Reviewing the falsehoods, myths and misrepresentations spun by the press, politicians and pundits after Hurricane Katrina, one is reminded of Nora Ephron's bon mot: "No matter how cynical I get, I can't seem to keep up."Did the media get anything right about Katrina? And is it a coincidence that the mistaken reporting made the Bush administration look bad and sank his poll numbers?
Most recently, we have word from the National Hurricane Center that Katrina was not a category 4 storm at all, but rather, a category 3 when it slammed into the Gulf Coast Aug. 29. So much for the notion the levees were built to withstand anything less than a category 4.
This is only the latest in a string of stories correcting, amending and often reversing what we were told at the time. The string is so long the fabric of Katrina reporting has unraveled utterly. It's enough to encourage caution, if not outright cynicism, about all reporting, particularly during emergencies.
I believe the number one story of 2005 is the declining credibility of the mainstream media. They have given up any pretense of objectivity. They look at Fox News, talk radio, conservative pundits and the right side of the internet and conclude their mission is to counter all that by being partisan liberals. Job one should be: get the facts right.
Update: Michelle Malkin looks back at the year the New York Times had.