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FEMA Sorry for Faking News Briefing 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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FEMA Sorry for Faking News Briefing

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  • by trickster721 ( 900632 ) on Saturday October 27, 2007 @03:31AM (#21138113)
    How is the Five Year Plan going? Good, I bet.
  • Sorry... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by jhfry ( 829244 ) on Saturday October 27, 2007 @03:32AM (#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... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Xiph ( 723935 ) on Saturday October 27, 2007 @03:43AM (#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... (Score:5, Insightful)

        by l0b0 ( 803611 ) on Saturday October 27, 2007 @04:31AM (#21138317) Homepage
        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... (Score:5, Insightful)

        by s4m7 ( 519684 ) on Saturday October 27, 2007 @04:33AM (#21138321) Homepage

        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... (Score:5, Insightful)

          by Opportunist ( 166417 ) on Saturday October 27, 2007 @04:46AM (#21138381)
          The difference between a terrorist and a freedom fighter is just that the latter won his war.
          • Re:Sorry... (Score:5, Insightful)

            by s4m7 ( 519684 ) on Saturday October 27, 2007 @05:03AM (#21138465) Homepage
            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: (Score:3, Insightful)

              by CarpetShark ( 865376 )

              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... (Score:4, Funny)

              by jollyreaper ( 513215 ) on Saturday October 27, 2007 @10:43AM (#21139953)

              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?
              The suicide op videos would have people screaming "yeee-haw!" instead of "allah akbar?"
      • Yeah... (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Greyfox ( 87712 ) on Saturday October 27, 2007 @05:07AM (#21138483) Homepage Journal
        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... (Score:5, Insightful)

        by houghi ( 78078 ) on Saturday October 27, 2007 @05:07AM (#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... (Score:5, Insightful)

          by CRCulver ( 715279 ) <crculver@christopherculver.com> on Saturday October 27, 2007 @05:12AM (#21138509) Homepage
          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.
          • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

            For a good example of how a truly oppressive state can successfully crush an attempt of the "color revolution", read on the Andijan massacre [wikipedia.org] in Uzbekistan. It should be noted that Putin did openly back Karimov in the media when it happened.
      • 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.

        I can tell you why that will not happen in two words:


      • by Fantastic Lad ( 198284 ) on Saturday October 27, 2007 @06:52AM (#21138867)
        Revolutions only happen when the people are cold and starving.

        That's it. They'll put up with enormous shit otherwise. So if you keep up the flow of cheeseburgers and TV, the dictators will rule forever. --Or until such a time as the rest of the world decides to invade or the whole system is so totally sucked dry that it collapses with a dry wheeze like Russia did at the end of the cold war. Yep, it's a grim situation. But it gets worse. . .

        I'm not convinced that this is all about just simple control. Has anybody noticed there seem to be a lot more rocks falling out of the sky recently? I sure have. There's bigger stuff at stake here. All those miles of barbed wire enclosures don't get built for nothing. The next ten months are going to be interesting, to say the least. I hope for one of two things; that people wake the hell up and throw Bush and Cheney and crew in prison forever and reinstate a real government, or that we have a really, really good TV season in 2008 and that McDonnald's has a two for one special, because it's not just FEMA, --this Blackwater thing operating on American soil is totally freaky.

        Excellent Youtube video [youtube.com] [youtube.com] dealing with this stuff. . .


    • by DaedalusHKX ( 660194 ) on Saturday October 27, 2007 @06:37AM (#21138803) Journal
      It wasn't that FEMA lied, or FEMA screwed up (or that there are several dozen Presidential Executive Orders in place allowing them to supersede the Constitution, hijack transportation, communications, food and fuel supplies accross the whole country, including private and commercial farm land, etc (thanks to Komrade Klinton's handiwork)). All it takes is a "real big disaster". And given how inept "ordinary Americans" are at just about every damn thing that is involved in surviving a catastrophe (or just plain every day life) I am surprised it hasn't happened yet.

      No, sireee, you had to get pissed because they got busted lying. This was an attempt to see how hijacking the press would work, is my guess. I don't recall if "commandeering" the press is yet among the executive orders, but the rest is in place.

      Somehow, "I told you so" just does not seem to tell it.
  • by owenbrand ( 261247 ) on Saturday October 27, 2007 @03:35AM (#21138133) Homepage
    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]
  • Duh? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Nomen Publicus ( 1150725 ) on Saturday October 27, 2007 @03:37AM (#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! (Score:5, Insightful)

      by attemptedgoalie ( 634133 ) on Saturday October 27, 2007 @03:42AM (#21138157)
      The Three Stooges are way smarter than these guys.

