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Hypocrisy as Landrieu tactic alive and well

We’ve known for some time that Louisiana’s Democrat Sen. Mary Landrieu will employ hypocrisy when it suits her political agenda, and she graciously has provided some more examples for us.

Landrieu was one of the very first elected Democrats to use Hurricane Katrina as a political pawn, blaming the Republican Pres. George W. Bush administration for not ensuring levees strong enough to prevent the failure of some of them – when in fact Landrieu herself used her political clout to steer money towards nonessential, dubious projects instead of for increased hurricane protections. (As we are now discovering courtesy of breaking news, politicizing natural disasters has become a standard of the Democrat playbook: witness Democrat (and chairwoman of her party’s governors’ caucus) Kansas Gov. Kathleen Sebelius having taken Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean’s advice to argue a federal response to the recent tornado disaster in the state was slowed by troops and materiel used in the Iraq war, claims utterly proven false by commanders in the Kansas National Guard – kind of reminiscent of the blathering of another Democrat governor named Kathleen well all know).

The second generation of this tactic she put on display in her comments regarding bills she has introduced to give the media greater ability to prevent inquiry into their sources and selective access by some media to federal assistance in supplies and in accreditation during disasters. She claimed on the access part its necessity because “[t]he revelation that the Bush Administration turned away nearly $1 billion in foreign aid after Hurricane Katrina came to light as the result of the [Freedom of Information Act] process and demonstrates its essential function as a public check on government power and policy.”

That her legislation has nothing to do with the FOIA making her statement a syllogism of the specious kind is less important than her desire to bash Bush to score partisan political points by completing misstating the issue. Foreign governments offered $854 million in aid after the hurricane disasters. Some was lost to waste because government is the most wasteful enterprise ever invented by human beings. Some of it has yet to be accessed. The majority of it has been used by either U.S governments or nonprofit relief agencies. That it was “turned away” by the federal government did not mean a lot of it has gotten to or will get to appropriate uses, and demonstrates how Landrieu cares more about the role of government, wishing its expansion, than that resources get used to their best value.

The hypocrisy part on this issue comes in as her legislation primarily is to assist broadcasters, not the print media – a discrimination which she omits from her press release regarding the bill. The official statement is that only electronic journalism can offer immediacy necessary in the face of disaster.

But Landrieu needs to remember that she lives in the 21st century. Most print outlets now also have electronic delivery platforms by the Internet which are as immediate, if not more so, than broadcasting. So what does Landrieu have against the print media?

Perhaps it because, unlike the sound bites generated by broadcasters, print, including the Internet, conveys a much greater chance of context and analysis into the topic at hand (depending, of course, on how swift and informed and open to the truth the reporter in question is). And maybe that’s what Landrieu dislikes, because print media journalists (and even informal journalists such as me) have far greater opportunities to ignore the spin Landrieu tries to put on things. This could be a way of her allowing her to keep greater control over media dissemination of news.

Disaster preparedness, Katrina storm relief, and her legislation as discussed in this space, and this space itself, perfectly illustrate how the print media may avoid being channeled into her agenda and instead more validly and critically appraises her ideology. And if that’s the reason she is shunning print media in her legislation, it’s just one more example of her accusing others of doing something in which she eagerly engages in herself.

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