Ten years have elapsed since one of the most amazing cases of Republican-bashing media bias in the television era began. The media elites laugh when preachers say immorality causes God to send hurricanes, but they suggested with straight faces that Hurricane Katrina was a death sentence President George W. Bush and his cronies brought to the less fortunate.
In the early spin, race-baiting rapper Kanye West and "objective" anchors like Brian Williams were in rhetorical sync: George Bush didn't care about black people. On "The Daily Show," Williams told Jon Stewart "everyone" knew Bush would have done better if white people were endangered: "Everyone watching the coverage all week, that kind of reached its peak last weekend, kept saying the same refrain: 'How is this happening in the United States?' And the other refrain was, 'Had this been Nantucket, had this been Boston, Cleveland, Chicago, Miami, Los Angeles, how many choppers would have --'"
Williams couldn't finish. The liberal audience drowned him in applause.
A year later, Williams was pressing Bush about being a bigot, harboring a "social or race or class aspect" in the federal response, then inviting in radical professor Michael Eric Dyson to denounce the Bush family as "clueless patricians."
It didn't matter how many tens of thousands were saved by federal, state and local first responders in helicopters and boats. The never-ending political commercial called the "news" was in heavy rotation. It wasn't considered the least bit impolite or inaccurate for hard-left blogs like the Daily Kos to proclaim New Orleans the scene of a mass murder: "We let the Republicans kill a major U.S. city. We let them laugh about it and walk away."
On his NBC primetime special a year after Katrina in 2006, Williams treated New Orleans as the most dangerous town on Earth, complete with weird boasts like: "I carried a case of Vienna sausage ... as collateral in case we had a smash-and-grab carjacking. I was going to offer it to someone in exchange for my life." Williams claimed he was so starving for food that "I remember seeing a box of Slim Jims and thinking, 'That's better than any restaurant meal right now. That's the greatest thing I've ever seen.'"
The section of the French Quarter from which Williams was reporting suffered minimal flooding, and in some parts, no flooding. There were no bodies floating. The city's former health director has declared that no one in the city was treated for dysentery, even a month after the flooding. (Besides, how does one "accidentally" drink floodwaters, as he claims?) The manager of the Ritz-Carlton (where he stayed) actually won an award for keeping the place safe from roving gangs with a cadre of police.
Most damning of all: Williams wrote a daily blog on NBC.com during this time. Nowhere did he report floating bodies, dysentery or gangs.
The credibility of this man is shot -- and now that MSNBC is about to take him on, its credibility is shot as well.