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FEMA Sorry for Faking News Briefing

Zonk posted more than 6 years ago | from the if-you-want-a-job-done-right-do-it-yourself dept.

United States 403

theodp writes "The Federal Emergency Management Agency's No. 2 official apologized Friday for leading a staged news conference Tuesday in which FEMA employees posed as reporters. All the while, real reporters listened on a telephone conference line and were barred from asking questions. In the briefing, Vice Adm. Harvey E. Johnson Jr., FEMA's deputy administrator, called on questioners who did not disclose that they were FEMA employees, and gave replies emphasizing that his agency's response to this week's California wildfires was far better than its response to Hurricane Katrina in August 2005."

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403 comments

First Post (-1, Offtopic)

kongit (758125) | more than 6 years ago | (#21138101)

woohoo

Re:First Post (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21138121)

zomg. how can they get away with something like that?

Re:First Post (0, Offtopic)

kongit (758125) | more than 6 years ago | (#21138261)

Anyway on topic

Whoever thought up the idea for this and whoever allowed it to happen should be hit with a large wet trout until they are so afraid of fish that they can no longer bear the sight of water because it might just might contain fish. I just hope the White House doesn't decide this is a good example to follow. If so I am going to go find an island somewhere and start living there because I am not afraid of fish and I am afraid having an elected government without anyway for us the people who elect to be able to know what those we elected are actually doing.

MOD PARENT DOWN (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21138451)

Stop attaching your shit to unrelated posts fuck wad

eat shit and die (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21138505)

I modded you down for no reason and theres not a goddamn thing you can do about it

Re:First Post (3, Informative)

s4m7 (519684) | more than 6 years ago | (#21138617)

I just hope the White House doesn't decide this is a good example to follow.
Yeah that would be scary [wikipedia.org] .

While they're at it... (4, Insightful)

trickster721 (900632) | more than 6 years ago | (#21138113)

How is the Five Year Plan going? Good, I bet.

Re:While they're at it... (2, Insightful)

Nazlfrag (1035012) | more than 6 years ago | (#21138211)

They haven't consolidated into the Totally Information Aware Federal Emergency Department of Homeland Safety Management yet, so I think they're behind schedule.

Sorry... (5, Insightful)

jhfry (829244) | more than 6 years ago | (#21138123)

Sorry... sorry... WTF!!!!

Sorry isn't gonna cut it... try mass resignations!

A government organization went on national TV and intentionally tried to fool millions of Americans into believing a lie so that they didn't look bad.

Oh wait... never mind... I forgot, this is the USA. And we are talking about the government after all. The idiot who thought this up should run for President!

Flying Spaghetti Monster I cant wait until our government acts with our best interests in mind... hell I'd be happy to see it happen just once before I die.

Re:Sorry... (5, Insightful)

Xiph (723935) | more than 6 years ago | (#21138159)

It's kinda sad, but unless your next government truly cleans up, you need a revolution, I'm scared and sad to say that less won't do.

Re:Sorry... (1)

Pad-Lok (831143) | more than 6 years ago | (#21138287)

It's kinda sad, but unless your next government truly cleans up, you need a revolution, I'm scared and sad to say that less won't do.

Sorry, that wont happen anytime soon. The current generations cant get that much steam to muster up a revolution. They might not be happy about the situtation but are content enough with their lives.

Panem et circenses http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bread_and_circuses [wikipedia.org]

Re:Sorry... (4, Insightful)

l0b0 (803611) | more than 6 years ago | (#21138317)

And you seriously need to get your current administration behind iron bars. Your administration is like the three kids at school who are allowed to terrorize everyone without recourse.

Re:Sorry... (5, Insightful)

s4m7 (519684) | more than 6 years ago | (#21138321)

you need a revolution
Yeah, however with the terrists on the loose nobody will complain when the revolution is quietly shipped to Guantanamo.

Re:Sorry... (4, Insightful)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 6 years ago | (#21138381)

The difference between a terrorist and a freedom fighter is just that the latter won his war.

Re:Sorry... (4, Insightful)

s4m7 (519684) | more than 6 years ago | (#21138465)

Precisely right. Most Iraqi nationals view U.S. troops as an occupying force, and can you imagine what kind of insurgency Texas would provide if we had an occupying force here in the USA?

Re:Sorry... (2, Insightful)

CarpetShark (865376) | more than 6 years ago | (#21138623)

Precisely right. Most Iraqi nationals view U.S. troops as an occupying force, and can you imagine what kind of insurgency Texas would provide if we had an occupying force here in the USA?


