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February 4, 2009
A Tale of Two Storms, or Let them eat wagyu
A massive storm slams into the United States, threatening to "be hazardous to our citizenry," yet, the President of the United States chides his fellow citizens to show some "flinty" tougness "When it comes to the weather."
The storm kills dozens of people and endangers the lives and safety of hundreds of thousands of others; meanwhile the President of the United States hosts an exclusive cocktail party and fetes his A-list guests with chicken curry and wagyu steak, a Japanese delicacy prized for its tenderness. "It also costs a bundle -- as much as $100 a pound for choice cuts," according to the Scripps News Service.
While up to 1.3 million Americans shiver without power, endangering the well-being--even the lives--of the elderly, the young, and the ill, the president cranks up his own thermostat.
As hundreds of thousands of people remain without electricity to heat their homes , the President of the United States watches the Super Bowl, hosting a White House party described as (no pun intended) 'the hottest ticket in town.'
While state officials plead for the president to speed assistance to devastated regions, the president cracks jokes while dining on filet mignon and lobster with members of an exclusive club comprised of Washington's "rich and powerful."
As referenced earlier, with regions from Texas to New England struggling with what the governor of Kentucky says is "the biggest natural disaster that this state has ever experienced in modern history," President Obama, with a warm White House to return to, even goes so far as to admonish others to tough out winter weather. "We're going to have to apply some flinty Chicago toughness to this town," he says in reference to Washington D.C. schools closing because of "some ice."
(It's not clear if he's referring to Rod Blagoyevich-style toughness of William Ayers I-regret-I-didn't-bomb-more toughness.)
Legacy media coverage, of course, fails to note the above contrasts.
Admittedly, ice storms are probably not as telegenic as hurricanes, nor do they lend themselves to days of dramatic buildup, with maps predicting possible paths and planes flying through them to test their intensity. But, to the families of people who die during them, or the people whose property is damaged by them, they are are every bit as significant. Yet, the contrasts with Hurricane Katrina beg for attention, literally.
Can anyone imagine the media outcry if, during Katrina, President Bush had hosted a function that served $100-a-pound Japanese beef? Or dined on lobster and filet mignon with a private club whose membership is limited to 200 Washington insiders?
Or if President Bush had chided folks in New Orleans to get Texas-tough over 'a little wind and rain'?
Just a guess -- they wouldn't have simply ignored it.
William Tate is an award-winning journalist and author.