Talk:Allegations President Bush staged photo-ops in aftermath of Hurricane Katrina tragedy

From Wikinews, the free news source you can write!
Jump to navigation Jump to search


Liberals, esp. Cowicide, please don't kill this article by bitching and screaming, and pissing people off. How you can help: It is widely known that Landrieu is disliked in conservative circles. Can we find a way to include this without making the article POV? Have I gotten everything else?

First of all, we are "extreme moderates", not "Liberals". Get your little labels straight. In response to all the mindless clucking, IP banning and censorship of the original article: Hahaha... Yeah, all this IP banning sure is working... (not even slowing us down) The sad thing is, there was a non-technical solution in the first place... The right-wing extremist Mr. Misc/EdBrown should have just been polite when he first approached us instead of launching unprovoked insults/mindless commentary from the beginning. There are 2 things you folks can't seem to cope with... the FACT that there were people that actually did support us... yep, real people... (I'm sure that hurts your little egos) and the FACT that Mr. Miss/EdBrown attacked us unprovoked. Sorry if the truth hurts but anyone can look at the history page and clearly see this. BTW, We've already been back and contributing right under Mr. Misc's nose (It's amazing how often mean people are also complete idiots at the same time). So... How to really prevent all this again? Simple. Be polite to "newcomers" and have the guts to "call out" each other in your little club when you see unprovoked rudeness launched on others. You know, show some character. All this clucking and squawking is truly a waste of your time. Put all that effort into character building instead. Mr. Misc/EdBrown... as far as you go... don't bother... you have no character to build upon... just crawl back into your dark hole. - Cow 18:24, 16 September 2005 (UTC)

Conservatives, esp. MrMisc, please respect that this is a major news story. It is being treated as such by the world media, and not treating it discredits wikinews. How you can help: I owe MtMisc a Trent Lott quote on how now is not the time for blame, but I can't find it on the internet. Can you find it and make it fit somehow? (nontrivial) Have I been fair otherwise?

My *suggestion* is that Americans, with strong political opinions, should not publish, de-publish, protect, or unprotect this article, as it appears to be too sensitive a topic for us. Feel free to "improve" it, but leave the more administrative actions to others. Moreover, please keep your **** flame war on the other article's talk page (it will take some time to be deleted anyway). - Nyarlathotep 22:56, 5 September 2005 (UTC)

This afternoon, I learned from NPR that Bush spent some of his time today visiting relief centers in Baton Rouge. So my question to you is this: what makes this article newsworthy and that incident today non-newsworthy? This is an honest question; I'm interested in hearing everyone's replies.
If Bush was staging photo ops earlier this week, he's also spend part of the week at more relevant places. Personally, I fail to see how not reporting either of these minutiae "discredits wikinews," and this is coming from a liberal American fervently opposed to Bush's policies and who did not vote for him in 2000 or 2004. There are enough things Bush has done wrong that there is no need to use Wikinews an yet another soapbox.
To be sure, Cowicide has made a mess of Talk:LA Senator Claims Bush Staged Photo Op; except for reverting vandalism, most of us have abandoned it. He's welcome to participate here and elsewhere provided he doesn't make a damned fool of himself again—but he should register a new account and stop the anonymous sockpuppeteering.*) 23:50, 5 September 2005 (UTC)
Simply because no one cases when you visit a relief center, as everyone does photo-ops, but everyone cares a lot if you fake one. Seems a very reasonable perspective to me. I considered bringing this issue out more in the article (by saying that it was no clear if she was accusing Bush of "stealing" aid to do a photo-op) but every time I tried to say it, it came out as Bush bashing, so I just kept my mouth shut. I mean how can you move a crain temporarily without misusing aid resources?
Anyway, it is appropriate to mention a few real relief center visits here though. Due to the nature of the article though, it would be good to get some corroberation that they are real, which should be doable.. hey maybe we can even use the local reporting tag.  :) Okay, I'll grant you that NPR is pretty reliable. - Nyarlathotep 00:15, 6 September 2005 (UTC)
I don't understand. What you're saying seems akin to "no one cares if Bush does a good thing, but it's quite reasonable to point out when he fails to do a good thing." What's more, in the absence of corroborating evidence, why assume that moving cranes (or anything else Bush did during the photo-op) was a misappropriation of resources?
I have a better idea for a story. We could combine all the places Bush has been at since the Hurriance touched down last week into a single article, such as "Bush Visits Stricken Region After Hurricane Katrina." The photo op accusation could take up, say, one paragraph in that story ('tearful' bit and all), but then it would move on to report where else he'd been. Sounds fair, or would it be biased to transform this story into that?*) 01:04, 6 September 2005 (UTC)
Okay, the last sentence of the second to last paragraph is a test for Ardonik. Does the vague reference to missusing aid resource help explain it?
I think the article's contents are okay. I just question its newsworthiness.*) 01:04, 6 September 2005 (UTC)

Okay, your correct about no verifications bening necessary. Most photo-ops would be real. So a paragraph about real photo-ops should be included at some point.