Well said. This is exactly the problem with warmongers: thinking that their ability to endure hardship and fight to the death is any greater than those they would fight. Just as we would would a grudge for generations if our lands were occupied, so will Iraqis.

Re:Sorry... (1)

speaker of the truth (1112181) | more than 6 years ago | (#21138649)

You ,mean freedom fighters target civilians such as high schools and places where private companies perform financial transactions? Wow. I guess a revolution might not be what we need.

Re:Sorry... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21138421)

Thing with terrorists is that they are in fact manufactured -- by issuing laws that identify terrorists and creating chaos in the islamic countries under the U.S. flag. So all of a sudden, the world seems to be full of terrorists! Oh dear! Federal Government to the rescue! Terrorists are threatening the United States. Only the Federal Government can save the U.S. now! United States needs more laws labelling people as terrorists and more power to the Federal Government! Wake up, my American friends. Your government has been hijacked by criminals. When will you realize that?

Re:Sorry... (2, Interesting)

Smordnys s'regrepsA (1160895) | more than 6 years ago | (#21138365)

Yes, because what we really need in the world, right now, is another superpower with massive stockpiles of Nuclear Arms to become destabilized.

Brilliant!!!

Re:Sorry... (1)

iminplaya (723125) | more than 6 years ago | (#21138387)

...you need a revolution...

Before even the feeblest attempt is made to vote the bums out? I would hope not. Not before halftime anyway.

Re:Sorry... (1)

speaker of the truth (1112181) | more than 6 years ago | (#21138665)

unless your next government truly cleans up
Amazing what happens when you put quotes into context

Yeah... (5, Insightful)

Greyfox (87712) | more than 6 years ago | (#21138483)

The country with the largest nuclear arsenal on a planet needs a revolution. That's thinking it through. We don't like to advertise it these days, though, so I could see the mistake on the knee jerk reaction. But if you think my tubby, apathetic countrymen would take a stand on anything you're sadly mistaken. They're far more likely to get bent out of shape about their favorite television show getting canceled than their elected representatives lying to them. Hell, 30% of those clueless fuckers still approve of this administration and its policies.

No, for the foreseeable future these lard suckers will continue to do what they are told and our politicians will continue to be a bunch of corrupt and hypocritical bastards whose only goal is to grab all the money they can for themselves. I'm hoping to be comfortably dead by the time this state of affairs changes, since it will probably end in a global environmental disaster, riots after all the oil runs out or economic collapse along the lines of what happened with Russia in the 90's.

Re:Sorry... (4, Insightful)

houghi (78078) | more than 6 years ago | (#21138485)

And nowadays revolution does not have to be bloody. It can be done "peeacefull" as the orange revolution [wikipedia.org] and others which were very well organised revolutions.

The problem is that many people do not think they are in any danger. And that will stay that way untill people get informed in another way then Fox New [youtube.com] . Seriously, watch the video.

Re:Sorry... (5, Insightful)

CRCulver (715279) | more than 6 years ago | (#21138509)

The Orange Revolution succeeded only because of restraint on the part of the state, not due to any effort of the protestors. Putin has already said that were Orange Revolution fashions to spread next door to his country, the state would respond with force. Similarly, the presence of a huge amount of entirely peaceful students in Tiananmen Square didn't effect any change when the government was willing to roll in with tanks.

We will get the government we deserve (3, Interesting)

owenbrand (261247) | more than 6 years ago | (#21138133)

When considered with the ever increasing powers granted to FEMA this should be enough for many people to speak out. Instead most will flip the channel and it will be business as usual.

http://thisnovember5th.com/ [thisnovember5th.com]

Fake news (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21138135)

Is that all they're sorry for?

Re:Fake news (3)

Tuoqui (1091447) | more than 6 years ago | (#21138325)

Someone needs to tag this 'wagthedog'.

Duh? (5, Insightful)

Nomen Publicus (1150725) | more than 6 years ago | (#21138141)

In what world did FEMA think that the truth would not be almost instantly exposed? Who are they employing in the PR dept.? The Three Stooges?

HEY! Back Off! (4, Insightful)

attemptedgoalie (634133) | more than 6 years ago | (#21138157)

The Three Stooges are way smarter than these guys.

The Three Stooges were firemen, and in the army, and plumbers, football players... :-)

Re:HEY! Back Off! (0, Redundant)

Sqwuib (1149607) | more than 6 years ago | (#21138281)

He's got a point people...