      The Three Stooges were firemen, and in the army, and plumbers, football players... :-)
    • Re:Duh? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by platypus ( 18156 ) on Saturday October 27, 2007 @04:57AM (#21138437) Homepage
      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? (Score:5, Insightful)

        by s4m7 ( 519684 ) on Saturday October 27, 2007 @05:23AM (#21138571) Homepage

        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.

  • "....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.
  • by king-manic ( 409855 ) on Saturday October 27, 2007 @03:40AM (#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.
    • Troll? I thought they were pretty funny. Ignore them if you must but troll? Some mod has something stuck up their butt methinks.
      • 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: (Score:3, Funny)

      Don't forget what FEMA was called by a member (can't remember which) in hearings by the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform on Hurricane Katrina: "Failed Every Major Assignment."

      Ah, the joys of watching C-SPAN in the middle of the night...
  • I love this quote (Score:5, Insightful)

    by jhfry ( 829244 ) on Saturday October 27, 2007 @03:42AM (#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.
    • by _merlin ( 160982 ) on Saturday October 27, 2007 @03:50AM (#21138181) Homepage Journal
      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 (Score:4, Interesting)

        by houghi ( 78078 ) on Saturday October 27, 2007 @04:56AM (#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: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by _merlin ( 160982 )
          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...
    • by clickclickdrone ( 964164 ) on Saturday October 27, 2007 @04:09AM (#21138233)
      Because he thought he'd get away with it?
    • 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.
    • by Rogerborg ( 306625 ) on Saturday October 27, 2007 @04:58AM (#21138439) Homepage
      Sure. Like all politcians, what's he's sorry for isn't that he did it, but that he got caught doing it.
  • by Bo'Bob'O ( 95398 ) on Saturday October 27, 2007 @03:43AM (#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.
    • 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.
    • by mikelieman ( 35628 ) on Saturday October 27, 2007 @04:50AM (#21138399) Homepage
      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... (Score:5, Funny)

    by Kierthos ( 225954 ) on Saturday October 27, 2007 @03:45AM (#21138165) Homepage
    When are they going to apologize for faking disaster relief?
    • by jd ( 1658 )
      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.
  • Juxtaposition.. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by FunWithKnives ( 775464 ) <ParadoxPerfectNO@SPAMterrorist.net> on Saturday October 27, 2007 @03:46AM (#21138171) Journal
    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.. (Score:4, Informative)

      by bdo19 ( 992170 ) on Saturday October 27, 2007 @04:06AM (#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.

    • 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.
    • by Bo'Bob'O ( 95398 )
      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 who
  • Quote Correction (Score:5, Insightful)

    by bazald ( 886779 ) <bazald@nOSPAM.zenipex.com> on Saturday October 27, 2007 @03:50AM (#21138183) Homepage

    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.

  • Just asking.

    This is a tech site you know, not Zonk's personal playground.
    • by s4m7 ( 519684 )

      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.

    • 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.
  • by HalfFlat ( 121672 ) on Saturday October 27, 2007 @03:53AM (#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.

    • >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.
    • by XaXXon ( 202882 )
      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: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Rogerborg ( 306625 )
      Nukular. It's pronounced new-kew-lar.
    • 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.
  • 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?
  • by nobodyman ( 90587 ) on Saturday October 27, 2007 @04:01AM (#21138217) Homepage
    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*.
    • 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.
  • 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."

  • by CrazyJim1 ( 809850 ) on Saturday October 27, 2007 @04:27AM (#21138295) Journal
    Hey, lets stage a minor disaster that we can handle and are prepared for so we can look like heroes fixing it.
    • by jd ( 1658 )
      They tried that, but the memo was mis-typed and they ended up with several miner disasters instead.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Opportunist ( 166417 )
      A friend of mine recently had a grease fire in his house, he should've called.
  • by MichaelCrawford ( 610140 ) on Saturday October 27, 2007 @04:29AM (#21138309) Homepage Journal
    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: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by owenbrand ( 261247 )
      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]
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by orcrist ( 16312 )

        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.

        And your post shows how effective the Republican strategy of discrediting Federal government is. FEMA was just as bad under Bush Sr [washingtonmonthly.com], after which Clinton made it into an effective organization (by appointing competent people), only for

  • 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
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by dbIII ( 701233 )
      It's just the Barbarians in charge (the so called CEO leadership style as influenced by Enron) - the rule of law hasn't entirely vanished and will return after a few technical difficulties.
  • So... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Marsmensch ( 870400 ) on Saturday October 27, 2007 @04:48AM (#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 (Score:3, Insightful)

    by xx01dk ( 191137 ) on Saturday October 27, 2007 @04:56AM (#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.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday October 27, 2007 @05:01AM (#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
  • by brit74 ( 831798 ) on Saturday October 27, 2007 @06:19AM (#21138733)
    So, I guess this means that FEMA's lesson from Katrina was that they needed better press coverage?

