The U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency's (FEMA's) fake news conference -- where FEMA staffers played reporter, asking FEMA's deputy administrator softball questions -- has cost one person his job. Former FEMA Director of External Affairs John Philbin was slated to start a new job under the Director of National Intelligence, Mike McConnell. However, following the FEMA debacle, McConnell issued a statement that "Mr. Philbin is not, nor is he scheduled to be, the director of public affairs." (FEMA has also removed Philbin's bio from its website.) Other questionable responses to the California wildfires include promoting former FEMA director Michael Brown to media outlets, "as an expert on disaster and recovery efforts." Brown is now the "corporate strategy director for Cotton Cos., a disaster recovery outfit that saw duty in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina." Cotton's PR firm, 5W Public Relations, is pitching "Brownie," reports O'Dwyer's. On Fox News, Brown did a "heckuva job," blaming the fires on environmentalists opposed to "controlled burns." Lastly, Allstate put out a wildfire-related video news release. The fake news piece features an Allstate employee (standing in front of an Allstate logo) telling viewers the insurance company is "doing everything we can ... to help our customers start the recovery process."
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