Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Defending Mike Brown (God Help Me)

I never thought I'd defend former FEMA fuckup Mike Brown, but let me weigh in briefly on the skewering he has received in recent weeks for the batch of emails and Blackberry messages he sent and received during Hurricane Katrina.

The sanctimony from The Chicago Tribune's Dawn Turner Trice is fairly representative of the bashing:

"If I could have a moment of Michael Brown's time, I'd tell the former head of the Federal Emergency Management Agency what I saw while covering Hurricane Katrina for the Tribune.

"I'd tell him why his recently released e-mail messages are an insult to, first, the victims of the storm, but also to his hardworking and dedicated FEMA staffers who now see that not only did their boss fail to better prepare his agency for a storm they knew was coming, but what's worse is that he may not have even cared."

Give me a break.

I find it difficult to believe that Trice isn't aware of the rampant gallows humor and dumb distractions that infect many journalists covering events of great tragedy, such as Katrina. Well, guess what? The same callousness can spout from the mouths and minds of government officials; and, yes, it can be just as fake and inappropriate from them as it is with reporters talking among themselves.

Mike Brown undoubtedly handled Katrina like the incompetent goofball he is, but don't blame him for firing off some idiotic emails in which he bragged about having bought a new shirt from Nordstrom's or joked that he was a fashion god. If we were all judged by what we said to our friends and colleagues in casual conversation, all of us would be in special ed.


At 8:48 AM, Blogger Dr. Pants said...

My boss is actually friends with Brown and says he's a nice guy, which I guess is plausible. I've known lots of nice and completely incompetent people before.

I can see the sting in words that seem like he was goofing off when people were in danger, but it's not like it was Bush ("I used to party, sometimes too hard, in this city."), who people elected.

This guy was appointed, not chosen by us. He pretty much only has to live up to those high Dubya standards.

"C- on that paper? You're doing a heckuva job, Brownie."

At 2:24 PM, Blogger Lady Godiva said...

Hey, watch it buster, it's no longer Special Ed... it's "Specials Class."

At 3:59 PM, Blogger Chase McInerney said...

No disrespect intended, Godiva. I can't ever stop on top of all the P.C. variations.

At 5:54 PM, Blogger Ceres said...

I have to disagree with you Mr. McInerney. Mike Brown was using government property and government time talking to a government employee. He owes it to all taxpayers to act like the FEMA Director and not like a kid passing notes in school. Journalists' e-mail banter doesn't cost me any money. People in high positions like Mike Brown should at the very least act professionally.


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