Re:Duh? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21138297)

In what world did FEMA think that the truth would not be almost instantly exposed?
I think that this may have been the point of the fake news conference. If you control the press then the truth won't be instantly exposed. I guess the only problem is that the geniuses at FEMA didn't realize that the press would hold a meta press conference. What a way to destroy the stellar reputation that they've earned over the last few years!

Re:Duh? (5, Insightful)

platypus (18156) | more than 6 years ago | (#21138437)

Hmm, my instant thought was similiar, but a little bit different:

"What the hell did they manage to do before, so that they thought
they'd could also get this through?"

You are not going from zero to full speed when starting playing dirty.
You start small, next time you get a little bit more couragous,
and each time more. You either stop increasing the risk at
one point, or you'll get caught eventually.

The question is, what kind of ploys have been done by the jokers
responsible for this before, and didn't get noticed???

Re:Duh? (4, Insightful)

s4m7 (519684) | more than 6 years ago | (#21138571)

You are not going from zero to full speed when starting playing dirty.
While I'd like to agree with you in principle, the problem is that you're assuming the offenders are intelligent.

This was a really transparent and poorly executed scam, based probably on some sort of hubris-laden supposition that the American people will buy just about anything. Not too far from the truth, but apparently just far enough.

Re:Duh? (1)

Stanislav_J (947290) | more than 6 years ago | (#21138583)

In what world did FEMA think that the truth would not be almost instantly exposed? Who are they employing in the PR dept.? The Three Stooges?

How dare you insult the Stooges by comparing them to goverment employees. (Then again, maybe FEMA can just use the excuse, "I'm a victim of coisumstance!"

At least the Stooges weren't creating their mayhem and disorder with my tax dollars.

Katrina Response (3, Funny)

kissbang (976051) | more than 6 years ago | (#21138147)

"....his agency's response to this week's California wildfires was far better than its response to Hurricane Katrina in August 2005." Wow. The gold standard, to which all emergency responses should be judged has finally been exceeded.

FEMA candidate Slogans (5, Funny)

king-manic (409855) | more than 6 years ago | (#21138149)

FEMA: Making our president look good in comparison since 2000.

FEMA: Where bad decision make someones life better.. we hope.

FEMA: If you can't take the heat fake the press.

FEMA: When drinking becomes a profession.

FEMA: You still get more upside out of us then your executive branch.

FEMA: When disasters strikes.. ohh god your fucked.

FEMA: for great justice.

Re:FEMA candidate Slogans (1)

clickclickdrone (964164) | more than 6 years ago | (#21138225)

Troll? I thought they were pretty funny. Ignore them if you must but troll? Some mod has something stuck up their butt methinks.

Re:FEMA candidate Slogans (1)

bombastinator (812664) | more than 6 years ago | (#21138345)

I agree. It got my mod. It almost got an interesting actually. The collection of bromides by itself points out the long running record of the department's blunders.

Re:FEMA candidate Slogans (1)

CrazyJim1 (809850) | more than 6 years ago | (#21138369)

You do realize that giving it your mod and then posting in the comments deletes your mod point.

Re:FEMA candidate Slogans (1)

bombastinator (812664) | more than 6 years ago | (#21138547)

No I didn't. I think this is the second time I've ever opened up the mod page. Dude deserved some support though.

I love this quote (4, Insightful)

jhfry (829244) | more than 6 years ago | (#21138155)

"It was absolutely a bad decision. I regret it happened. Certainly ... I should have stopped it," said John "Pat" Philbin, FEMA's director of external affairs. "I hope readers understand we're working very hard to establish credibility and integrity, and I would hope this does not undermine it."


First of all... your the director of external affairs... Yep you should have stopped it... SO WHY THE FUCK DIDN'T YOU.

Second, your working very hard to establish credibility and integrity... by trying to trick us into thinking your credible and trustworthy... that's exactly what you DON'T do to establish credibility and integrity.

Finally... I would say that doing exactly the wrong thing hasn't undermine your credibility and integrity, you didn't have any to begin with... this simply ensures that you never will until the current >20% has been eliminated, everyone in that conference resigns, and your agency actually handles a disaster like it knows what it is doing.

It is kind of ironic that FEMA, the agency that is supposed to clean up disasters, actually turns every disaster it is involved in into a bigger disaster through it's absolute incompetence and piss poor public image.

Re:I love this quote (5, Insightful)

_merlin (160982) | more than 6 years ago | (#21138181)

Well he probably didn't stop it because he thought he could get away with it. Isn't that how it usually works? He probably thought something along the lines of, "If we pull this off, we'll look good, and if we get busted, I can say it wasn't my idea."

