modified-limited” is a Watergate reference, so this should count as a two-fer…

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