While Cantor and Perry were painted as loons, Democrats were portrayed as the dictionary definition of responsiveness. On Sunday, NBC "Meet the Press" host David Gregory read former President George W. Bush's Katrina regrets from his memoir, and then expressed delight at the Twitter messages of liberal Newark Mayor Cory Booker. "Heading on a pizza run. I'm going to deliver 10 pizzas to those standing in our shelter at JFK," boasted the mayor. Gregory turned to a radical-left professor guest with a please-bash-Bush softball. "If you have the contrast, Michael Eric Dyson, between President Bush regretting the fact that he did a flyover of the storm zone, and here's Mayor Booker personally delivering pizzas."
Last December, NBC offered the same gooey congratulations to Newark's mayor during a massive snowstorm. "Nightly News" anchorman Brian Williams celebrated Booker as a "one-man snow removal machine," shoveling constituent sidewalks and helping get an ambulance to a dialysis patient.
But the most jaw-dropping hurricane spin preceding Irene came when several networks presented Ray Nagin, the famously incompetent mayor of New Orleans, as an expert on hurricane preparedness. The networks forgot, but people remembered the pictures of a lot filled with flooded buses never used to evacuate the poor and news of the mayor who fled Katrina for the safety of Dallas. Jokes immediately popped up on Twitter. "Bringing on Ray Nagin to talk about hurricane preparedness is like bringing on Michael Moore to talk about weight loss."
On Friday morning, CBS "Early Show" host Chris Wragge not only failed to ask Nagin about his failures in New Orleans, but called him an "expert in the field" twice and concluded by oozing to Nagin, "if people aren't heeding the advice of their local officials, they should definitely heed your advice."
On Friday afternoon, MSNBC interviewed Nagin...twice. "Hardball" substitute host Chris Jansing made a complete mockery of the show's name by never asking Nagin about his own failures, getting no closer to reality than asking, "Do you think that there are lessons learned from Katrina that can make this one not so bad? Not so painful?"
At least mid-afternoon anchor Martin Bashir asked Nagin to accept blame for his own failures during Katrina, albeit after touting him as an expert who'd arrived to "explain what leaders must do to avoid the mistakes that were made six years ago."
You turn on the TV because you just want to track the storm. Instead, you have to brace for another thunderous surge of insufferable analysis and lectures about how crazy conservatives don't care if people live or die.