Patterico's Pontifications


FEMA uses Fake Reporters in California Press Conference

Filed under: Government — DRJ @ 2:59 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

I’m sure they teach students in Journalism 101 that it’s not good to use fake news or fake news reporters but apparently that’s a lesson some FEMA officials forgot:

“The White House scolded the Federal Emergency Management Agency today for staging a phony news conference about assistance to victims of wildfires in southern California. The agency — much maligned for its sluggish response to Hurricane Katrina over two years ago — arranged to have FEMA employees play the part of independent reporters Tuesday and ask questions of Vice Adm. Harvey E. Johnson, the agency’s deputy director.

The questions were predictably soft and gratuitous. “I’m very happy with FEMA’s response,” Johnson said in reply to one query from an agency employee.

White House press secretary Dana Perino said it was not appropriate that the questions were posed by agency staffers instead of reporters. FEMA was responsible for the “error in judgment,” she said, adding that the White House did not know about it beforehand and did not condone it.

“FEMA has issued an apology, saying that they had an error in judgment when they were attempting to get out a lot of information to reporters, who were asking for answers to a variety of questions in regard to the wildfires in California,” Perino said. “It’s not something I would have condoned. And they — I’m sure — will not do it again.”

DHS Secretary Chertoff was not amused, saying: “Stunts such as this will not be tolerated or repeated.”

If FEMA wanted to get specific information out in a user-friendly way, I can’t imagine why they didn’t just provide a written statement in a question-and-answer format. It’s not just government, it’s everywhere. What has happened to common sense?


18 Responses to “FEMA uses Fake Reporters in California Press Conference”

  1. Apparently these people have never heard of a obscure form of written communication called a “press release.”

    Paul (f4626d)

  2. Well the White House created a fake reporter they called “Jeff Gannon” (real name James D. Gukert) so what’s new here?

    David Ehrenstein (b743cb)

  3. The White House “created”…”Jeff Gannon”???
    Total BS!

    The problem throughout society, is that for most “lack of common sense” transgressions, there has become no consequence.
    Stupidity needs to be publicly identified, and shamed. Names need to be named.
    Somebody needs to be fired!

    Another Drew (8018ee)

  4. Perhaps we should rename FEMA the Fake Emergencey Management Administration.

    Two true anecdotes of what happened in my community, a townhouse association, after Wilma. (The eyewall passed over our area, which is like getting the worst possible part of the storm, since we got the strongest winds but not the fifteen or twenty minute respite afforded by the eye proper.)

    The worst damage to my own unit was the loss of the wooden gate behind our patio, but the association as a whole sustained almost 300k worth of damage spread out among 135 units. The association applied for FEMA aid to help with the 200k worth of damage not covered by insurance (mostly due to a high deductible), and was refused because, we were told, associations like ours were not eligible. A short time later, two men appeared, took measurements, went off for wood, and in short order put a new gate into place. I expressed pleasure that the association was finally getting around to repairing the gate. (There had been, to put it politely, some difficulties there.) Whereupon I found out that I owed their presence to FEMA. Apparently they wandered about, fixed whatever they wanted, and billed (and got full payment) from FEMA, regardless of what was fixed or for whom.

    Prior to this, FEMA went around giving everyone the famous blue tarps for the roofs if they had suffered roof damage. One family in our neighborhood had not waited, but put up a tarp of their own, high quality and high priced. The workers employed by FEMA came to their house, took off the tarp, put on a FEMA tarp of considerably lesser quality, and THREW AWAY the first tarp.

    Yes, folks, your tax dollars at work

    kishnevi (40d09c)

  5. Jeff Gannon – THE GAY PORN COCK OF LIES !!!!!!!

    These FEMA folks are as dumb as alphtard.

    JD (e88f7b)

  6. “Heck of a job … George!”

    Rodney A Stanton (f604f3)

  7. David Ehrenstein is bucking for alphie’s title.

    JD (e88f7b)

  8. Isn’t this a violation of everyone’s constitutional 1st admendment with the suppression of the press?

    Jason (e729af)

  9. How does one suppress the non-press ?

    JD (e88f7b)

  10. It might be too much to say that the WH created Jeff Gannon/Guckert. But they were most certainly privy to the joke, what with his many visits to the WH without proper ID (not to mention the ridiculous softball questions).

    Andrew J. Lazarus (3e9cb8)

  11. Well, it wouldn’t be the first foray by a federal agency into the news business:

    In all, at least 20 federal agencies, including the Defense Department and the Census Bureau, have made and distributed hundreds of television news segments in the past four years, records and interviews show. Many were subsequently broadcast on local stations across the country without any acknowledgement of the government’s role in their production.

    This winter, Washington has been roiled by revelations that a handful of columnists wrote in support of administration policies without disclosing they had accepted payments from the government. But the administration’s efforts to generate positive news coverage have been considerably more pervasive than previously known. At the same time, records and interviews suggest widespread complicity or negligence by television stations, given industry ethics standards that discourage the broadcast of prepackaged news segments from any outside group without revealing the source.

    Federal agencies are forthright with broadcasters about the origin of the news segments they distribute. The reports themselves, though, are designed to fit seamlessly into the typical local news broadcast. In most cases, the “reporters” are careful not to state in the segment that they work for the government. Their reports generally avoid overt ideological appeals. Instead, the government’s news-making apparatus has produced a quiet drumbeat of broadcasts describing a vigilant and compassionate administration.

    NY Times

    Itsme (eec604)

  12. I’m shocked! Softball questions by so called news reporters? Oh, yeah, that’s the main stream media covering Democrats.

    Alta Bob (c549e9)

  13. Disband the agency, give us our tax monies back.


    Then we can start in on disbanding all the other cockamamie agencies that have no business existing.

    Patricia (f56a97)

  14. Ridiculous softball questions?


    Wait until you see the cotton balls served up to Hillary. It’ll make anything Jeff Gannon asked seem like waterboarding interrogation.

    Paul (66339f)

  15. FEMA is getting its pants back up from around its ankles!… whoops!

    EdWood (fcdfda)

  16. “I’m sure they teach students in Journalism 101 that it’s not good to use fake news or fake news reporters …”

    If by this you mean that “real” news organizations and reporters wouldn’t do this…

    Scott Beauchamp.

    Walter Duranty (Pulitzer!)

    Steven Glass.

    Capt Jamail whatsisname in Baghdad. (multiple stories from this “source”).

    Jenin “massacre.”

    Burning tire dump as Israeli strike.

    Photoshopped smoke. (multiple pictures from this source)

    Abu Green Helmet.

    Our Lebanese Lady of the perpetually destroyed houses (Reuters).

    Square “missile” holes in ambulances and other staged photos.

    Jayson Blair.

    And these are only (some of) the ones we know about.

    Eric (d851fe)

  17. p.s.

    How could I forget? <slap forehead?

    Dan Rather.

    Eric (d851fe)

  18. I just read about this on http://WWW.GLOBALGRIND.COM and I want to say this is unbelievable but it’s really not. Our country is a mess! And seriously this is something I would expect. I can’t wait till the next election!

    D.T. (f1ca89)

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