Tim Russert Presses Aaron Broussard

Tim Russert used Meet the Press this weekend to teach Jefferson Parish President Aaron Broussard a lesson -- the next time New Orleans is destroyed by flood, he should be more factual during his emotional breakdowns.

Russert played back Broussard's last interview on the show, in which he related a gut-wrenching story about the death of a colleague's mother in a nursing home after the storm.

True to form, Russert didn't have the spine to accuse Broussard directly of being wrong. He quoted bloggers:

... it's important I think ... that our viewers see that again because MSNBC and other blog organizations have looked into the facts behind your comments and these are the conclusions, and I'll read it for you and our viewers. It says: "An emotional moment and a misunderstanding. Since the broadcast of the interview, which elevated Broussard to national prominence, a number of bloggers have questioned the validity of Broussard's story. ...

Subsequent reporting identified the man whom Broussard was referring to in the Meet the Press interview as Thomas Rodrigue, the Jefferson Parish emergency services director. Contacted on Friday by MSNBC.com, Rodrigue acknowledged that his 92-year-old mother and more than 30 other people died in the St. Rita nursing home. They had not been evacuated and the flood waters overtook the residence.

The chronology of the phone calls described by Broussard came under particular scrutiny by bloggers.

It's possible that Broussard was intentionally lying, as all-knowing conservative bloggers have been claiming for days, but I believe it's far more likely he was simply exhausted, traumatized, and didn't have the full story at his disposal.

Rather than being chastened by Russert, Broussard had a message for the Internet's fact-checking asses:

Listen, sir, somebody wants to nitpick a man's tragic loss of a mother because she was abandoned in a nursing home? Are you kidding? What kind of sick mind, what kind of black-hearted people want to nitpick a man's mother's death? They just buried Eva last week. I was there at the wake. Are you kidding me? That wasn't a box of Cheerios they buried last week.


Russert is nothing more then a Rethug hack. No objectivity @ all.

Couldn't help notice when Russert was "flumoxed" he turned for aid to, of all people, Republican Governor of Mississippi Haley Barbour to bail him out! The former Chair of the National Republican Party (Is a great one for hugging Bush and telling him what a great job he's doping.)

Even Texans, today are being quoted that Bush did as bad a job in Texas considering the warning (and experience they had with Katrina)

See Washington Post today!!

Sorry! That was a "fraud ian" slip.

Couldn't help notice when Russert was "flumoxed" he turned for aid to, of all people, Republican Governor of Mississippi Haley Barbour to bail him out! The former Chair of the National Republican Party (Is a great one for hugging Bush and telling him what a great job he's doping.)

Should be "he's doing."

Well! Maybe that works as well!

I'm sure that Broussard was exhausted in the first go around. However, I'd be a lot more sympathetic if it were one of his own family members he lost. Using facts you aren't sure of in order to score political points is questionable - at best.

As to the "all knowing conservatives" - there's plenty of "all knowingness" in the political sphere to go around - it's hardly unique to one side.

Russert showed up to a Republican fundraiser a few years ago as the guest of then GE CEO Jack Welch (GE owns NBC, Russert's network). Russert would flash a Bush-Cheney button he wore on the underside of his lapel to the GOP leaders to let them know he was really one of them. Welch showed up at NBC headquarters on election night 2000 and according to many in attendance influenced their coverage to be more pro-Bush. I remember so many interviews where Russert threw softball questions at Bush and members of his administration, but he drills a local official over a single instance and ignores the more than 1000 American's Bush's cronyism and patronage begotten incompetence killed. I'm not certain if Russert is a paid or unpaid stooge of the White House. But as a faithful little lapdog of the GOP he can't be beat!

Good boy, Timmy, here's your doggie treat.

When we, the American People, take back our country from the neo-con-men and their sycophantic Corporate Media lackeys we'll put the MSM pukes like Russert in prison for for aiding and abetting the lies to our nation.

For what it's worth, it isn't all Freepers and Powerliners who outed Broussard for lying about Rodrigue's mother's death. As far as I can tell, it was my own normally-full-on-Bush-hater weblog that was second to publicly question the truthfulness of Broussard's account, and first to post the specifics of the news reporting that showed his version of events was incorrect.

That guy at Wuzzadem actually got his specifics from the Wikipedia page on Aaron Broussard -- a page that had been updated to include those specifics by me. It was kind of interesting to me how my own weblog's demonstration that Broussard was lying sat mostly unnoticed for most of a week. But within a few days of his repeating the same information on his blog, John at Wuzzadem was awash in incoming links, including from such heavy hitters (well, and nutjobs, but whatever) as Michelle Malkin.