The story your proposing is not biased, but it is clearly not this story. This story is about accusations of faking photo-ops, or "offensive" PR manuvers in general. I don't really care about any politician going to any legit photo-op, and I would never write a story about such a thing, but I'm quite interested when they get caught pandering to the cameras, or faking a photo-op.

I feel I've been consistant and fair in applying that perspective / motivation for writing stories. I was the first (and maybe only) one to post about Landreiu's "heartless string of thank yous". It interested me for the same reason this article interests me.

So if you want to see the story you describe, why not write it yourself, and post it as a seperate story. I see two very diffrent narative lines here, which complement one another by crosslinking. - Nyarlathotep 03:19, 6 September 2005 (UTC)

Further thoughts on the above:

To tread on dangerous ground, if someone were to change this story into a general photo-op story, I would intuitively asses the a priori chances of various motivations roughly as follows:

(10%) wanting to sound like the ordinary media
(10%) wanting to generally support the U.S.A.
(30%) wanting to punish flame wars on other wikinews stories
(50%) wanting to make the story favor Bush

Now "Motivation" is not the same as "in story bias". We need motivation, even with bias, as it creates stories. No one writes otherwise. Sometimes, we are biased against the existance of a story, even if it is mostly NPOV. For example, I don't think your story suggestion is particularly interesting. But that bias should show itself by simply not helping the story. Don't try to fundamentally change a fully developed narrative line which is approching NPOV, as this just sabotages someone else's work.

Its obviously diffrent when people just post links without commentary to information they consider is important. By doing that, they have proposed no narrative line, so you take it in your own direction. This is not one of those cases.

Adding my own $0.02 here, I don't mind most of this story except for the German news media quip at the end, which has nothing to do with Landrieu but instead shows clear political bias and an intention to try and slam Bush. It is also unsubstantiated and has no reliable source nor second source to confirm the observation. If Landrieu wants to stick her neck out on a limb and claim that President Bush is doing this for pure political purposes, we are just reporting what is going on. This story needs to stick to that point. Political consequences good or ill will fall on Landrieu, just as they have for the mayor of New Orleans who had to explain personally to the President what he meant by all of that talk about how the Federal government has abandoned New Orleans. BTW, the mayor apologized personally to Pres. Bush as well, and somehow it seems like Landrieu may as well some time in the future, but that is for her to do. As it stands right now, this does not have a NPOV. --Robert Horning 04:47, 6 September 2005 (UTC)
I know I'm commenting on my comment, but I do want to make an observation here: The breach in the flood walls that caused all of the problems for the streets of New Orleans is now fixed and water is being extracted from New Orleans. Landrieu (from my POV) knows diddly squat about engineering or what kinds of efforts that the Corp of Engineering was trying to accomplish with trying to fill the breach, and there are many reasons why a "lone crane" would be in place at the moment she happened to be flying overhead. That she used a "photo op" to push her point of view in this case also shows just how much of a politcal hack she has become. Still, this story has a place, and it is our place to report what she said, for good or ill. Just keep a NPOV and don't push the bias beyond what she actually said. --Robert Horning 05:02, 6 September 2005 (UTC)
The location of the breach (Hammond and Orpheum) is easily found on aerial photos, just south of the marinas full of boats. Zoom in, or find photos of it, and you'll see how little room there was to work in. Want to make dump trucks fill in a large working area or dumping fill in the gap? We'll probably hear in the news media from someone who knew the engineering. (SEWilco 06:00, 6 September 2005 (UTC))
For the record, though I'd still find an article on the general whereabouts of Bush more interesting, I'm fine with Robert Horning's suggestion. If we stick strictly to what the senator said and what the responses to what she said were, we can neutralize this article and leave the readers to jugde the wisdom of her words. I think further edits to this article should continue along those lines. We can start by removing the link.*) 07:09, 6 September 2005 (UTC)

my idiotic thought[edit]

what if it makes no sense to the fill breaches in levees until the water recedes somewhat, then instead of trapping the water inside New Orleans, it will flow out the same way it came in... -Edbrown05 05:33, 6 September 2005 (UTC)