Re:I love this quote (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21138391)

Well he probably didn't stop it because he thought he could get away with it. Isn't that how it usually works?

Yes, they have usually got away with it. This was the first time they were discovered, it wasn't the first time it happened.

Re:I love this quote (3, Interesting)

houghi (78078) | more than 6 years ago | (#21138431)

"If we pull this off, we'll look good, and if we get busted, I can say it wasn't my idea."

Isn't that how the USofA president is thinking all the time? If I had a high position in the USofA, I would do the same. It works as nobody seems to be doing anything against it.

I did the same when I was about 5 and a very expensive vase was broken just before my mome came in. I now asume she came in because of the noise of the vase breaking. First I hoped she would not notice, when she did I just said it wasn't me. When that did not work, I tried crying so my mother would ge pity.

I still got punished. So what idiot(s) placed a 5 year old in such a position and why is nobody doing anything about it?

Re:I love this quote (2, Insightful)

_merlin (160982) | more than 6 years ago | (#21138625)

Unfortunately, it seems that, when placed in a position of power, a lot of people will go and act like a five-year-old. Either that or only people with the minds of five-year-olds try to attain said positions of power...

Re:I love this quote (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21138207)

Incompetence like that isn't spontaneous. To have the kind of response they had for Katrina, the incompetence had to be widespread and systemic. And since they have made no significant changes, purges, or sweeping acts of restructuring since then, there's no reason to expect it to be different. It requires top down leadership to initiate such changes, and none is present.

So we get crap like this. Vote for competence and well-reasoned judgment in '08.

Re:I love this quote (3, Insightful)

clickclickdrone (964164) | more than 6 years ago | (#21138233)

>SO WHY THE FUCK DIDN'T YOU
Because he thought he'd get away with it?

Re:I love this quote (1)

iluvcapra (782887) | more than 6 years ago | (#21138283)

i'll do you one better, and propose that everyone present live at the "news conference" (so to speak) should have their American citizenship revoked, or at least put on probation, since they don't seem to understand what that entails.

Re:I love this quote (4, Insightful)

Rogerborg (306625) | more than 6 years ago | (#21138439)

Sure. Like all politcians, what's he's sorry for isn't that he did it, but that he got caught doing it.

Devistating, but no Katrina (5, Insightful)

Bo'Bob'O (95398) | more than 6 years ago | (#21138161)

I would HOPE you could manage to improve your response in an area that still has power, water, sewage and transportation. I live in San Diego, I know people that have had their homes lost, but to compare this with Katrina and give themselves a pat on the back is absurd: the vast majority of the city and infrastructure of this county were completely unaffected. There were outages and near failures, but you didn't have to go far to get back to power, water, sewage and transportation. Heck, if you got tired of the evacuation site at Qualcom? The airport and cruse ship terminals were still open, just take a trip, or just hop on the trolley and go downtown for a nice dinner out. These fires have certainly devastated a lot of people's homes, I have a good freind that has nothing left but his car and a USB flash drive, but this hasn't been the sort of region wide crippling of the storm and floods of Katrina.

Halle-frickin-lujah, Brother (2, Insightful)

cmholm (69081) | more than 6 years ago | (#21138239)

The parent made exactly the points I was to make. I'll add that the FEMA leadership lost what ever points they earned for not screwing the pooch this time around due to their complete lack of transparency. It's been bad enough with the unattributed propaganda videos the Administration has passed around to the media over the last six years, but faking a news conference for a heavily covered story? Gee-zus. They'd have looked more honest hiring Kevin Nealon.

another reason to use open source (0, Offtopic)

lawnsprinkler (1012271) | more than 6 years ago | (#21138335)

I have a good freind that has nothing left but his car and a USB flash drive
Hopefully he is a linux user & will not have to buy a replacement copy of Windows. If he isn't, this would be a great opportunity for you to sell him on Ubuntu.

Re:Devistating, but no Katrina (5, Interesting)

mikelieman (35628) | more than 6 years ago | (#21138399)

What are the CRIMINAL penalties for this Fraud? I would think that 18 USC 371 would apply, as FEMA engaged in this deception in part to deprive Congress of it's lawful role in oversight?

So... (5, Funny)

Kierthos (225954) | more than 6 years ago | (#21138165)

When are they going to apologize for faking disaster relief?

Re:So... (1)

jd (1658) | more than 6 years ago | (#21138363)

I've heard rumors that that's not the only thing they fake, but I'm sure Britain's tabloids will verify that in due course.

