Sunday, October 28, 2007

Faux (News) Pas

On Friday, FEMA admitted to holding a fake press conference in regards to the wildfires in Southern California. This act is despicable on so many levels it makes my head spin.

FEMA said that it announced the press conference last minute therefore, the media could not get there in time to cover it. They did set up phone lines for the press to listen to the conference, but these lines would not allow the press to ask questions. They did claim that the questions the FEMA employees that posed as “journalists” asked where actually questions real journalists had asked FEMA. Huh? Didn’t they state that journalists couldn’t ask questions via the press conference phone line? Did the reporters call earlier and leave questions on the answering machine for FEMA to plot their pat answer for at the later press conference?

Chimpy’s White House staff calls the FEMA move “ not a practice that we would employ here at the White House” (LOL! I’ll let our host handle that one!) and Michael Chertoff, Homeland Security Chief whose agency oversees FEMA, said, "I think it was one of the dumbest and most inappropriate things I've seen since I've been in government." (Dumb? Yes. Most inappropriate? Where have you been for the last few years!?!?!)

Instead of faking a news conference when you plan it a whole 15 minutes in advance, you do what anyone would do trying to get information out in a timely matter to the public – you release a press STATEMENT and hold the news conference the following day. DUH! Self-promoting? Sure, but at least you aren’t lying.

It is bad enough that even respectable news organizations are carrying celebrity news (soft news) on their newscasts along with things that matter and effect people (hard news i.e. wars, famine, politics, elections, etc.). But, at least the celebrity news is real, even if most all of it is vapid and not earth-shattering. Faking a news conference goes against of principle of true journalism – it is pure, unadulterated lying. Any educated person knows that you cannot air or print something in media that you know to be false. It does not take a Pulitzer-Prize winning journalist of Woodward or Bernstein caliber to understand this concept.

Chertoff says people will be punished for this bonehead move that has now blackened FEMA’s other eye, the first eye blackened two years ago by its screw-up during and after Hurricane Katrina struck the Gulf Coast. It is Sunday and nothing has been announced as of yet… so we’ll see I guess. Here’s hoping that FEMA doesn’t have to visit my area any time soon.

No comments: