From a story entitled “Covering Katrina: In the wake of the storm, the news media’s highs and lows” on page 45 of the 10/6/05 issue of Rolling Stone Magazine by Eric Boehlert:
THE SAY IT LOUD AWARD “You simply get chills every time you see these poor individuals… So many of these people, almost all of them that we see, are so poor, and they are so black.” –CNN’s Wolf Blitzer, September 1st. Give the guy credit. Covering the disaster for the first 48 hours, uptight talking heads pretended like race had nothing to do with who was left behind. Blitzer helped put the hot topic on the table; he just fumbled through the phrasing.
THE GOOD FOX NEWS AWARD Shepard Smith. Normally a rabid Murdoch attack dog, Smith camped out on an I-10 exit ramp in the Big Easy with a small nation of refugees and refused to mouth Fox’s preferred GOP talking points of blaming the locals. He even shouted down Fox’s prime-time right-winger Sean Hannity, who sat comfortably in his air-conditioned New York studio.
THE BAD FOX NEWS AWARD The increasingly unhinged Bill O’Reilly, who piled on the New Orleans poor. “If you don’t get educated, if you don’t develop a skill and force yourself to work hard, you’ll most likely be poor,” he said. “And sooner or later, you’ll be standing on a symbolic rooftop waiting for help.” He later described the stranded victims as “drug-addicted” thugs.
BACKBONE AWARD CNN, for going to court to challenge Bush’s attempt to ban images of the body-recovery efforts.
BEST RANT (a screen capture of Keith Olbermann appears front and center on the page) “And most chillingly of all, this is the Law and Order and Terror government. It promised protection — or at least amelioration — against all threats: conventional, radiological, or biological. It has just proved that it cannot save its citizens from a biological weapon called standing water.” — MSNBC’s Keith Olbermann, September 5th. The former ESPN anchor wielded his wicked writing touch, torching the administration with a biting five-minute takedown that bounced around the Net as an instant classic.