The former seems to describe the handling of Hurricane Sandy, and the latter of Katrina.
Yet, did President Obama really handle Sandy masterfully, and President Bush botch Katrina abysmally? Bethany Mandel has the details.
The pictures from New Orleans after Katrina were iconic. Stories breathlessly filed from the Superdome warned of rampant crimes, inadequate access to basic sanitation, even babies getting raped (which was later proven to be a rumor). CNN’s Anderson Cooper berated Senator Mary Landrieu on air about the government’s response to the storm. Spike Lee made an entire documentary about the impact the hurricane had on the city and its residents. Famously, during a telethon for Katrina’s victims, rapper Kanye West told viewers, “George Bush doesn’t care about black people.”
After Katrina, President George W. Bush was lambasted for FEMA’s response to the storm. Those aware of the situation in Far Rockaway and other hard-hit areas of New York know that the situation isn’t much different than New Orleans post-Katrina. New York City Councilman James Sanders, who represents the Rockaways, gave a chilling interview to a Boston NPR affiliate, stating:
“FEMA did not arrive in a timely fashion, nor did the Red Cross,” Richards said. “If it wasn’t for everyday citizens coming out and giving us a hand, the Rockaways would be in a shape that is unfathomable.”
Richards said that FEMA didn’t arrive until last Thursday, and he says the agency initially set up in an area that was inaccessible to poorer residents.
“Every 24 hours that goes by, we get into a more desperate situation so FEMA has to respond quicker. I know we have a billion things to do but in a low-income area with 30 percent of the people on some sort of income subsidy we need them to move fast and move now,” Richards said.
FEMA was unavailable for comment.
Electricity is starting to return to the Rockaways, but many homes still lack heat and hot water. Gasoline is still in short supply.
“We’re running into a desperate situation, especially as winter starts to greet us,” Richards said. “[Our residents] are still sleeping in the cold – many of our children, our elderly! And not only is it cold, but they’re sleeping in wet apartments.”
Richards says the situation in public housing has also been dire. He said a 77-year-old man died on Saturday, because he fell down an unlit staircase. He is also concerned that many crimes may have gone unreported, because communication has been spotty with the New York City Housing Authority.
“No one will know how many rapes have happened in the Rockaways, how many burglaries, how many murders. No one will have accurate information on these things until months pass by after this post-Sandy era disappears,” Richards said.
Why has the press mainly been MIA regarding Sandy? Why isn't it that journalists didn't deal with the honest fact that we call gigantic storms like this "natural disasters" for a good reason - that man can only do so much in the face of them, no matter what? Why is it that the president who is a Democrat pretty much got a bye from the press, and the president who is a Republican got excoriated?
Yes; that's a rhetorical question. I think we know the "why" to those questions....