In recent posts, I started asking the question, “What if George Bush did what Obama just did?” I am asking the question again today because of the way President Obama has responded to the tornado-ravaged areas of Missouri, Arkansas, and Alabama
In a way, one main stream media outlet did ask that question without actually using Bush’s name. The tornado that leveled Tuscaloosa took place over a month ago, and ABC News recently visited that area in Alabama to see how the citizens are doing after such devastation. To my surprise, it appears that the Federal government is reacting far more slowly to the devastation in Tuscaloosa than the Bush Administration did after Katrina. ABC News pointed out that with the exception of those who had private insurance to cover the damage; most people haven’t seen anything in the form of major help from the government in the last 30 days.
After I saw that report, I wondered where is the editorial outrage from the main stream media, which hung every delay in helping the victims of Hurricane Katrina around the neck of the Bush Administration. Admittedly, Katrina was more devastating than the tornado in Alabama, but the people in New Orleans had far greater notice than the people in Tuscaloosa.
Don’t get me wrong. I have no desire to see President Obama endure what I consider some of the most unfair reporting in my lifetime. Fueled by political communications advocates and activists who literally hated the administration of President George W. Bush, much of the news media blamed the administration for virtually everything that went wrong in the aftermath of one of the worst hurricanes to ever hit land in the United States. It didn’t matter that there were other layers of government involved in this natural disaster, including the Democratic governor of Louisiana, Kathleen Blanco, and the Democratic mayor of New Orleans, Ray Nagin.
I’m not suggesting that either Blanco or Nagin should be slammed for what they did or did not do to avert the disaster. On the contrary, I believe all government officials at all levels did what they could do with the information they had at the time. On the Saturday before the hurricane hit, Louisiana Gov. Blanco asked President Bush to declare a federal state of emergency for the state, and he did. On the Sunday before the hurricane struck, New Orleans’ Mayor Nagin declared that there be a mandatory evacuation of the city and also declared a state of emergency for his citizens. I can remember the numerous times I saw the news conferences of Nagin during which he repeated that this was not a false alarm and implored citizens to evacuate the city.
None of that mattered because the main stream media was intent on making sure George W. Bush was going to be blamed for everything that went wrong. None of those in the media who bashed Bush are now pointing a finger at Barack Obama for any delays in the clean-up in the aftermath of the devastating tornadoes that have hit the Midwest and the South. Nor should they.
Remember when the rap singer Kanye West said in the aftermath of Katrina that George Bush didn’t care about Black people? Well….the ABC news report included an interview with Shirley Billingsley, a 69-year-old black woman who saw her home significantly damaged by the tornado that hit Tuscaloosa. Billingsley said during the interview that “Obama came in and said we’re gonna help everybody. That’s a lie.”
I am sorry for the loss you are facing, Ms. Billingsley, but the truth is that President Obama now, just like President Bush in the past, cannot wave a magic wand and restore your city overnight or in 30 days. The media won’t tell you that because they reserve the right to bash a government official they don’t like the next time Mother Nature inflicts tragedy on some area of the country.