Wednesday, September 07, 2005

NBC: Just another pig @ the Katrina trough

Over @ TPMCafe, Larry Johnson relates a stunning story about his attempt to correct the falsehoods spun by MSNBC about the White House's Katrina response:

While watching the MSNBC program, CONNECTED, COAST TO COAST with Ron Reagan, a man from the Evergreen Foundation was on air spinning the myth that the President had to "beg" the Governor of Louisiana to take action. Having been on this show several times I called one of the bookers, Susan Durrwatcher, to alert her to the fact that this man was misrepresenting what happened. I offered Susan the following objective, documented facts (see timeline below). Susan thanked me for my "opinion" and said "we just have a different perspective". Stunned, I asked her by what standard of journalism that an objective fact was mere opinion? I asked her to simply look at the documents and correct the record. She declined.

Now why would MSNBC, which is part-owned by NBC, be so intent on hewing to offical White House lies? Well, NBC, of course is owned by General Electric. But I'm sure the network's decisions are not in any way related to this:

The GE Rolls-Royce Fighter Engine Team recently announced it has been awarded a contract valued at $2.4 billion to develop its F136 engine for the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program.

Or this:
The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission sent extra staff to three nuclear power plants owned by Entergy Corp (NYSE:ETR) in Louisiana and Mississippi, including the Waterford plant which temporarily shut down due to Hurricane Katrina, the agency said on Monday. "We are staying on top of the situation because protecting public health and safety is paramount," said Nils Diaz, NRC chairman.

The Waterford plant is located about 30 miles west of New Orleans. The company said it shut its 1,089-megawatt unit 3.

At the Waterford plant, the NRC said its major concern beyond winds was the storm surge which could approach the top of an 18-foot levee on the Mississippi River.

Nuclear plants are constructed to withstand winds stronger than Katrina's 135 mph (216 kph) winds. Waterford and the other two Entergy plants -- River Bend near Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and Grand Gulf near Vicksburg, Mississippi -- have watertight doors at key safety systems.

The NRC will have to approve the restart of Waterford and any other nuclear plant that shuts down.

The Waterford plant isn't a GE shop, but it is run by Entergy, the second largest US operator of nuclear plants, and thus one of GE's biggest potential customers.

Coincidentally, GE did build the Grand Gulf, Mississippi and River Bend, Louisiana generating units, also operated by Entergy.

Even more coincidentally, the report quoted above, from the MSNBC website, does not disclose the fact that MSNBC's masters just might have some interest in the story.

But far be it from me to impugn the integrity of a major news operation.


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