Saturday, October 27, 2007

Firestorm, Brainstorm, Shitstorm

Fake News Briefing by FEMA Draws Official Rebuke - For Vice Admiral Harvey Johnson and some of his staff Washington is hotter than Southern California at the moment. FEMA's Deputy Administrator and Chief Operating Officer is is taking serious heat from the White House and his own boss for calling a press conference on fifteen minutes notice, then taking advantage of the absence of any real reporters to field softball questions from his own staff, all the while creating the impression, for Fox TV (the camera crew was there and the "press" conference was broadcast live) and telephone listeners, that he was handling questions from real media representatives. Like many horrible decisions it seemed like a good idea at the time:

Pam (FEMA communications) - These California wild fires are fantastic Admiral, the wind died down, the fires aren't spreading, W would be in disaster heaven if he didn't have to share coverage with that camera hogging Terminator, and best of all, FEMA hasn't screwed anything up yet.

The Admiral - I know, it feels like the first good day since I walked into this mess. We should celebrate.

John (FEMA Public Relations)- We should let the whole world know, we've taken enough lumps, can't we share some good news.

The Admiral - Nice idea John, but Paulison or even Chertoff would probably want to run it, we'd need to clear it with the White House, and they're already whining about sharing the glory with Arnold - it's just not going to happen.

Pam - C'mon big guy seize the moment - you're the COO, just do it. The morale around this place needs a kick in the ass.

The Admiral - Maybe we could put something small together on our own, but we all know the first twenty questions - how do you compare the situation in California with Katrina, what did you learn from Katrina, what do you say to criticism that you were ready to save White people's mansions in California while you sat on your can as Black neighborhoods drowned during Katrina, Katrina, Katrina, Katrina - we'll never get away from it - and I wasn't even here then.

John - Maybe we could get away from it just this once - it's a fast breaking story. Let's make it a quickie, short notice fast briefing, if we're lucky no one will even get here to ask a question. We'll let Fox know a little before everyone else, the Fox camera crews will arrive and set up, we can finish the whole press conference before a reporter even gets here. Worst case, the rest of the Fox team arrives before we start, and they won't mention Katrina anyway.

Pam - Duhhhh! A press conference with no one to ask questions, won't that be, like, weird?

John - Not a problem, we'll start with a briefing, you and I and Stacie can each ask a general follow up question so it won't look fishy and we'll be done before anyone knows what hit em. It would be a guaranteed hit.

The Admiral - I'm not sure about this.

John and Pam - Please, Admiral, we really need a boost.

The Admiral - Well alright, but let's be careful with the tone in that briefing, don't forget to bow and scrape to W and Michael and Paulison. Oh Yeah, remember, somber tone, it's a great day for FEMA but we can't sound like we're celebrating some one else's disaster.

John and Pam - We're on it.

Late that night -

The Admiral - John, Pam, I have some bad news. The media is hopping mad about our briefing. I guess you guys looked like fake reporters. W is ranting that FEMA really is a disaster agency. Chertoff just called, he said something about a gang
of idiots that could overcome any obstacle to spin gold into lead - I don't think we're going to survive this one.

John - Chief, how could anyone have thought we were pretending to be reporters, all we did was toss out a couple of softballs so you could flesh out the briefing - no real reporter would have asked those questions.

The Admiral - They thought you were from Fox.

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