What's amazing is how one agency can continue tripping over itself. After suffering through Katrina, FEMA looked like it had finally come up with a solution during the recent California wildfire crisis for bad media coverage: stage a fake press conference. It goes like this: plant the "reporters" (FEMA employees) to ask softball questions and let the FEMA official, No. 2 man Harvey Johnson, appear to be in control ( "Are you happy with FEMA's response so far"? Harvey: Yes, very happy. Next question..") Real reporters were only given 15 minutes notice to call into the press conference, and then had to sit on the phone and listen--no questions allowed in the FEMA press conference model. This helps keep things rolling along a lot more smoothly.
We'll see if this model catches on anywhere else, maybe even corporate America. Imagine when Steve Jobs hears about it--no more whiny reporters to deal with (or maybe we could have the Fake Steve Jobs hold a fake Apple press conference and see where it goes).
Meantime, Federal Emergency Management Agency chief David Paulison is ripping his own agency for the debacle and No. 2 man Johnson is complaining that he knew nothing about it (wait--how did he know that "reporter" to call on by name?).
Where's "Brownie" when we need him?
And here's the latest kicker: FEMA held another press conference featuring Michael Chertoff, head of Homeland Security, but-- get this--they only invited a select number of reporters and only one TV news crew (AP), according to CNN (check this video out).
Oh, and the guy responsible for it all, Pat Philbin, won't be getting a new job as director of public affairs for the head of national intelligence. We'll see if he holds a press conference to announce his next move.