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When Reality Crashes

posted by DL Byron on September 02, 2005

From the front page of CNN.com

  • Bush: “We’ll get on top of this situation”
  • Mayor blasts feds: “‘Get off your asses”

I remember reading an article in the NY Times during the presidential election that quoted a White House official who said something like, “we create reality,” and that couldn’t be more true. Be it on the news, in Iraq, the economy, or New Orleans. When a country is divided, as ours is, you push your version of everything. If you say something enough times, people will believe it, even if it’s not true. And the public will choose what to believe right down the middle: both sides of the aisle.

I watched the official version of reality crash, if only momentarily, during Anderson Cooper 360. Anderson lost it with Sen. Mary Landrieu who came on to reassure America that all was well and help was coming. He replied, …”there was a body on the streets of this town yesterday being eaten by rats because this woman had been laying in the street for 48 hours.”

Quotes from the transcript

SEN. MARY LANDRIEU (D), LOUISIANA: Anderson, tonight, I don’t know if you’ve heard — maybe you all have announced it — but Congress is going to an unprecedented session to pass a $10 billion supplemental bill tonight to keep FEMA and the Red Cross up and operating.

COOPER: Excuse me, Senator, I’m sorry for interrupting. I haven’t heard that, because, for the last four days, I’ve been seeing dead bodies in the streets here in Mississippi. And to listen to politicians thanking each other and complimenting each other, you know, I got to tell you, there are a lot of people here who are very upset, and very angry, and very frustrated.

And when they hear politicians slap — you know, thanking one another, it just, you know, it kind of cuts them the wrong way right now, because literally there was a body on the streets of this town yesterday being eaten by rats because this woman had been laying in the street for 48 hours. And there’s not enough facilities to take her up.

Do you get the anger that is out here?

The Senator struggled, got back on message, Anderson pushed again emotionally, then relented, and it took him another segment before he recovered.

It was intense. Like a scene from the Manchurian Candidate, where I expected to see the world fall apart behind the Senator and dissolve into a wall of suffering refugees rushing in to tackle her and steal her clothes, water, and whatever food she had. Here’s the video of the exchange.

For all the criticism the media has endured, from the bloggers and themselves, to finally see them go on the offensive and ask hard questions was one good thing to come from this tragedy.

I don’t doubt that everyone is working hard on this and understands the extent of the tragedy; however seeing reality crash like that showed that the public can’t be fooled all the time.

Comments (1)
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Sep 10  |  shel Israel said:

There was a politician a way back who disagreed with you central point that if you say something often enough people will believe it. He said something to the effect that you can fool some of the people some of the time, but you cannot fool all of the people all of the time. If that isn’t still true, you could have fooled me.

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