Associated Press Admits Error In Katrina Video Story

No doubt based the debunking of the Associated Press’s bald-faced lies in their Hurricane Katrina video briefings story by the blogosphere (see our contributions at the end of this piece), the AP has issued the following “clarification” about their original report [Via Drudge].

Clarification: Katrina-Video story

WASHINGTON (AP) _ In a March 1 story, The Associated Press reported that federal disaster officials warned President Bush and his homeland security chief before Hurricane Katrina struck that the storm could breach levees in New Orleans, citing confidential video footage of an Aug. 28 briefing among U.S. officials.

The Army Corps of Engineers considers a breach a hole developing in a levee rather than an overrun. The story should have made clear that Bush was warned about floodwaters overrunning the levees, rather than the levees breaking.

The day before the storm hit, Bush was told there were grave concerns that the levees could be overrun. It wasn’t until the next morning, as the storm was hitting, that Michael Brown, then head of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, said Bush had inquired about reports of breaches. Bush did not participate in that briefing.Which makes the AP video story a boldface lie. We’re anxiously awaiting scrutiny of the AP by the media critics who are paid to do such work [hint, hint Howard Kurtz]…

As I was the first to note, one of the authors of the original AP story, Margaret Ebrahim, appears to have a tangential Rathergate connection via her previous employment by CBS’s 60 Minutes II.

The Rathergate similarities don’t end there however. It’s amazing how utterly and completely the AP followed CBS’s tragically flawed formula of attempting to buttress their lies with more lies. The Blanco video story just compounded their errors.

By Friday the AP was reduced to interviewing an AP reporter to pump up the importance of their original story – long after it had been breached more severely that the levees in New Orleans. If that doesn’t smack of the Gunga Dan defense of his 60 Minutes II piece I don’t know what does…

Don’t feel too sorry for the subject of that interview, AP Political reporter Ron Fournier, since he admits to being the person who actually procured the tapes for the AP and the one who set the tone of the reporting. In Ron Fournier and Margaret Ebrahim I’d say we’ve got this story’s Dan Rather and Mary Mapes…

And this evening they got hung out to dry by their bosses…

Previous Wizbang Coverage

Rewriting Katrina History – AP Style
What’s in a Word?
The AP Katrina Briefing Story – Rathergate Connection
New Katrina Video, Same Old AP Bull

Update: Of course it’s not as much fun for you the Wizbang reader unless you play along too, so let’s have a bit of a challenge. Using The Associate Press Statement of New Values and Principles, lets see how many of those values and principles they had to disregard in their reporting of this story. I’ll start you off with a freebie…

When we’re wrong, we must say so as soon as possible. When we make a correction in the current cycle, we point out the error and its fix in the editor’s note. A correction must always be labeled a correction in the editor’s note. We do not use euphemisms such as “recasts,” “fixes,” “clarifies” or “changes” when correcting a factual error.

So they violated that principle with the first word of their release…

Update 2: I got a bit carried away with working on technical issues from the server move this weekend, so I lost track of the conversation here. As I said when I first examined the AP story, I invite you to look through our Katrina archives from the beginning (over 120 posts) – where you can learn a lot about what actually happened and when. Wizbang was in a unique position in that one of our bloggers (Paul – an engineer by trade) is also a New Orleans resident. That provided us with a unique local angle on the story not found on most other blogs. If you’ve just not had enough of arguing over the details of the story here you can always head on over and visit our friends at USAToday’s On Deadline blog. They’ve got the same raging debate going on…

Carnival of the Trackbacks LIII
Disgusting Excuse for Parents


  1. Francis W. Porretto March 4, 2006
  2. Elmo March 4, 2006
  3. don surber March 4, 2006
  4. Just John March 4, 2006
  5. Faith+1 March 4, 2006
  6. haw March 4, 2006
  7. erp March 4, 2006
  8. The Apologist March 4, 2006
  9. Dodo David March 4, 2006
  10. Ariel Barkai March 4, 2006
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  16. un-evil-doer March 4, 2006
  17. Bushwhacker March 4, 2006
  18. phillip March 4, 2006
  19. An Other Greek March 4, 2006
  20. tiredofrightwingscum March 4, 2006
  21. Elmo March 4, 2006
  22. An Other Greek March 4, 2006
  23. Elmo March 4, 2006
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  28. An Other Greek March 4, 2006
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  31. RALPH MEACHAM March 4, 2006
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  33. Mac Lorry March 4, 2006
  34. Mac Lorry March 5, 2006