Fema Fake


I just remembered what I meant to write about last week, which was the fact that Fema had won another gold medal in the "Really Bad PR" Olympics.

You remember the "let ‘em eat cake," or perhaps that should be "let ‘em swim" attitude toward the Katrina fiasco that got the agency in trouble back in 2005. Last week, somebody at FEMA thought it was a good idea to fake a press conference, with staffers lobbing softball questions about FEMA’s response to the California wildfires.

It had the double whammy of being totally unnecessary hyping since most people thought it was doing a pretty good job this time around.

From hawking unattributed VNRs to micromaning the media message on global warming to paying Armstrong Williams to push the No Child Left Behind Department of Education policy to trying to buy good press in the Middle East to, well, I don’t have all night, the Bush administration is winning no friends in the journalism community with these stunts.

Everybody agrees the FEMA fake was a stupid mistake, and Monday the guy who oversaw it and was about to move up to a bigger post took the fall and won’t get the new job. But why does this continue to happen, and why are we paying government officials who ought to know better to make them.

Eventually, it has to be treated as a pattern of manipulation rather than a series of unfortunate events.

If water boarding were acceptable, I would recommend it for some of the people who think it is OK to use the press, or the fake press, to deceive the American people. Oh, that’s right, water boarding isn’t torture, is it?