Media training and politics

Well, looks like the still-being-repaired levees are not holding up to the rain from Hurricane Rita.

In MSNBC's article, we get to see two sides of media training: over training and not enough training.

On the one hand, the Army corp of engineers is over media-trained, by not even using words like "flooding" or "overflow" or "waterfall" - instead he goes with this beauty of a quote:

"We have discovered an overtopping on the industrial canal," Army Corps of Engineers spokesman Mitch Frazier told local radio.
I think he means that the levees are not holding up, and it's flooding again in the city. Yep, as the article begins with ...
Dozens of New Orleans blocks were underwater after rain poured over a patched levee in the form of a waterfall at least 30 feet wide, confirming fears that the city's weakened levees would not be able to handle the additional rainfall.
Now, compare the engineer's quote to the Governor's about people that are not evacuating.
As for those who refuse to leave, Gov. Kathleen Blanco advised: "Perhaps they should write their Social Security numbers on their arms with indelible ink."
This is a nice example of either no media training, or a total lack of empathy and common sense. It's not like she did such a stellar job with Katrina - there's enough blame to be spread around to everyone - but now she makes a nice Holocaust/Nazi analogy and shows a total disregard and lack of caring for her constituents.

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  1. Your Holocaust/Nazi analogy may be apt and your notion that Blanco shows lack of concern for constituents with her magic marker comment may be correct, but lack of media awareness? I think not. The idea comes from a John Tierney OpEd, Sept. 6, in the New York Times, in which Tierney extols a policy favored in Newport News, VA, painting it as superior to that employed by local officials before Katrina.

    So what Blanco is doing here is covering her ass against yet another Rovebashing.

  2. (And sorry, my name's Ted Compton. I didn't mean to post anonymously, I was just too lazy to set up a Blogger account.)

  3. No problem Ted. Thanks for commenting.

    Just read the synopsis, and part of the article that is still free. Thanks NYT.

    It seems like it's used as a scare tactic in Virginia, and one that might be successful.

    The problem is that Blanco is saying it now, instead of before the first disaster. Plus, we are only privy to that one pull quote from whatever she might have said that might have put it into a better context and not been as harsh sounding.

    It could have been worse, of course. She could have suggested permanent tattoos, and made a Hogan's Heroes joke.