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has for several days been opening levees where appropriate. In some cases making new breaks, in other cases opening existing gates intended for exactly this use. (SEWilco 05:54, 6 September 2005 (UTC))
Yes, I'd tend to trust the corps here, unlike FEMA they are competent. Moreover, any place situated below sea level has numerous pumping stations & such. A big part of the critisism of FEMA wass that they provided no assistance to the city people running the pumping stations. My guess is that the corps will fix the pumping stations quikly. - Nyarlathotep 10:26, 6 September 2005 (UTC)
Was FEMA help requested, and can that group help at a fully functional and operating pumping station? (SEWilco 19:41, 6 September 2005 (UTC))
What does fully functional have to do with it? The major relayed some requests for aid related to the pumping station. FEMA never provided it. And the pumping station went down. FEMA should be abolished and its obligations should be assigned to the army (and national guard). The army would not have screwed this up. Instead, we will probably get a new equally clueless emergency managment agency to waist even more tax payer money; and FEMA will remain useless. - Nyarlathotep 22:10, 6 September 2005 (UTC)
"they provided no assistance to the city people running the pumping stations"; so the pumps were running and the city was operating them. What was FEMA supposed to do? What did the mayor request and when? (SEWilco 06:47, 7 September 2005 (UTC))

Distraction removed[edit]

For the record, I support Ardinik's elimination of Cowidice's section of this talk page, as it was distracting and unhelpful. - Nyarlathotep 15:48, 6 September 2005 (UTC)

Please revert Robert Horning's changes[edit]

I believed that there was a weak consensus on the talk page that the ZDF News story was to be included, as (a) it talks about Landrieu and (b) it is a similar new accusation and hence relevant. As a balance to its tangentialness, Ardonik eliminated it from the sources and made it an inline link, which seems quite reasonable. But now Robert Horning has come along and eliminated both the paragraph and html comments containing notes on the sources version, and has de-published the story.

Had he merely eliminated the paragraph, I would have assumed that he was merely drawing the opposite conclusion about our consensus, which is normal enough. But depublishing and NPOVing the story AND making the only changes he mentioned on the talk page suggests that his "motivation" is more political. Can someone remove the npov and publish? I'm not going to do it myself, as I am an American and I began this talk page by specifically asking Americans to not do such things.

To speak to Robert Horning's complaints: ZDF News is a major European news agency, like BBC or CNN in German, wikinews will cover their accusations too. As ZDF's story is clearly the same vein of accusation, it makes sence to lump it into this article rather than giving it another one. But, if you object, this is all over German TV, and I am quite prepared to create another article about it. If you want to see some of the sources. Here is a translation of a live statment by Christine Adelhardt (ZDF) in Biloxi:

2 minutes ago the President drove past in his convoi. But what has happened in Biloxi all day long is truly unbelievable. Suddenly recovery units appeared, suddenly bulldozers were there, those hadn't been seen here all the days before, and this in an area, in which it really wouldn't be necessary to do a big clean up, because far and wide nobody lives here anymore, the people are more inland in the city. The President travels with a press baggage [big crew]. This press baggage got very beautiful pictures which are supposed to say, that the President was here and help is on the way, too. The extent of the natural disaster shocked me, but the extent of the staging is shocking me at least the same way. With that back to Hamburg.

Here are some videos in German:,4070,2370903-5,00.html,1315,OID4700936_RESreal256_PLYinternal_NAV_BAB,00.html

As to apologies, we should cover those two when they are issued, but your personal assesment of the probability of a future apology has no bearing on wheather the article should be posted here. However, I incurage Robert to write a closing paragraph for this article which mentioned the mayor's appology, as it makes an absolutely *wonderful* balance.

As I have forbidden myself from publishing or de-npoving this article, I will try to re-incorperate the ZDF News content, but I leave it to someone else to re-publish. - Nyarlathotep 15:07, 6 September 2005 (UTC)

Concerning your point (a), Landrieu is not refered to in the entire ZDF article. Neither by name or by her position. But I agree that (b) does bear some relevance to this story, since the article gives an account by a ZDF correspondent, who talks of similar things she claims to have witnessed in Biloxi. She says troops cleaned the path that Bush was walking during his visit of debris and also corpses but immediately left after Bush was gone. So, it is a similar accusation, but it again also has only source (one which I consider to be very reliant considering the reputation of the station, but that's just my opionion) and I'm not entirely certain that it bears enough relevance and connection to the Landrieu story that would justify incorporating it here. --Deprifry 15:24, September 6, 2005 (UTC)
Oops, my bad on (a), I got it confused with another one I saw. - Nyarlathotep 15:46, 6 September 2005 (UTC)
We can't distinguish here between cause and effect. If troops cleaned Bush's path and then left, they might have left because their assigned task there was completed and moved on to do the same elsewhere. Bush may have appeared there because the troops were there, or because it was a "front line" area in the cleanup. (SEWilco 16:48, 6 September 2005 (UTC))
Well, the two correspondents both seemed very certain and convincing. They stated that the troops appeared a few hours before President Bush's visit, did a little cleaning up, and vanished at the exact time when Bush + entourage left the area. --Deprifry 16:54, September 6, 2005 (UTC)

