Spinning A Disaster

The Director of Crisis Media for the PR firm Hill & Knowlton, Paul Clark, had a few words of advice on crisis management for public officials handling the Hurricane Katrina disaster. "One of the first concepts is to accept blame if it applies ... people forgive mistakes, but they don't forgive excuses," Clark told the St. Petersburg Times. "Make full disclosure of the facts, but don't speculate on things you don't know ... like death estimates." Several days earlier, the Associated Press reported that the Federal Emergency Management Agency's Under Secretary of Emergency Preparedness and Response, Michael D. Brown, included a little PR advice in a memo seeking approval for the dispatch of 1,000 Homeland Security employees to the disaster area. In the leaked memo, Brown noted that the deployment of the employees would be expected to "convey a positive image of disaster operations to government officials, community organizations and the general public."


This email just showed up in my inbox today, it sounds a bit to polished to be real. "I smell a spin" does anyone what to verify this?

-----Original Message-----
From: Richard Broyles [mailto:dickeya@hcis.net]
Sent: Monday, September 12, 2005 3:17 PM
To: Undisclosed-Recipient:;
Subject: Fw: Louisiana update

This note is from a girl who I work with named Robin. She's in Louisiana and amid all the turmoil there. When I read her story I got chills; this is horrible. I'm sending this to all of you to spread the word, PRAY. There are local churches where she lives who will be housing the homeless. Coleen

Here's her note:

** We have had a battery operated TV so we've been getting local channels focusing on the situation there and here. I'm just getting the "national perspective" and its *(&*&(*ing me off! First, this is not a racial thing. I'm sorry if all the reporters are seeing are black faces but if they would take their cameras to places like Slidell, Mandeville, Metairie and CHALMETTE! they would see a several thousand white faces being affected by this. Most of the tip of the boot that is Louisiana south and east of Baton Rouge is under water. Those people are stuck too waiting for help, dying, but all the news people can focus on is the Superdome.

Another misconception. The violence going on there is not the reaction of desperate people. Its typical New Orleans on any given Tuesday!!! Its a dangerous, dirty, drug infested place where the city police and city government is corrupt and useless. Volunteers are getting shot at and their cars vandalized. Helicopters are being shot at. Just another day in the city.

Another misconception. These poor people couldn't get out because they don't have cars. If the cameras show the city once the waters recede, you'll notice all the flooded out cars littering the streets. They couldn't all have been broken down before the storm hit . Yes, there are always people who do not have transportation. Part of making the call for a MANDATORY evacuation is that the city has to provide for transportation and/or shelter in the city. People stayed for the same reasons they always stay. They think the storm will turn and go in another direction. They think they can "ride it out." Or, they're just too (*&( lazy to pack up and leave.

Another misconception. The federal government was slow to respond.The president issued a state of emergency BEFORE the storm ever hit,unprecedented. This means that the full access of the federal government, be it military or civil, were at our governor's disposal. The levee broke early Monday afternoon. She did not call evacuationuntil Tuesday morning. You cannot call up National Guard units in 20 minutes. It takes time. The governor and mayor are in high CIA mode at the moment. The situation is bad here. Crime is becoming a problem in Gonzales and Baton Rouge where the evacuees are being housed. We live between the two cities and there is pistol on my desk shelf as I type (yes, I know how to use it). Helicopters flying overhead all day, gas is running out, stores shelves becoming empty. Its like a war zone. Our know both here and are staying here until the crime situation gets in control and I fear it will
get worse before it gets better. Pray for us. ** SO, that's all I'm
asking. SEND this to your friends and right now say
a prayer for the people going through this whole catastrophe. Thanks. Robin

No virus found in this incoming message.
Checked by AVG Anti-Virus.
Version: 7.0.344 / Virus Database: 267.10.21/96 - Release Date: 9/10/2005

Just did a quick search to see if the note is elsewhere on the web, and it's been posted on at least two other sites:
That, its use of GOP talking points, and the "friend of a friend" presentation (common to many urban legends) make me question it.

I received the forward today from a neighbor who said that her husband received it from a friend of his cousin. It began with a different intro than the one here. I was going to copy the intro and the strangest thing happened. That piece of mail popped off my screen and is no longer anywhere in my mail box. Hounddog

I received the forward today from a
neighbor who said her husband received it from his cousin's friend.

It was also sent to nine other
addresses. I thought it might be a
fake so I went hunting and here I
am. Bloodhound

Laura Rozen has [[http://www.villagevoice.com/news/0537,rozen,67724,2.html|some observations]] about the White House spin on Katrina.