New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin gives an extraordinary interview to WWL-AM, a New Orleans radio station. He’s extremely critical of the disaster response thus far, and offers a number of details that aren’t being widely discussed about the situation in Louisiana. It’s worth your time to listen to it.
Mayor Nagin, in part, calls on politicians to stop giving press conferences until resources are flowing into New Orleans. There seems to be an increasing frustration with politicians who aren’t on the scene and are going through the usual political niceties. CNN’s Anderson Cooper recently lost his cool while talking with Louisiana Senator Mary Landrieu. She begins her remarks (from Baton Rouge) with thanks to President Bush, former President Clinton, the Senate… and Cooper cut her off to tell her about the dead bodies he’s seen in New Orleans being eaten by rats. (CNN prevents me from linking directly to the video, but you can find it by going to their homepage, clicking the “more video picks” tab in the “watch free video” section, and watching “Senator Grilled”.)
Cooper regains his cool as Senator Landrieu reassured viewers of her sadness and love of New Orleans, but there’s a clear emotional disconnect between Cooper, who’s seeing scene after horrific scene and expects a sense of immediacy from the Senator… and her decision to continue playing by the rules of media and politics. Not a must-see as the Nagin interview is, but interesting nevertheless.
Xeni at BoingBoing writes about a similar (all too rare) moment, where our media does its job – asking hard questions of politicians. NPR’s Robert Siegel interviewed Homeland Security Director Michael Chertoff on NPR’s “All Things Considered”, asking Chertoff to comment on the situation at the New Orleans Convention Center. Chertoff attempts to dismiss the situation at the Convention Center as a “rumor”, and Siegel defends the account given by his reporter, who is on the scene interviewing refugees. You can listen to the exchange on NPR’s site.
Update: CNN (CNN?!) talks about the contradictions statements by FEMA and DHS officials and the reports of people closer to the situation in New Orleans in a piece called The Big Disconnect on New Orleans.