In his book Frank Rich asks, what did Hurricane Katrina teach us?
He responds: Hurricane Katrina to me was in some ways the end of the story I wanted to tell because that's when I felt this manipulation of the truth came back to haunt this particular White House. When the devastation of Katrina happened, Americans saw, with their own eyes, suffering fellow Americans begging for help. And Homeland Security and elsewhere said, "It's all fine." Or, "We don't even know about it."
Oprah: Was that lies or they just didn't know?
Frank: It was a replay of what had happened in the war in Iraq. They're telling us good news all the time, the government is, when there's bad news happening. It was harder to see in Iraq, in part because it's so dangerous. Here it was in New Orleans, it was on the Gulf Coast, it was Americans. And the President is saying to someone, "[Michael Brown] is doing a heck of a job," when he was obviously doing a terrible job and every American knew it.
Oprah: But I didn't think that was lying. I thought he just had not been informed. There's a difference.
Frank: You make a very good point. You can also say that, like the weapons of mass destruction [before] going into Iraq, we know they were informed. But you can ignore certain information and present other information. How could [former FEMA Director Michael Brown and Secretary of Homeland Security Michael Chertoff] not be informed when something's happening live on television?