I have thickened out the discussion of the German coverage. It now has two sources, as their were complains about corroberation. I felt the paragraph was already to large to include any big translations of quotes, so we should discuss wheather the German coverage should be its own article now.

I also added a stub sentence for the Mayor's apology, which I do feel makes a nice closing. As I said, I'll let someone else pubblish this.. plus it probably needs a copyedit now. - Nyarlathotep 16:24, 6 September 2005 (UTC)

So there are two alegations that photo-ops were staged. This one story should be enough to handle these two separate allegations. Earlier, I tried to rename this story to: 'Allegations President Bush staged photo-ops amidst New Orleans tragedy', perhaps better is '... amidst Hurricane Katrina tragedy'. The server didn't respond to my rename request. I also think this story should be published now. -Edbrown05 17:51, 6 September 2005 (UTC)
I'm fine with your title suggestions, and I support publishing. - Nyarlathotep 18:31, 6 September 2005 (UTC)

Regarding reversion from publishing[edit]

First of all, I thought I raised a legitimate concern here about Landrieu not being mentioned at all in the German piece. The tone of this article has changed somewhat, and certainly it was better written by far than the earily "slam Bush" piece that was attempted earlier and then frozen by admins. Still, I believe this has a very strong POV, and goes against the general NPOV principle that we strive for with all Wikimedia pieces. I also gave some suggestions about how to clean it up, and I feel that if a Senator wants to speak her mind, that is news, and news that is of importances to Americans as well as other people throughout the world. I still feel that the article should have focused on that specific fact, and perhaps a new article started if you wanted to talk about a bunch of German press officials who wanted to make anti-Bush statements themselves. As it is, you still don't have the German Press articles in the citation, only within the story itself do you have link.

I know this is nitpicking, but if you are going to make citations of news agencies on Wikinews, we should do it in a consistant manner. If you want to include a link within the article text as well, that is another issue.

Basically, I'm trying to distinguish between what is political advocacy, which this article clearly was written as, and simple reporting of factual statements. It is not that difficult to create multiple stories about this subject, and the Hurricane already has close to 30 stories on Wikinews as it is.

I do have a political opinion of what happened with Bush, but that is besides the point. Stick to the facts, do hard journalism, get multiple sources, and write clean copy. If that had been done in this case, I wouldn't be complaining. Unfortunately, there is little actual journalism in the main-stream press anymore, so sometimes it is difficult to find a standard to compare against that reports "just the facts, 'mame." --Robert Horning 01:37, 7 September 2005 (UTC)

Why do you think the "bunch of German press officials" sole motivation was to make anti-Bush statements instead of just reporting what they saw? --Deprifry 12:59, September 7, 2005 (UTC)
I am strongly suggesting that is two different stories altogether. The part about Landrieu should have been a story, and it should have copied some sources from LA Senator Claims Bush Staged Photo Op as well that still aren't in this story. Yes, I could be bold and fix this story, but apparently changes I've made here aren't accepted by a couple of the other authors to this story, so I have chosen to completely wash my hands of trying to work on this at the moment. I still think I can voice my objections to how this article was written, and the whole part about the German press should have been another story altogether. It still reeks of a POV bias, and I would add the {{NPOV}} tag back in if it wouldn't get yanked out immediately in an edit war. The way this article reads is not a neutral article but an editorial instead. It is, however, considerably better than the earlier article written by many of the same authors of this piece also about Landrieu. The whole one-line quip at the end of this article by Mayor Nagin seems particularly out of place in this piece. That also should have been a completely seperate Wikinews article, and did have several sources available, none of which were cited. The article title change IMHO was also inappropriate, and had it been left alone I might have added some more sources and tried to clean this up myself in the very appropriate story about the comments by a Louisiana Senator. That is also why I tried to delete the stuff about the German Press, which had no relationship at all or mention to the comments by Landrieu other than they also criticized Bush about a supposed staged photo-op. For all of the aggrivation by all concerned over this story, had it been written as three different stories rather than trying to roll everything together into one piece trying to slam Bush, it would have gone quite a bit smoother for everybody. I still would have been objecting about what the German press said, but at least that would have been true reporting of factual statements.

