Not A National Disaster
Bill O'Reilly is trying with all his might to make this story about "thugs" and bad Democrats but both Fox news reporters on the ground are having none of it. Shepard Smith and Steve Harrigan are both insisting that the story is about people dying and starving on the streets of New Orleans. Smith is particularly upset that the mayor sent buses to the Hyatt today and took tourists over to the Superdome and let them off at the front of the line.
O'Reilly says "you sound so bitter" and said they need a strong leader like Rudy Giuliani. Smith replies that what they needed "on the first day was food and water and what they needed on the second day was food and water and what they needed on the third day was food and water."
O'Reilly is practically rolling his eyes with impatience at Smith's pussified outrage about the plight of a bunch of losers who were asking for it. He really, really wants to talk about scary black boogeymen and steppin-fetchit politicans. It doesn't work out. He looks relieved to move over to the Natalee Holloway story.
Luckily, they've got it straight over on The Corner:
NOT A NATIONAL DISGRACE [Rich Lowry]
A dissent from this column I wrote yesterday:
It is not. It is - or ought to be - a disgrace and an embarrassment to Louisiana and New Orleans. I see the way Florida prepares for and responds to hurricanes; I see the way Mississippi and Alabama are dealing with this one; I've seen the Carolinas and Virginia deal with hurricanes, too. I've been in Miami and Norfolk when hurricanes hit, though not as severe as this one, and seen folks come together to support each other in the crisis. I see the outpouring of support from surrounding states and from the federal government heading to Louisiana as fast as it can.
And then I see citizens of New Orleans shooting, raping, burning, and plundering while their government officials stand by helplessly...
Fox News reporters have played this story pretty straight (for them) and it's making the stars extremely uncomfortable. Somebody's going to have to have a talk with the supporting cast. They are going off script.
Update: Sean's up now and he's equally uncomfortable with Shep's story about the thousands still stuck on freeways and bridges with no food and water --- who have been ignored for days now. He's been covering one single bridge for days and nobody knows why they haven't been helped yet. He's almost shrill.
Now Geraldo comes on and he freaks out, begging the authorities to let people still stuck at the convention center walk out of town. Shep comes back and he says they have checkpoints set up turning people back to the city if they try. (wtf?) They are both on the verge of tears.
Sean says they need to get some perspective and Shep screams at him "this is the perspective!"
This was some amazing TV. Kudos to Shep Smith and Geraldo for not letting O'Reilly and Hannity spin their GOP "resolve" apologia bullshit. I'm fairly shocked.
Update: Crooks and Liars has the video.