Sunday, September 04, 2005

NY Times: Eerily Non-prescient

In the post-Katrina blame game, much has been made of the eerily prescient articles in the New Orleans Times-Picayune and Scientific American, predicting with deadly accuracy the disaster awaiting New Orleans. No less an authority than the New York Times' famed meteorologist Maureen Dowd, with her trademark blend of mature insight, clever wordplay, and sober analysis, offers this nugget of now-conventional wisdom:
Who on earth could have known that New Orleans's sinking levees were at risk from a strong hurricane? Anybody who bothered to read the endless warnings over the years about the Big Easy's uneasy fishbowl.
An unsigned NYT editorial dispenses with Dowd's qualification that people needed to actually read the "endless" warnings, stating that "everyone knew [the disaster] was coming." [emph added]

Everyone, that is, except New York Times readers the day before Katrina slammed into the Gulf Coast. Because the Times did not run a single article on Katrina on Sunday the 28th! Readers of the paper of record only learned of the storm's potential with their Monday morning coffee, as Katrina was making landfall.

Remember (as NY Times editors won't)-- George Bush was already actively preparing the federal response, and urging the governor and heel-dragging mayor to order an evacuation on Saturday the 27th, as detailed in the New Orleans Times-Picayune:
President Bush declared a state of emergency in Louisiana, authorizing federal emergency management officials to release federal aid and coordinate disaster relief efforts...New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin followed at 5 p.m., issuing a voluntary evacuation. Nagin said late Saturday that he's having his legal staff look into whether he can order a mandatory evacuation of the city, a step he's been hesitant to do because of potential liability on the part of the city for closing hotels and other businesses.
These dramatic developments, along with the rapid intensification of Katrina, went completely unreported in the hundreds of pages in the Sunday New York Times (though bloggers such as Brendan Loy and Instapundit were on top of the story on Saturday).

The paper was not devoid of references to hurricanes that Sunday, however. A Lexis-Nexis search turns up three (in retrospect, bizarre) hits with the keyword "hurricane":

  1. An eerily non-prescient review of a book entitled "FALSE ALARM: The Truth About the Epidemic of Fear," By Marc Siegel.
  2. An eerily non-prescient warning of a major hurricane that might devastate -- Long Island!
  3. A women's fashion feature, titled "IS THERE A DIVA IN THE HOUSE?"

I guess we were supposed to read between the lines.

(for more NY Times hypocrisy, see this Powerline piece, via NRO's Media Blog, by way of Don Luskin, courtesy of EU Rota)


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I liked reading it. It was thought-provoking. Keep blogging!!

This is Joshua from Israeli Uncensored News

12:20 AM  

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