FEMA Holds Press Conference.... For FEMA?

Posted by Pile (7688 views) Add this story to MyYahoo Add this article to del.icio.us Submit article to Reddit Add story to Furl Add story to StumbleUpon [E-Mail link]


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. They were given an 800 number to call in, though it was a "listen only" line, the notice said -- no questions. Parts of the briefing were carried live on Fox News, MSNBC and other outlets.

So who did FEMA give the press conference to? Other FEMA employees pretending to be reporters.

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.

FEMA press secretary Aaron Walker interrupted at one point to caution he'd allow just "two more questions." Later, he called for a "last question."

"Are you happy with FEMA's response so far?" a reporter asked. Another asked about "lessons learned from Katrina."

"I'm very happy with FEMA's response so far," Johnson said, hailing "a very smoothly, very efficiently performing team."

"And so I think what you're really seeing here is the benefit of experience, the benefit of good leadership and the benefit of good partnership," Johnson said, "none of which were present in Katrina." (Wasn't Michael Chertoff DHS chief then?) Very smooth, very professional. 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.

Asked about this, Widomski said: "We had been getting mobbed with phone calls from reporters, and this was thrown together at the last minute."

Details

 

bad example
Posted by wizeGurl on 2007-10-26 13:38:11
Darn it, FEMA...don't go and give the Bush Administration any ideas! This sounds like exactly the kind of press conference they'd love.
spank them please!!!
Posted by ned on 2007-10-26 13:51:52
you spank them, hard, really really hard and forcefully and on cnn till their red in the face.
FEMA and media control are nothing new
Posted by Pile on 2007-10-26 14:51:11
During Hurricane Katrina, when FEMA finally got their shit together with these trailer cities for people who had their homes destroyed, they refused to allow any news media into the camps to talk with the residents. They like, declared mini marshal law and refused to let the residents talk to reporters.
 

Comments

 
Name: (change name for anonymous posting)
Title:
Comments:
   

1 Article displayed.

Pursuant to Section 230 of Title 47 of the United States Code (47 USC § 230), BSAlert is a user-contributed editorial web site and does not endorse any specific content, but merely acts as a "sounding board" for the online community. Any and all quoted material is referenced pursuant to "Fair Use" (17 U.S.C. § 107). Like any information resource, use your own judgement and seek out the facts and research and make informed choices.

Powered by Percleus (c) 2005-2047 - Content Management System

[Percleus 0.9.4] (c) 2005, PCS