Friday, October 26, 2007

Wanted: Employees with acting experience

Just when you thought that Bush and his merry band of cronies couldn’t sink any lower (eventually you would have to go underground; right?), they do.

Just when you think that FEMA couldn't do anything more to embarrass themselves, they do.

According to Washington Post's Al Kamen, during a presser yesterday with FEMA Deputy Administrator Harvey Johnson, there were an odd number of so-called softball questions levied against him… well Kamen has revealed that the “reporters” in question were actually FEMA employees.

You read that right, FEMA employees posed as reporters in order to give their boss an easy press conference…

That’s just sad and pathetic…

From Kamen’s WaPo article:

“The first questions were about the "commodities" being shipped to Southern California and how officials are dealing with people who refuse to evacuate. He responded eloquently. […] He was apparently quite familiar with the reporters -- in one case, he appears to say "Mike" and points to a reporter -- and was asked an oddly in-house question about "what it means to have an emergency declaration as opposed to a major disaster declaration" signed by the president. He once again explained smoothly.

But something didn't seem right. The reporters were lobbing too many softballs. No one asked about trailers with formaldehyde for those made homeless by the fires. And the media seemed to be giving Johnson all day to wax on and on about FEMA's greatness.

Of course, that could be because the questions were asked by FEMA staffers playing reporters. We're told the questions were asked by Cindy Taylor, FEMA's deputy director of external affairs, and by "Mike" Widomski, the deputy director of public affairs. Director of External Affairs John "Pat" Philbin asked a question, and another came, we understand, from someone who sounds like press aide Ali Kirin.”

I don’t know what’s more incredible; that they did it, or that they tried to pass it off as being okay.

When they started getting negative feedback, public affairs deputy Mike Widomski defended the propaganda pageant and insisted that FEMA staffers were simply asking the same questions that real reporters had been asking all day…

The AP does NOT agree;
“One way to get decent coverage in this rough-and-tumble city is to arrange to have your own employees interrogate you at your news conference. […] That would seem to be the strategy of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, much maligned for its sluggish response to Hurricane Katrina over two years ago.”

Nor does E&P;
“It appears the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has found the answer to nosey reporters in the two years since Hurricane Katrina: have a press conference and have your own people ask the questions.”

Nor Rolling Stone;
“Somebody needs to be fired for this.”

This has to be one of the most pathetic displays ever carried out by a Bush(whacked) Administration leader… and considering the source, that’s saying a lot.

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