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Friday, September 02, 2005

Ted Koppel Plays the Blame Game

Just watched Nightline. Ted Koppel, a reporter I used to admire, took on the head of FEMA, Michael Brown.

Mr. Brown may or may not be in over his head in this crisis ( and, perhaps, anyone would be, given the nature of Katrina and New Orleans).

However, when Mr. Koppel began berating Mr. Brown for not sending in sufficient buses to evacuate the poor from New Orleans before the storm struck, I began to lose it.

Why blame FEMA for that? Why did not the local government take such action - using city buses to take people out of town to ...where exactly?

Perhaps to the refuge camps that Louisiana had not established for its own citizens knowing, as we all did, that it was not a matter of if a hurricane hammered New Orleans, but a matter of when it would happen... You know, the ones way not up north in the state...

FEMA is essentially a reactive agency (You know the name does include "Emergency Management").

I presume there are other agencies who might have planned for a threatened Cat 5 hurricane?

Perhaps the Louisiana Department of Protecting Louisiana's Citizens?

Or the CIty of New Orleans Department of Getting Our Residents to Safety?

Or maybe the elected officials at the state and city level? Where was the Mayor of New Orleans?

Why does Mr. Koppel finger Mr. Brown and give the others a pass?

Couldn't be political - I'm sure he is above that...Or maybe he'll get to them later...

However, let's get the solutions working and do the "lessons learned" after.

UPDATE: There might have been some buses available to move people out before the storm. See the update to this.

UPDATE 2: Much more coverage of these buses here at Junkyardblog. (Hat tip: Mudville Gazette)

UPDATE 3: Koppel Interview in Quicktime here, It's actually worse than I thought in that when Mr. Brown suggests it might have been the city's repsonsibility to provide buses prior to the storm, Mr. Koppel blows that off and asks about National Guard (Louisiana governor's call) and FEMA (not in charge yet). Koppel was either ignorant of the law or just indifferent to it. However, watch it and judge for yourself.

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