Regarding the motivation of the German press to make anti-Bush statements, I can think of several, including pandering to their viewers/readers/listeners. Europeans don't seem to "get it" that Bush actually has popular support and was voted into office by people who like his ideas and think he is generally doing a good job for the country. This whole mess in New Orleans has a lot of finger pointing going around right now, and those in charge are simply trying to get stuff happening. Attitude also has a lot to do with perception, and what was reported by those German news outlets has a bunch of previous bias from individuals that aren't in the middle of the action trying to get stuff accomplished, and are also acting on very incomplete information. That is also why when you are doing any sort of reporting about something like this, you get multiple viewpoints and try to dig a little bit deeper into the story rather than take what a reporter saw and said as a first impression. It is this first impression that has been reported here on Wikinews, which to rehash as the truth is not good journalism.

I also want to add that the reason I didn't add more to the story after I placed the {{NPOV}} tag in the article and depublished was because I don't live on line 24/7. I have a life and real work, with things to do besides editing content on Wikinews as a volunteer. If you look at some of the other stories I've written, including somethat I've been largely the exclusive writer of, you would notice that I like to get as many sources for those stories that I can get. For as many people as have reported about this story and as widely as Landrieu's comments have been discussed, this Wikinews article has incredibly few original sources that have been cited, including nothing from ABC (American Broadcasting Company) News, where she made her original comments. --Robert Horning 06:33, 8 September 2005 (UTC)

First thanks for your considerate and extensive respond to a very short question on my part :). I really didn't expect that and appreciate it. However I don't think the article is as biased as you have described. Everything in this story gets disputed. First we got Landrieu's remarks. In response to that we got the fact that her press release does not state if she really verified that the equipment was pulled from other projects for the Photo-Op. And additionally we have a (unfortnately unsourced) technical explanation at the 17th canal section outlining what legitimate reasons there could be which would justify the removal of the cran. So we got two different points which dispute Landrieu's remarks. Then we have the two reports by German journalists. Again these reports are disputed in the end saying that no major U.S. media reported on the alleged incident and that Landrieu didn't complain about that one aswell. So to summarize: Every claim regarding President Bush's honesty gets disputed from multiple viewpoints, I really don't know how we could make it any clearer that those are simply unproofed allegations.

And one word about the German media. I thinks it's highly unfair to accuse them collectivly of being biased just because "They are Europeans, they all hate Bush". Besides that that assesment is just wrong considering that a party supportive of the Bush government and the Iraq War will likely win the federal elections next week it also isn't necessary for ARD or ZDF to "pander" their viewers. Unlike the major American networks they are funded by fees and don't really care much about ratings. So there is no need to fake reports just to make the viewers comfortable. And again (I hate to do this because it seems kinda like America-Bashing which I don't intend) unlike major U.S. media corporations like CNN, Fox News or New York Times, the Wikipedia entries of ARD and ZDF contain not a single accusation of bias, so the view that there is widespread bias among German journalists doesn't seem to be very common. --Deprifry 16:34, September 8, 2005 (UTC)

Additional details[edit]

I had seen the use of metal mentioned in news reports but no details of how it had been used at the 17th Street Canal breach. Wednesday I found a report that metal sheets had been opened to allow drainage. A video report from the site showed that there actually had been a metal wall built across the entrance to the canal. It now becomes apparent why several pieces of equipment had been there, and why they vanished when the job became one for dump trucks. (SEWilco 05:20, 8 September 2005 (UTC))

Sept 2/4 photo[edit]

I found a photo labeled September 4 which indeed shows a lot of activity. But the sheet pile wall was reportedly completed on September 2, so I suspect this is actually a September 2 photo. (SEWilco 10:15, 9 September 2005 (UTC))

Overflight photos[edit]

Are there any photos of the Senator's overflight? I wonder if she flew over the London Avenue breach, where different repairs were done. London Avenue breach is on west side, south of Robert E. Lee Blvd bridge. A photo of the bridge or direction of the sun will identify the location. (SEWilco 21:08, 9 September 2005 (UTC))

The video does show the 17th Street Canal repair under way, with a power shovel at the end of the fill being built across the breach. A small bulldozer and a couple of dump trucks are also visible. The view circled around the breach itself so does not show the activity near the bridge. The bridge is visible at one point but I couldn't see what was on it; there may have been a crane there. However, there isn't room for much equipment on that single-lane roadway so where was the Senator the previous day and what equipment was crowded about? (SEWilco 06:13, 16 September 2005 (UTC))