At some point over the last 48-72 hours, reporters covering the cataclysm in New Orleans realized that they were being buried in bullshit. They decided to dig their way out.
After hearing federal officials claim that things were "getting better," the reporters -- most notably, Shep Smith and Geraldo Rivera of Fox and Anderson Cooper of CNN -- decided to let their viewers know the truth.
So when Michael Chertoff, the head of homeland security, insisted on Saturday that "no one" knew Katrina was going to be such a huge storm until "a day, maybe a day-and-a-half" before it made landfall, the mainstream media was able to say, with confidence:
When Chertoff claimed Katrina "exceeded the foresight of the planners, and maybe anybody's foresight," the media made note of several past warnings about hurricanes and New Orleans, and said:
When Mike Brown, the head of FEMA, said that reports of lawlessness in New Orleans were "a little bit exaggerated," reporters picked their jaws up off the floor and called:
And it's not just the media. Over the past several days we've talked to several Republican friends. Not one has defended the Bush Administration's response to Hurricane Katrina. Several have said they won't vote Republican in the next election.
The Bush Administration can peddle its "no one could possibly know" line from now until the rebuilding of New Orleans. For them the trouble is that no one can possibly believe their words. Not anymore. Not after all the bullshit they've spread.