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calendar   Friday - October 26, 2007

Faking Every Mistaken Asshattery

FEMA, apparently not wanting to actually hold a press conference with actual PRESS, decided to just go ahead and fake it with their own staff.

FEMA has truly learned the lessons of Katrina. Even its handling of the media has improved dramatically. For example, as the California wildfires raged Tuesday, Vice Adm. Harvey E. Johnson, the deputy administrator, had a 1 p.m. news briefing.

Reporters were given only 15 minutes’ notice of the briefing, making it unlikely many could show up at FEMA’s Southwest D.C. offices.

Johnson stood behind a lectern and began with an overview before saying he would take a few questions. 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.

[snip]

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.

Right guys, you couldn’t get any real press in there inside of fifteen minutes, so you decided the best thing to do is fake it.  Fake but accurate rears its ugly head again.

But the staff did not make up the questions, he said, and Johnson did not know what was going to be asked. “We pulled questions from those we had been getting from reporters earlier in the day.” Despite the very short notice, “we were expecting the press to come,” he said, but they didn’t. So the staff played reporters for what on TV looked just like the real thing.


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Posted by Drew458   United States  on 10/26/2007 at 09:14 PM   
Filed Under: • Media-BiasOutrageousStoopid-People •  
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