PARALLEL UNIVERSE: Media Is Strangely Silent About Obama's 'Katrina': It's Called 'Sandy'

By David M. Kinchen

BrasscheckTV sends out a video suggesting that Hurricane Sandy, which contributed to Barack Obama's re-election, is really Obama's Katrina -- in reverse -- a Katrina that covers far more territory and affects more people. Remember Katrina, when the news media blamed everything on President George W. Bush and his ineptly led FEMA?

Seven years later, the same inept FEMA has been credited with superior performance in aiding victims of Hurricane Sandy. This Brasscheck TV video suggests otherwise:

Ken McCarthy is the guy behind brasscheckTV, which gets its name from a 1920 book by muckraker Upton Sinclair:

From Ken McCarthy's wikipedia entry:

"The content of Brasscheck is the property of the First Amendment Defense Trust. This organization was created after McCarthy's investigation of the San Francisco 49ers stadium bond issue election.

"BrasscheckTV features videos on a wide range of contemporary topics, available via e-mail subscription. Ken McCarthy has been an advocate of alternative media. He is quoted in an interview on July 9, 2007, with Wes Unruh, of, describing traditional news reporting;

"I think because traditional news reporting is so incredibly inept, most people that are interested in what's going on have pretty much figured out that you can't rely on anything that appears in the news anymore, if you ever could. If you're going to get any information you're going to have to piece it together yourself, and that's what the Internet is for...But that's a relatively small percentage of the population. Most people are either not interested in the news, probably fifty, sixty percent, and another huge portion is willing to accept whatever they're told. So for that small percentage of people that really wants to know, the Internet's been a blessing and I think it will be very persistent."

"McCarthy talked about in a July 2007 interview on Alterati:

"WU: So it's that is your primary independent journalist site at this point?

"KM: Yeah, I've gotten lazy in my old age, basically I just go out and find good videos and then I put them up on the site. Then I write about them and send people to them. And occasionally I do something on my own, like the Scott Ritter interview, but the bulk of the stuff is stuff I find on the Internet. I think what I'm doing, the service that I offer is that I'm putting the videos into context and giving people background on the significance of what they're actually seeing sometimes in these videos, as a way of connecting them to other phenomenon that's going on.

"In 1999, McCarthy collaborated with filmmaker Rick Goldsmith to create an online archive of the work of American investigative journalist George Seldes (1890–1995) in support of Goldsmith's Academy Award-nominated film "Tell the Truth and Run: George Seldes and the American Press."

The name McCarthy gave to his own investigative efforts — "Brasscheck" — came from a book by Upton Sinclair about which George Seldes made the following comment:

"In 1920, Upton Sinclair, an outsider to journalism, wrote 'The Brass Check', the first book exposing the press. It was this book, plus a friendship with the author lasting many years, that influenced me and the books I wrote on the press, beginning in the 1930s." The brass check referred to was a token given to brothel customers (after they paid) to present to the prostitute of their choice.

In 1995, McCarthy organized and sponsored a conference on the topic of using the web as a local publishing medium to assist community building.

Projects that came out of that conference include one of the first detailed studies of an election fraud to appear in any medium (the 1997 49er Stadium bond issue in San Francisco); a virtual museum dedicated to recovering the forgotten story of one of San Francisco's most historically important neighborhoods (the Fillmore); and documentation of the largest and most successful maritime evacuation in history (New York City on September 11, 2001.

McCarthy has also worked with challenged communities — Hudson, New York and New Orleans, Louisiana — to develop strategies to use the web to organize citizens and engage in public education and outreach. His work in Hudson resulted in the defeat of a plan to build what would have been North America's largest coal fired cement plant on the banks of the Hudson River.

Since 2006, McCarthy has worked with, the New Orleans-based organization dedicated to ensuring that New Orleans' levees are rebuilt correctly and that levees in other parts of the country with similar engineering flaws are tended to and repaired.

Joseph Curl of The Washington Times also slams the woeful efforts of FEMA in aiding Sandy's victims (link:

"A former top official from the George W. Bush White House and I play a game via email," Curl writes. "The slug of each message is always — 'Imagine If Bush Had' followed by some egregious act by President Obama.

"The latest email was, of course, about Hurricane Sandy. Imagine if former President Bush had popped into a hurricane-ravaged region, walked around with a few federal officials for an hour, hugged distraught and sobbing women, then headed off to Las Vegas, bounding off Air Force One with a huge smile, waving to adoring fans?

"Imagine if the bashed and thrashed 43rd president had popped over toFEMA for a 30-minute photo op, then jetted off for yet another campaign rally with Hollywood celebs?