Re:So... (1)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 6 years ago | (#21138417)

I'm sure Britain's tabloids will verify that in due course.

I'll wait for Netcraft for confirmation.

Juxtaposition.. (5, Insightful)

FunWithKnives (775464) | more than 6 years ago | (#21138171)

The difference being that California wildfires happen every year, almost like clockwork. The hurricane that devistated New Orleans and the coastal regions of Mississippi, while perhaps inevitable, had not occured until that point.

In essence, FEMA is not there to simply help out with expected situations, though that may be part of it. No matter the nobility or necessity, however, it is there, primarily, for unexpected emergencies, and it is simply not doing that job at the moment. Consider the juxtaposition between the rich socialites who have lived in the wildfire-prone region of California for so many years, and the disgustingly poor, predominately black population of New Orleans, who have lived there because their parents lived there, and because they cannot afford to move or live anywhere else. It all boils down to wealth disparity, and who benefits from it. I would encourage everyone to consider that.

Re:Juxtaposition.. (4, Informative)

bdo19 (992170) | more than 6 years ago | (#21138227)

The difference being that California wildfires happen every year, almost like clockwork. The hurricane that devistated New Orleans and the coastal regions of Mississippi, while perhaps inevitable, had not occured until that point.


Baloney. Saying that California wildfires "happen every year, almost like clockwork" is like saying the same for hurricanes hitting the gulf coast, and discounting Katrina as a minor, typical event. Wildfires may be common, but fires that burn down hundreds of homes (many of them track homes, not out in the wilderness somewhere), shut down the greater part of a county, and force the evacuation of a half million people, are another thing altogether.


That said, I do agree with the poster above you that pointed out that the devastation caused by Katrina was probably far greater and that much harder to manage than the CA fires. FEMA had a relatively small role in this one. Evacuations were coordinated by the county and city. Firefighting was coordinated by Cal Fire. And FEMA did what exactly? Oh yes, they had news conferences. At least that's what I got from watching it on the news for 2-3 days non stop.

Re:Juxtaposition.. (1)

DougReed (102865) | more than 6 years ago | (#21138245)

Uh... actually Hurricane Camille did almost exactly the same damage in 1969. ...It may not be "like clockwork", but Gulfport and Biloxi were devastated in almost exactly the same way, and Pass Christian was completely wiped out ... just like this time.

I think it is just like a bathtub. Ever notice that the water splashes out the back of a standard bathtub with the rounded sloping back... Take a good look a the the Gulf of Mexico and ask yourself which part of the Gulf of Mexico YOU want to build your house in when a huge storm comes sweeping in.

so poor, so black (1)

lawnsprinkler (1012271) | more than 6 years ago | (#21138355)

disgustingly poor, predominately black
Wolf, is that you?

Re:Juxtaposition.. (1)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 6 years ago | (#21138441)

But at least you can't say that they were ignoring the poor in New Orleans and only cared about that rich people in California. As the old saying goes, don't attribute to malice what can be explained with incompetence, and the FEMA successfully proved that they don't only care for the rich.

Re:Juxtaposition.. (1)

Bo'Bob'O (95398) | more than 6 years ago | (#21138513)

This fire threatened and destroyed a lot of areas that the people in the same economic siltation as the people in Louisiana. One of the things that really made this different then the 2003 fires was the more urban areas it hit. While they may be closer to the means to get out of that situation, there are many, many who still cannot. As I posted earlier, comparing this to Katrina is apples and oranges, but, there are still a lot of people here in need of help. The media loves to paint California like the whole place was one big resort, but it's all people like everyplace else. Some people chose to face that danger, while many others aren't given that choice. Remember, major agriculture isn't only going on in the middle parts of the country, and thats a lot of what was hit here, and there are a lot of the very poor who live there with it.

Quote Correction (5, Insightful)

bazald (886779) | more than 6 years ago | (#21138183)

FTA:

White House press secretary Dana Perino said Friday that "it is not a practice that we would employ here at the White House. We certainly don't condone it. We didn't know about it beforehand. ... They, I'm sure, will not do it again."
If past trends hold, White House press secretary Dana Perino meant that "it is a practice that we employ here at the White House. We certainly condone it. We knew about it beforehand. ... They, I'm sure, will do it again." In fact, I believe something very similar [wikipedia.org] might have already happened at the White House.

Re:Quote Correction (1)

mevets (322601) | more than 6 years ago | (#21138219)

and in a few days the president will say " , your doing one heck of a job", which seems to mean " you are even more of a fuck up than I am ".