    Anyway, besides Jeff Gannon, we've seen this before. Here's another case:
    March 29, 2005
    Despite a rising chorus of condemnation from journalists and media critics, the George W. Bush administration shows no signs of abandoning its distribution of taxpayer-funded "news" to U.S. newspapers, radio and television stations.

    Free press advocates are up in arms about what they say is the covert dissemination of propaganda by government agencies.

    In one case, the administration -- seeking to build support among black families for its education reform plans -- paid a prominent African American pundit, Armstrong Williams, 240,000 dollars to promote the "No Child Left Behind" law on his nationally syndicated television show and through his newspaper column, and to urge other black journalists to do the same.

    Two other nationally known journalists, Maggie Gallagher and Michael McManus, have also admitted accepting thousands of dollars to endorse government programs.

    Since 2001, the Army and Air Force Hometown News Service has fielded 40 reporters, producers and public affairs specialists to create "good military news" to be beamed to home audiences via local news stations. The service's "good news" segments have reportedly reached 41 million Americans via local newscasts -- in most cases, without the station acknowledging their source.

    More than 20 different federal agencies used taxpayer funds to produce television news segments promoting Bush administration policies. These "video news releases," or VNRs, were broadcast on hundreds of local news programs. without disclosing their source....

    http://www.commondreams.org/headlines05/0329-12.htm [commondreams.org]
  • by adnonsense ( 826530 ) on Saturday October 27, 2007 @07:41AM (#21139019) Homepage Journal

    From the end of the TFA:

    Philbin's last scheduled day at FEMA was Thursday. He has been named as the new head of public affairs at the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, ODNI spokeswoman Vanee Vines said.

    O. M. G.

  • by AaronLawrence ( 600990 ) * on Saturday October 27, 2007 @08:05AM (#21139105)
    ...the course to a totalitarian dictatorship/oligarchy, that is. Control the media... eventually, just make it up... it's happened many times before. Even if it's done in an ridiculous manner, the fact that there are people in charge of FEMA who think it's OK should set alarm bells ringing.

    Goofy cousin with ICBMs, indeed. Not just goofy, but aggressive, arrogant and loud-mouthed as well.

    Fortunately, your fascism will be a capitalist one, so it's OK!

  • by moxley ( 895517 ) on Saturday October 27, 2007 @09:13AM (#21139437)
    This isn't the first time FEMA has done this sort of thing. The more I've researched this agency, from it's creation through all of it's efforts, it's resources, it's inclusion in executive orders and laws which affect the very core of our ideals and constitutional republic, it's subterfuge and misconduct, it's public face as portrayed in the media vs the reality of it's mandate, and how very little the general public knows about that mandate - the more I find to be concerned about.

    While researching FEMA initially I was looking to disprove disturbing things I had heard and read; it was not a case where I went looking to substantiate fears, if anything I went into the research with a "FEMA are the good guys" bias, but what I found was far worse than I imagined it could be, and I am genuinely concerned for the security of my country.

    I have posted before about FEMA and the executive orders which created and empower it. Rather than repeat any of that, I would urge anyone reading this to look into FEMA and it's mandate and actions on their own. Google it, especially the executive orders and the current anti-terror laws which have removed a lot of your rights.

    "If and when martial law comes to America at large, it will be under the auspices of the shadowy Federal Emergency Management Agency ("FEMA"), a massive, secretive agency operated from a huge, fortified bunker in Virginia, and established by unconstitutional means to carry out an unconstitutional and indeed anti-constitutional program."

    - excerpt from RICO complaint pending against Bush II admin (I am not claiming that the RICO case is with or without merit, only that the particular statement quoted is accurate in my opinion).
  • Mistaken topic (Score:4, Informative)

    by Legion303 ( 97901 ) on Saturday October 27, 2007 @09:40AM (#21139585) Homepage
    FEMA is very likely sorry that they were caught. The question of whether they're sorry they did it in the first place is still up for debate. Available evidence points to "not a fucking chance."
  • by HangingChad ( 677530 ) on Saturday October 27, 2007 @10:04AM (#21139729) Homepage

    in which FEMA employees posed as reporters

    Maybe one of these days FEMA employees could start impersonating first responders.

  • by Easy2RememberNick ( 179395 ) on Saturday October 27, 2007 @12:40PM (#21140685)
    What the mean is, sorry because they were caught.

"Yeah, but you're taking the universe out of context."