"Before we go on, let’s set the record straight about Hurricane Katrina. On Aug. 29, 2005, New Orleans Mayor C. Ray Nagin issued a mandatory evacuation order for the city — hours after the storm had become a Category 5 and just 19 hours before it made landfall. More than 60,000 residents ignored the order — or couldn’t get out in time. The mayor then failed to deploy thousands of buses that could have ferried out 12,000 people per fleet run. He didn’t even move the buses themselves to higher ground — a day later, they were window-high in water, useless.

"For at least three days, both the mayor and Louisiana Gov. Kathleen Blanco repeatedly told the White House they had the situation under control — until they suddenly turned and blamed the federal government for everything.

"City and state officials had an emergency plan but failed to implement it. In fact, 13 months before the hurricane, local, state and federal officials had conducted an elaborate drill with the assumption that 300,000 had failed to evacuate for just such a catastrophic storm. But after Katrina struck, instead of evacuating the people who wouldn’t or couldn’t get out, officials sent them to the damaged Superdome, where there was little food and water. More than 30,000 descended on the stadium. City officials thought the state was handling supplies; state officials thought the city was in control. Chaos ensued.

"Primary response is — and has always been — the responsibility of local officials. The Federal Emergency Management Agency is not the first responder, and in fact can only go in when a state’s governor requests such aid — a move the governor called for way too late. And that infamous picture of the cold-hearted president flying over the destruction in New Orleans? He cut short his travels and, returning to the White House, didn’t want to swoop in for a photo op, demanding precious resources — just as Mr. Obama did last week, with no complaints by the compliant media.

“'This continues to be my number one priority,' the president said at his FEMA photo-op Saturday before skipping back off to the campaign trail. Lest any reporter think the federal response was ever not Mr. Obama’s No. 1 priority, a campaign flack aboard Air Force One said, “He’s focused on it every minute he’s not on the stage.”

"Play the game one more time: 'Imagine if Bush had said that?'

"Mr. Obama and his top aides flustered and blustered and bloviated over their superior pre-storm planning. The president vowed that nothing — nothing — would stop him from saving New York and New Jersey from the vicious storm. He pledged to be on the case around the clock, come hell or high water. And then he blew out of town, headed to Vegas.

"The storm hit one week ago. What is the status of the states hardest hit? Dire. There are still 2.5 million without power, and temperatures have dipped into the 20s (another powerful storm is blowing up the coast and expected to hit the region by midweek). Bodies are still being recovered in Staten Island. Chaos reigns in the streets of the outer boroughs. Residents have taken up arms — baseball bats, machetes, shotguns — as crime and looting soar. Handmade signs popped up: “Looters Will Be Shot” and “Block Protected By Smith & Wesson

“'It’s like the Wild West, a borderline lawless situation,' said one resident as he stockpiled knives, a machete and a bow and arrow.

"Just a day after the storm, frightened citizens queued up for hours in lines to buy gas: Five days later, when the federal governmentannounced free gas (well, free for storm victims; U.S. taxpayers foot the bill), thousands flooded the handout sites. Armed police battled some who cut lines as frustration ran high. At one site for free gas, the line was 16 hours long.

"Six days after the storm, officials distributed dry ice (uh, a refrigerator’s contents spoils in about six hours without power). FEMA ran out of potable water to hand out to the trapped and powerless Saturday — the agency hadn’t ordered more until late Friday, so new shipments aren’t expected until Monday at the earliest.

"By Sunday, New York Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg felt safe enough to hit the streets. “When are we gonna get some f–ing help?” one woman asked bluntly. And more federal officials were on their way: Department of Homeland Security Chief Janet A. Napolitano strolled the hardest-hit areas, again with egoist Chris Christie.

"Nowhere, so far at least, are the obvious questions: Why didn’t FEMA set up gas reserves well in advance? The storm was on the radar screen for more than a week, and a direct hit was never in doubt. How about food, water, even generators? All could have been positioned nearby and moved in quickly after Sandy hit. And a week later, the stranded are still asking: Why is it taking so long?

"In the Rockaways, brutalized by the storm, residents are getting desperate. “Politicians are just driving by in their nice cars. Why don’t they come speak to us and tell us what we need to do?” Kathy Gambino said to the New York Post.

"Shaun L.S. Donovan, secretary of Housing and Urban Development, did a photo-op in the Rockaways on Sunday morning. Asked about the lack of help, he said: 'The Rockaways are absolutely not forgotten. This morning at 8 a.m. I was with the president, the entire Cabinet. We were talking about the Rockaways'.”

"Talking? Imagine if Bush had ?"


Yes, I say, imagine that, when you ask yourself if there's a double standard when it comes to reporting on governmental action -- or inaction.

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