(NaturalNews) On August 29th, 2005 New Orleans was devastated by what, in effect, was one of the worst natural disasters our country has ever experienced. Following the flood, our nation looked on in disbelief as day after day the government failed to act to save stranded New Orleans residents.
Before the devastation of New Orleans by Hurricane Katrina, the Federal Emergency Management Administration (FEMA) was just another government agency given the benefit of the doubt as being reasonably competent. After the dismal failures following the Katrina disaster (including taking days to deliver clean water to the Superdome and locking families up in makeshift bunkers without basic supplies such as fresh diapers) FEMA had become the posterboy of government incompetence under the Bush Administration.
The hope was that the widely perceived failures of FEMA during this period would prompt an overhaul of the agency and a fresh look at public policy surrounding natural disasters. Recent events following the San Diego fires, however, have not born such expectations out.
On October 23rd, 2007 FEMA sent out word to reporters that they would be staging (no pun intended) a 'news briefing' concerning the fires that were ravaging Southern California and the federal response to the situation. No less than fifteen minutes later, the briefing began. Needless to say, fifteen minutes is not typically considered enough time for a reporter to prepare for and travel to a press conference.
Reporters were given an 800 number to call, but not surprisingly this was a listen-only line. FEMA staffers dressed up like reporters and read off a list of pre-scripted softball questions to FEMA's deputy minister Harvey Johnson, all in front of cameras serving the major media stations. Among these, one staffer asked if the leadership was happy with the federal response so far. Another employee inquired as to how lessons learned from Katrina were being applied to the current situation.
This was not an understood arrangement between John Q. Public and the presenters. In fact, FEMA spared no expense in creating the appearance of a legitimate press conference. Among these sleights, an anonymous voice called out for the 'last question' as would be typical at an unscripted press conference. Of course, a procedure like this would be unnecessary in a scripted environment, which has led invariably to widespread suspicion regarding FEMA's true intentions.
On October 26th, FEMA's Vice Admiral Harvey Johnson released a statement dismissing the event as an 'error in judgement.' Although the statement was apologetic in tone, he explained the scandal away saying that "The real story - how well the response and recovery elements are working in this disaster - should not be lost because of how we tried to meet the needs of the media in distributing facts."
Many bloggers, pundits, and journalists took these remarks as deeply dismissive and condescending toward the public. Judging by the terms used, it would seem that FEMA equates the situation in scope to an intern 'erring in judgement' by mistakenly putting sugar in her pre-diabetic boss' coffee as opposed to a government agency deliberately deceiving the public without justification.
About the author
Adam Miller is a student of life who has dedicated literally thousands of hours of personal research on top of formal institutional training in Dietetics to learn the secrets of achieving vibrant health and extended lifespan. His passion and dedication is in bringing the best ideas for self-empowerment through nutrition and nutraceuticals as well as alternative therapies, technology, and information to the public through various means.