September 02, 2005

"There is a more than adequate law enforcement presence in New Orleans." 

I was trained as a journalism to be skeptical about public statements by government officials. I try to maintain healthy skepticism rather than let myself descend into caustic cynicism. But statements like the one above, but Secretary of Homeland Security Michael Chertoff, add to the challenge. Chertoff's statement came amid other similar assertions we might politely call spin if we were in a forgiving mood, during a tense interview with Robert Siegal on last night's All Things Considered. Does Chertoff think we don't watch live TV reports showing the ongoing disaster in Hurricane Katrina's wake? Should we think everything's fine simply because he says so? NPR's reporter John Burnett was there at the New Orleans convention center, describing the continuing horrors of people by the thousands without food and water with no help in sight. Chertoff said help is there on the ground. Hmmm, what to believe? BTW, here's the report by NPR's John Burnett, providing a slightly different view.

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