Which of my rights online is this about? (1, Insightful)

HarryCaul (25943) | more than 6 years ago | (#21138189)


Just asking.

This is a tech site you know, not Zonk's personal playground.

Re:Which of my rights online is this about? (1)

s4m7 (519684) | more than 6 years ago | (#21138353)

Umm, how about the one to not be snowed by a government agency? If it's not a right it should be.

But please, keep posting about how stories don't fit their categories because I'm sure it will do you some good soon. After all you are the first person to think of it, and now that you've pointed out the error in the editors' ways I'm sure they'll correct it expediently.

Re:Which of my rights online is this about? (1)

wafwot (739342) | more than 6 years ago | (#21138501)

I'm not sure I could have said it better. Brava.

Re:Which of my rights online is this about? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21138415)

From the banner at the top of every page on this site: "Slashdot NEWS FOR NERDS. STUFF THAT MATTERS."

This story qualifies as being "news for nerds", and it's certainly "stuff that matters". There are undoubtedly many Slashdot readers and comment submitters who are glad that Slashdot topics have expanded beyond technology (computers, machines, chemicals, algorithms, etc) to include social forces that are likely to affect how technology is used, abused, controlled, taxed, limited, promoted, misrepresented, etc. So, articles about the RIAA and MPAA, patents, proposed laws, court cases, business deals, etc, appear on Slashdot.

If Slashdot expanded to include links to videos, and allowed users to submit images, etc,
and expanded its range of topics to be even wider, then the interest and impact of the site
would be increased. Digg has benefited from not strictly adhering to a strict "technology
site" theme, but then again Digg suffers somewhat from editorial control in article selection.
Meanwhile, Slashdot can benefit from some expansion of topic range.

This FEMA article helps nerds update their informed mental models of the US government.
The US government affects nerds. Nerds can affect the US government. It matters.

Re:Which of my rights online is this about? (1)

wafwot (739342) | more than 6 years ago | (#21138435)

I had to deal first hand with the stress and anxiety of Katrina -- to see that the government agency which I hoped would have learned from its mistakes not only did not learn but blatantly lied and misled its citizens is very disheartening. This is not something that is a simple mistake. Nobody mistakenly holds a fake press conference. Someone decided this, and someone made this happen. This whole situation is shallow, pathetic and insulting. I would love to hear one justified reason why this even happened.

This has been proved to be more than just a tech site. This here is about your rights as a citizen of the United States of America (though if you are from elsewhere you can disregard it). This is about the right of the government to be honest with its citizens. This is about a government blatantly lying to its citizens.

This is about a whole lot people having to deal with a problem that most people in the country would hope to never experience.

HarryCaul, you said back in April that you would go elsewhere if Slashdot went "down this road," in regards to politics. Is it so difficult to admit that politics are undeniably tied to technology? And honestly, if it doesn't interest you, then why bother reading and why bother replying?

The tag of this site says "News for nerds. Stuff that matters." Are you implying that this stuff does not matter?

Re:Which of my rights online is this about? (1)

s4m7 (519684) | more than 6 years ago | (#21138535)

This is not something that is a simple mistake. Nobody mistakenly holds a fake press conference. Someone decided this, and someone made this happen.
Most frighteningly, several citizens who are also civil servants think this is what the American people deserve.

Re:Which of my rights online is this about? (1)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 6 years ago | (#21138453)

It may not be news for nerds, but I do think it qualifies as stuff that matters.

It's not even that the government tries to blow money into an inefficient system, more it's government trying to bullshit you into thinking everything's allright.

Read the US Contitution (1)

mangu (126918) | more than 6 years ago | (#21138597)

How about this right [usconstitution.net] ? Don't you think the FEMA tactics are "abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press"?

Why we love the USA (4, Insightful)

HalfFlat (121672) | more than 6 years ago | (#21138193)

See, this is why, faults and all, the USA is loved around the world. It's like watching your goofy cousin make a fool of himself at the wedding reception.


Well ... your goofy cousin with a stockpile of nuclear-tipped ICBMs, anyhow.

Re:Why we love the USA (1)

clickclickdrone (964164) | more than 6 years ago | (#21138249)

>Well ... your wonderful cousin you wouldn't like to upset who just happens to have a
stockpile of nuclear-tipped ICBMs, anyhow.
There, fixed it for you.

Re:Why we love the USA (1)

XaXXon (202882) | more than 6 years ago | (#21138329)

They're not really nuclear tipped. The warheads are in MRV's that fall from the missile and go to their targets independently. I guess that's not really the point, though, huh?

