Why did the media know more than the government this week?

All week long, anyone reading a newspaper, listening to the radio, watching a television, or checking a blog in their RSS reader knew more than the President of the United States and his high-level staff seemed to know about what was going on in New Orleans, Gulfport, Biloxi, and everywhere else torn up by Hurricane Katrina.

There was Robert Siegel explaining the Convention Center to Secretary of Homeland Security Michael Chertoff.

There was the President, fresh from vacation, joking about the possibility of sitting on Trent Lott’s rebuilt porch.

There was the parade of administration officials acting like things were fine and dandy.

And then there was reality.

Slate’s Jack Shafer has a great collection of the most stunning media moments of the week.

CNN has a great riff on the Big Disconnect.

The BBC wonders if this is a turning point in the relationship between the reality-based community mainstream mass media and the current government.

How do you think the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina has changed the way Americans of all races, classes, and political persuasions view this government, or any government?

There are those who will find ways to justify the Iraq war. There are plenty of people who will say this government had no reason to anticipate 9/11. But is there anyone at all who will stand up and say the government was prepared for this? Is there anyone at all who will defend a government that turns its back on its people in their hour of need? Is there anyone at all who will say “No, the Federal government isn’t obligated to save lives quickly and efficiently in the event of a natural disaster?” Has our government become an insurance company?

[tags]Katrina, Bush, Crawford, Media, Disconnect, Journalism[/tags]

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