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Across the cable and broadcast news landscape, the term "Trump's Katrina" is being bandied about on political roundtable discussions and analysis segments focused on COVID-19 coronavirus coverage.
Before coronavirus, "Trump's Katrina" was used plenty of other times as the media's main focus in political coverage from day one of the Trump presidency to predict, cheer-on or actively engage in events that would lead to the president's destruction.
Becket Adams at the Washington Examiner details the dozens of "Katrina moments" the media has identified in just three short years, including the border crisis (which Democrats and the media insisted wasn't a crisis until they thought it could be "Trump's Katrina" and then they decided it was a crisis), and, of course, when hurricanes ripped through Houston and Puerto Rico, it was a no-brainer the media would instinctively declare they were sure to be "Trump's Katrina" because, well, they're pretty lazy.
At a time when Americans are in real need of facts and information regarding a rapidly spreading, contagious disease that has proven to be devastatingly fatal in other parts of the world, the mainstream media insists on shooting this public health story through the lens of presidential electoral politics. That's because they've reached a point where it's all they know how to do.
We've gone from the age of the 24-hour news cycle to the age of the 24-hour Washington, D.C., politics as it pertains to Donald Trump news cycle. And that's not good. It's not good for journalism, it's not goor for the president and it's not good for America.
Not everything is directly related to President Donald Trump, but cable and broadcast newsrooms have been re-tooled and staffed-up to cover this president like no other president before. Immediately following an interview with a scientist or doctor specializing in contagious diseases, your favorite cable news anchor will pivot their swivel chair and turn to a roundtable of four D.C. journalists to discuss the impact on the Trump presidency. Inevitably, someone will claim that this "could be Trump's Katrina moment."
We are witnessing political analysis of a deadly disease for the purpose of cheering-on the destruction of a president because the establishment media is frustrated that all their prior attempts to destroy him have failed. It's ghoulish. It's also based on a false premise.
The only comparison between "Trump's Katrina" (take your pick of which Katrina you want, they're really all the same) and the actual Katrina is that the media twisted the events of Hurricane Katrina to harm President George W. Bush and that's exactly what they're doing now.
Katrina, we are told, has become a metaphor for a president failing to take decisive action to lead the country through a crisis. But, when one views the actual events of Hurricane Katrina, there is plenty of fault to go around when it comes to government failures. Furthermore, government failure began and was most devastating at the local and state level, but the mayor of New Orleans and governor of Louisiana were Democrats (the former currently serving a ten-year sentence for corruption), so naturally, the blame had to fall at the hands of the Republican president.
The media will do whatever they can possibly do to harm this presidency. They've gone from fake scandal to fake collusion to fake impeachment to fake mental incapacity and the president still enjoys support within his party and about the same support across the country. So they now throw this latest "Katrina" against the wall to see if it will stick.
There is a lesson to be learned for President Trump in looking back at how Katrina harmed the Bush presidency and it has everything to do with the fundamental difference between the 45th president and the 43rd.
When the media began their steady drumbeat of "blame Bush" for deaths and destitution in New Orleans, Bush ignored them. When they claimed Bush didn't care about the hurricane victims because they were predominantly African-American, he took the high road. When the media fabricated a narrative of 3rd world lawlessness by repeating unsubstantiated rumors of rapes, murders and even cannibalism at the Superdome and other Katrina shelters, Bush didn't see fit to step up and chastise the media for contributing to panic and hysteria rather than reporting the truth.
That's the real message for any president looking back on the shameful Katrina era. One suspects President Trump understands this lesson. As long as he keeps fighting back, COVID-19 will not become "Trump's Katrina."
Larry O'Connor hosts two separate radio programs on WMAL in Washington DC and on KABC in Los Angeles. He has a daily, 30-minute podcast covering U.S. Politics and featuring interviews with newsmakers and pundits on the biggest stories of the day. Subscribe here.