Re:Why we love the USA (1)

mevets (322601) | more than 6 years ago | (#21138339)

I get running on in conversation, but when you typed "I guess that's not really the point", did you consider cancelling the post? just curious...

Re:Why we love the USA (2, Funny)

Rogerborg (306625) | more than 6 years ago | (#21138423)

Nukular. It's pronounced new-kew-lar.

Re:Why we love the USA (1)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 6 years ago | (#21138461)

It's more like the once rich and once famous cousin that you used to love because he was kinda nice, who you got to hate for turning into a self righteous bastard, especially after he isn't anymore rich and famous but still thinks he is. Now you're stuck with him being kinda the head of the family, simply because he's the guy who has the largest gun in town and goes around, suing and shooting anyone who doesn't agree with him.

That he's drunk most of the time doesn't really increase your trust in him either.

Was Dan Rather in attendance? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21138199)

Fake but TRUE... thats what liberals tell us is OK... hmmm....

Re:Was Dan Rather in attendance? (1)

s4m7 (519684) | more than 6 years ago | (#21138371)

only an AC would make such an absurd comparison.

Harvey E. Johnson Jr. studied in Soviet Russia? (1)

AHuxley (892839) | more than 6 years ago | (#21138205)

In Capitalist west FEMA has fake news for you.
In Soviet Russia FEMA PR manual rushed to you.

How was Patrice Lumumba People's Friendship University Harvey E. Johnson Jr?

They still don't get it. (4, Insightful)

nobodyman (90587) | more than 6 years ago | (#21138217)

First off, I think this less of an "I'm sorry" situation, but rather "I'm sorry I got caught".

But regardless of whether they are truly sorry for this fiasco, they STILL don't get the problem. It's not that they staged a news conference, it's why they staged the conference that is the issue. They don't care about "emergency management", they only care about *public relations*. And while they claim that things are so much better than Katrina, this mock press conference only proves that nothing has changed.

On the positive side, Kanye West might be heartened to learn that it isn't just black people [boingboing.net] -- George Bush doesn't care about *anybody*.

Re:They still don't get it. (1)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 6 years ago | (#21138475)

I'm fairly sure he does. But certainly neither about the "poor black" who don't really enjoy his kind of politics of liberal economy (and thus don't vote for him) nor about the "rich hollywood stars" who're part of the movie industry which is traditionally a Democrat stronghold.

Wait 'til something like that happens in Texas.

Hardly unexpected (1)

Nazlfrag (1035012) | more than 6 years ago | (#21138251)

If they can suspend the constitution and impose martial law, what's a little thing like freedom of the press? Oh sure, they say they can't do all that, and they look incompetent, but the truth is out there. [cnn.com]

"Are you familiar with FEMA? What the Federal Emergency Management Agency's real power is? FEMA allows the White House to suspend constitutional government upon declaration of a national emergency. To create a non-elected government. Think about that."

The scientist goes on to describe FEMA's "broad, sweeping power."

It wasn't fake... (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21138293)

...because I was there reporting (IAAJ).

Every reporter there had the "required" credentials and these were checked at the door. When I heard about this story I was writing one of my own, and
I no sooner decided to write a piece about how totally fake this story is. It will be publishing [femapress.com] tomorrow, and I do expect all here to check it out.

Re:It wasn't fake... (1)

clickclickdrone (964164) | more than 6 years ago | (#21138357)

Ah, nice one, you got me for a minute there. :-)
(FX:Sits back and waits for hoards that don't)

FEMA's next step? (5, Funny)

CrazyJim1 (809850) | more than 6 years ago | (#21138295)

Hey, lets stage a minor disaster that we can handle and are prepared for so we can look like heroes fixing it.

Re:FEMA's next step? (1)

jd (1658) | more than 6 years ago | (#21138375)

They tried that, but the memo was mis-typed and they ended up with several miner disasters instead.

Re:FEMA's next step? (2, Funny)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 6 years ago | (#21138493)

A friend of mine recently had a grease fire in his house, he should've called.

Firefighting aircraft grounded by bureaucracy (4, Informative)

MichaelCrawford (610140) | more than 6 years ago | (#21138309)

I should preface this by pointing out that this wasn't FEMA's fault, as far as I know:

The military offered helicopters for dropping water on the fires, but they weren't allowed to because California State Department of Forestry rules required that a CDF fire spotter ride in each aircraft. Not only did it take more than 24 hours to get the fire spotters to the choppers, but there weren't enough spotters to man all the available aircraft.

