Thursday, February 09, 2006

The associated press gets it right

Well, mostly right:

The Bush administration has requested and received congressional approval so far for 68 billion dollars for disaster relief and recovery, as well as 18.5 billion for flood insurance. White House officials have said another 18 billion dollars in aid will be requested, of which a portion will be devoted to strengthening New Orleans levees.*

Don't know where the extra billion came from and it still gives the impression that flood insurance money was somehow optional aid sought by the administration and granted by congress. But it's a step in the right direction.

Maybe I'm being alarmist, but I'm afraid that $100 billion is going to be played for maximum shock value in certain quarters. Just imagine the exclamation points in their voices everytime Rush, Sean, Tom Tancredo etal. say, "100 billion dollars, it's abottomless pit." Though it will ultimately need to reach $100B, especially once levee repairs are included, let's not allow the administration to claim to have reached that milestone when it's nowhere near it.

We all know that the alleged $85B contains $18B to fund the flood insurance program (see da po'blog. I missed it the first time, just noticed the particularly egregious error MSNBC made in one of the links in that post). If I'm correct, the new $18B is going to turn out to include another $5.6B to fund NFIP. Once the $85B (soon to be over $100B) is shown to be exaggerated by $18.5 to $24B, it will be a lot easier to question whether money to repair military bases or faultily constructed levees should be counted as aid. But once the $100B is accepted, every additional dollar will be that much harder to get.

With that in mind, I challenge everyone who spends time blogging or even posting comments on blogs to email at least one mainstream media source. It's quick and easy; you don't need to compose a pithy letter to the editor designed to be published--I suspect a dozen quick emails to a public editor get more attention than one missive worthy of Thomas Paine. If you didn't like the sound in Bush's voice when he said $85B is a lot, imagine when it's $100b. So once again, the email addresses for the WAPO's ombudsman and NYT's public editor:

Byron Calame, public editor of the NYT:

Deborah Howell, WAPO ombudsman:

Actually, I only received an automted response from the NYT, Deborah Howell at least indicated that she would send it to the person in charge of New Orleans coverage, for whatever that's worth.

With CNN or MSNBC, you can pick a particular show or the entire network, it helps to cite a particular example. The ones I wrote about are now a week old.

*longer version of AP story in print edition of today's T/P, couldn't find it online.

FWIW - I contacted the only major publication I have "ties" to last week.
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