In the past four weeks, two international media houses have stated – accurately – that the Army Corps of Engineers is responsible for the levee breach events of August 2005.
The two examples are noteworthy because in both cases, the flooding details were quite outside of the point of the story.
And in both cases, the details were included as established facts; household knowledge if you will.
In a Reuters story discussing Brad Pitt’s philanthropy in a poor New Orleans neighborhood, reporter Rob Walker wrote,
“After Katrina, [Brad] Pitt decried the injustice of the Lower Ninth Ward suffering because a federally guaranteed floodwall had failed.”
In a Bloomberg Businessweek story discussing revenues to Gulf states from royalties on offshore drilling, reporter Nichola Groom wrote:
” The changes [to revenues] followed national outrage over the administration’s botched emergency response to catastrophic flooding from the systematic failure of the federally constructed levee system in New Orleans.”
Founder Sandy Rosenthal and the group Levees.org is featured in this WDSU TV news story the City of New Orleans plans to use $2.4 billion in FEMA money awarded to improve infrastructure and streets damaged in August of 2005 when the federal levees broke.
A former federal prosecutor who worked for US Attorney Jim Letten was recently disbarred for comments he made online using an alias in New Orleans.
Sal Perricone’s comments on the Times-Picayune newspaper’s website, NOLA.com resulted in Letten’s resignation and several new trials.
Times have changed. Ten years ago, this exact sort of behavior resulted in a wrist slap.
After Hurricane Katrina, multiple people with the Army Corps of Engineers engaged in the same behavior as Mr. Perricone did.
Specifically, corps personnel – persons in a position of public trust – were disguising their identities, pretending to be objective onlookers and using NOLA.com’s user-engagement features to viciously attack anyone who criticized the corps.
One of their targets was me and the grassroots group Levees.org which I founded with my fifteen year old son after the levees broke.