Views of the Political Storm After KatrinaNew York Times vs. New Orleans Times-Picayune
It always fascinates me how 'unbiased' journalists can describe the same event and give such different interpretations.
I noticed one striking example this morning. The Louisiana govorners office released a bunch of memos and emails related to the response to hurricane Katrina. They were compiled at the request of congressional inquiries into the state's preparedness.
I saw two articles describing the communications. The New York Times described memos that "demonstrate the enormous sense of frustration that overcame Ms. Blanco's staff members."
The New Orleans piece, also published in the Houston Chronicle, described it as, "The Louisiana governor's staff tried to protect her image during the slow aid response."
A single quote was used as an example in both articles:
The documents and correspondence put in full light the rivalry between the White House and the governor, a Democrat, along with the rising anger in Louisiana as requests for federal assistance went unanswered.
"We need to keep working to get our national surrogates to explain the facts - that the federal response was anemic and had been shortchanged by budget cuts and avoiding responsibilities like protecting Louisiana levees and wetlands," Mr. Kopplin wrote in one e-mail message a week after the storm hit.
New Orleans Times-Picayune:
E-mail turned over by the state to the congressional committees investigating the hurricane response show that the governor's senior staff was deeply involved in trying to preserve her political standing and make sure that the White House was blamed for the slow pace of the initial response.
"We need to keep working to get our national surrogates to explain the facts — that the federal response was anemic and had been shortchanged by budget cuts and avoiding responsibilities like protecting Louisiana levees and wetlands," Chief of Staff Andy Kopplin wrote to senior staff on the morning of Sept. 4, six days after Katrina made landfall.
History, it seems, even when based on a single piece of evidence can have different meanings.