Friday, September 09, 2005

Not Spin, Myth, or Rumor, But Facts

The Internet is swirling with blog posts and emails making assertions and accusations about the failed response to Hurricane Katrina. In particular, there are long messages being circulated by rightwing supporters of President Bush that are designed to absolve the Federal government of any responsibility for emergency preparedness and pin all the blame for the disaster on the Mayor of New Orleans and the Governor of Louisiana.

There is definitely plenty of blame for all, and an independent investigation like the one that most Democrats (and some Republicans) are calling for should and will assess the mistakes made by leaders of both parties at every level of government. Meanwhile, don't assume that statements made on the Internet or in emails are accurate. Instead, look at sources like this one (courtesy of the Washington Post) which try to sort out what happened when and the underlying legal powers and responsibilities based on facts, not partisanship.

You'll note that each assertion in the Post story includes specific quotations from the government documents mentioned as well as links to public websites, so that you can verify (or debunk) the information for yourself. And you'll note that the propaganda documents being circulated, excerpted, quoted, and relied upon elsewhere lack such quotations and links.

Sadly, false assertions being spread to hundreds of thousands of people this week will end up permanently infecting the body politic, like other urban myths that serve various political agendas.
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