Do I hope for too much in looking for media critic Howard Kurtz to use the one-year anniversary of Hurricane Kartrina to critique the massive misreporting of that event?
Yes, I do hope for too much. Kurtz from his Media Notes online:
I am not a big fan of media anniversary hype....
And yet, I find myself pleased that the one-year benchmark, artificial as it is, has produced a spate of good reporting about Hurricane Katrina and finally put the national spotlight back on the Gulf Coast. There have been moving, probing, textured pieces in the major papers, and Brian Williams's prime-time NBC special Monday night was raw and powerful...
Ah, well, there's no accounting for taste, so if you want Bush-bashing, go for it. Meanwhile we've arrived at an interesting destination when some blog named Wizbang does a better job of critiquing press coverage than the media critic of the Washington Post. Wizbang:
We've all heard the story, in the early morning hours of Aug 29, 2005, the Category 4 Hurricane Katrina roared ashore, overwhelming the New Orleans levee system and flooding the city. If you read Wizbang, you've known since early October of 2005 this story was fatally flawed.
In the months since Katrina, we've learned that the storm was a Category 1 by the time she hit New Orleans. No "Super Hurricane," just an average storm. We've also learned that the New Orleans Hurricane Protection System was not overwhelmed by Katrina, it collapsed. Causing the Corps of Engineers [to] admit they flooded New Orleans not Katrina... An admission that got scant little media coverage. The Great Flood of New Orleans was not a natural disaster but a man made one.
The reason the Corps finally had to admit responsibility was that the floodwall that failed -flooding 70% of the city- basically collapsed under its own weight. It was undeniable. The Corps tried for months to claim the water came over the top of the floodwall and washed it away from the backside. (Which would make it Congress's fault) Everyone who has seen the break or looked at the surge data knew this was a lie; that the wall suffered a catastrophic failure before the water reached the top. Almost a year later, the Corps admitted that the floodwall suffered from multiple fatal design flaws and failed prematurely.
What was not really told to the public however is how high the water got up the walls before they failed. - This is an important question to a city rebuilding ~$250 billion in infrastructure. It is commonly assumed by the public that the water must have been quite high.
The question also has legal ramifications. Sovereign Immunity says citizens can not sue the government for damages unless there is negligence or Congress allows the government to be sued. If the public assumption is that Katrina was responsible for the flooding, Congress would never allow the government to be sued.
Perhaps that explains why Congress confiscated a video of the floodwall collapsing and refused to let the public see it until (a perfectly timed) 10 months after the storm. - Well after the storm passed but a few months before the current 1 year anniversary hype....