Brent Bozell
The fifth anniversary of Hurricane Katrina recalls a horror show on two levels. There's the actual disaster, which killed hundreds of people, and then there's the media smear job on the Bush administration and first responders. No one should forget pompous grandstanders like "NBC Nightly News" anchor Brian Williams signing off three months after the floods from the Lower Ninth Ward: "This is a neighborhood that's been left to die."

How those network anchors loved hurricane hyperbole! Williams, for one, lectured the nation that the hurricane should "necessitate a national discussion on race, on oil, politics, class, infrastructure, the environment and more." He underlined that a top local radio station decided not to air President Bush's remarks from the city since "nothing he could say could ever help them deal with the dire situation unfolding live in the streets of New Orleans, where people were still dying during his visit."

It never mattered to these nattering nabobs that, as Popular Mechanics magazine documented, Katrina spurred by far the largest and fastest rescue effort in American history, with nearly 100,000 emergency personnel arriving on the scene within three days of the storm's landfall, rescuing an estimated 50,000 residents.

Not content to attack Bush on just his own program, Williams took to comedy shows to unload more spin. He lectured to Jon Stewart on how cities less black than New Orleans would have seen a lot more helicopter rescues. Williams proudly took that attack directly to Bush three months after the storm. "After the tragedy, I heard someone ask rhetorically, 'What if this had been Nantucket, Mass., or Inner Harbor Baltimore, or Chicago or Houston?' Are you convinced the response would have been the same? Was there any social or class or race aspect to the response?"

On the first anniversary of Katrina, Williams repeated the mudslinging, citing radical-left black professor Michael Eric Dyson in Bush's face: "A lot of Americans are always going to believe that that weekend, that week, you were watching something on television other than what they were seeing, and Professor Dyson from the University of Pennsylvania said on our broadcast last night it was because of your patrician upbringing, that it's a class issue."

Bush shot back: "Dyson doesn't know. I don't know Dyson, and Dyson doesn't know me."

But Williams didn't care. His cartoon was perfect.

Williams later appeared on PBS and boasted, "You can't give distance. I don't mean that in a Jets vs. Sharks way. I'm not an adversary." That's laughable. He insisted Bush "appreciates the swordfight of a crackling good conversation."


Brent Bozell

Founder and President of the Media Research Center, Brent Bozell runs the largest media watchdog organization in America.
 
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