Some official allowed an exception to the rule to allow just one spotter for each squadron of three, but by the time this was all sorted out, the high winds proved to be too dangerous, and so the aircraft were grounded.

Had they been able to take off when first called upon, the winds wouldn't have been so severe and they might have been able to contain the fire.

What's worse is that the military has several C-130 transport planes on call for dropping very large amounts of water from the air. I saw one of these at the Big Bear Lake fire in 1985, and it was a truly awesome sight to behold.

However, it was determined that their tanks were unsafe, so several years ago they were taken out of service until a new tank could be designed. The first try at a new tank didn't fit in the planes - yes, you read that right - so they went back to the drawing board.

It's been four years since then and they still don't have a new tank design.

Let me find you a link [sfgate.com] .

Re:Firefighting aircraft grounded by bureaucracy (2, Interesting)

owenbrand (261247) | more than 6 years ago | (#21138409)

Your post gets to the heart of the issue which is CDF being poorly managed and thus not adequately prepared. Being a state operation you have a better chance of voting change into that organization. FEMA shows up with bluster and fake news and contributes what? How much better would the taxes that fund FEMA be used by CDF even with mismanagement like the 4 year C-130 retrofit that failed? Local is always better than federal so take back the money and power granted to FEMA.

http://thisnovember5th.com/ [thisnovember5th.com]

the view from outside the US... (1)

Marsmensch (870400) | more than 6 years ago | (#21138327)

Bending the laws on torture Bending the laws on surveillance No-bid contracts Lying about weapons of mass destruction Humiliating yourself in Irak Bullying you allies over Irak Kidnapping foreign citizens Extraordinary rendition Guantanamo America, how we have loved you, and how you have fallen

So... (3, Insightful)

Marsmensch (870400) | more than 6 years ago | (#21138393)

You think this isn't standard [wikipedia.org] in an administration which lied to start an illegal war and bullied its allies about it?

My wife (3, Insightful)

xx01dk (191137) | more than 6 years ago | (#21138433)

is traveling abroad, and I told her that FEMA had staged a press conference, with all the gory details, over a Skype chat. She thought I was joking... but it didn't take as much to convince her as I thought it would, and that... that is what happens when cynicism=real life. What. The. Fuck.

She's in Shanghai right now giving company training, getting disrespect from her students because she's 5'4", blond, and female (most of all); and there's nothing she can do about it because the double standard nowadays is that we as Americans MUST respect everyone else's culture but they are allowed to do fuck all to us in their homeland and in ours and we must respect that lest they perceive insult... When our own government makes a mockery of itself in full view of it's constituents then how are we any different from any hard-line, third-world, dictator state?

Wow that went south in a hurry. Sorry for that. Fema sucks.

Re:My wife (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21138479)

When our own government makes a mockery of itself in full view of it's constituents then how are we any different from any hard-line, third-world, dictator state?

Well, you have nukes...

Re:My wife (1)

xx01dk (191137) | more than 6 years ago | (#21138511)

I don't think the fact that we have nukes makes it any better, and nor should it... unless we were willing to use them on ourselves. ...

Shush...

fire them, they broke the law (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21138455)

looks to me like the last time this happened (with the fake VNRs) the GAO put every agency on notice that faking a news report and not disclosing it was blantantly illegal

here's the relevant letter from the GAO: http://oversight.house.gov/documents/20050222093810-51492.pdf [house.gov]

any FEMA administrator that knew that fake reporters were asking the questions needs to immediately resign or be indicted if they try to avoid responsibility for this propaganda

Re:fire them, they broke the law (1)

xx01dk (191137) | more than 6 years ago | (#21138543)

Unfortunately, "breaking the law" seems to be more subjective than objective these days, especially when it comes to the government. Just sayin.

We shouldn't criticize them (1)

begbiezen (1081757) | more than 6 years ago | (#21138507)

for the same reasons we shouldn't criticize Bill OReilly. (here me out) They faked a news briefing and (most likely) though they could get away with it. Obviously, this means they're dumb as shit. Really. There's no other way to look at it. The people in charge obviously should not be the people in charge. But can we really grill someone for lacking intelligence? Who here doesn't have relatives with similar attributes? You can't blame someone for being dumb. (including Bill OReilly)
What we need to focus on is who puts these people in charge. (or gives them TV shows) The people who (or the mechanisms that) make these decisions are at fault. If they are humans (and don't also suffer from the same defects), their motives need to be seriously questioned, for they have caused (and have the potential to cause) much human suffering.
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