I think my weblog actually gets more traffic, normally, than Wuzzadem. But I guess I don't get the kind of readers who are willing to help spread a meme of Democrat (as opposed to Republican) dishonesty.

For Tim Russert to quote MSNBC or conservative bloggers is pathetic. MSNBC is the network which main guy was praising the Iraq invasion as something my country has embarked on so I have to support it. So if your father beats up some one for no reason or wrong reason, then I have to support him.No. This network is part of NBC conglamate which supports the Republican right no matter what they do. They are always saying "THE NEW IRAQ" as if IRAQ vanished from the surface of the earth and returned some days or years later.

Bob Somersby will probably have a field day with this, if he hasn't already, because it ties in to his running theme that political partisans will embrace false things that confirm their beliefs.

Kudos for questioning Broussard so early, but your statement that he was "lying about Rodrigue's mother's death" is the kind of false certainty that I've been protesting among his critics on the right.

It's not a lie until someone offers firsthand knowledge that he intended to mislead Russert during the first appearance. I find it hard to believe that on the Sunday morning he appeared on that show, six long days after the storm made landfall, Broussard was scheming to make the feds look bad by offering that elaborate timeline of five days of neglect.

I believe his explanation on the second appearance is probably true -- he didn't plan to go into such detail about Rodrigue's mother, but related what he had been told about her death.

If he stretched the true, the embellishment was akin to how an angry driver will embellish an encounter with another road rager when talking to police.

I don't know. I didn't really read it as Russert badgering him. I thought it more that Russert was giving Broussard the opportunity to respond to the vindictive conservative bloggers. I also didn't read that Broussard was all that mad at Russert himself (though he did seem a little taken aback by hearing the clip again).

Isn't the bottom line that the mother did die in the neglected nursing home enough? Why nit-pick? Which is what Broussard's point was this last sunday.

Yeah, I'd buy that explanation (that Broussard was _not_ intentionally lying, but was tired, overwrought, and went with a version of events that he'd either honestly misunderstood or somewhat-less-honestly had decided he didn't need to know the details about, since if he didn't know them he could fill them in himself in a manner that would help him make his larger point).

For myself, I think it's more likely that it was a conscious lie, but I'm pretty cynical on those kinds of questions. In support of that position, I'd offer the way the initial appearance seemed, in hindsight, to be so carefully crafted to build to that emotional climax. Also notice how, in his remarks yesterday, Broussard did the following:

1. Claimed to be surprised by hearing his recorded remarks from the first appearance, saying that he hadn't heard them until then, and was emotionally rocked by being put back in a place he was unprepared to go. (Is that credible? The guy -- a politician -- makes national headlines with his emotional outburst, and as of three weeks later he's surprised and shocked to be hearing it for the first time since then?)

2. Asserted again that Rodrigue's mother actually _did_ die on Friday (contradicting all media accounts, and the account of Rodrigue himself). Why would he assert that?

3. Did an actually very-artful tapdance between acknowledging wrongdoing (as in that last bit about needing sleep, and having only intended to make a brief comment and having his emotions carry him away), and actually maintaining that his original assertions were factually correct (the Friday death claim I mentioned above, the apparent aggrieved-innocent rant about "you gotta be kidding me" and "black hearts" and all that).

4. Going back to the first part of yesterday's appearance, I couldn't help getting the feeling that Broussard was in effect filibustering, padding his beginning-of-the-interview answers with a lengthy recitation of specific and mostly-irrelevant detail.

Taken together, those points lead (admitted-cynic) me to believe that yesterday's appearance was likely a carefully crafted piece of media manipulation. He had no alternative but to leave Russert's main point (that his statement in the first appearance was factually wrong) unchallenged, because Russert basically has a smoking gun there in the form of Rodrigue's statements to the media. Despite that, though, Broussard appeared to be consciously working to preserve the illusion in the minds of those who hadn't followed all the specifics that his version of Eva Rodrigue's death was the factually correct one. If that's what he was doing, it was classic Bush/Rove-style political spin.

Maybe you're right, though. Maybe he's just an honest country boy who's been overtaken by horrific events and needs a chance to catch up on his sleep and sort everything out. Certainly, as I watch him in each of those two appearances, I find myself _wanting_ to believe him. There's an appealing sincerity to his delivery, an apparent openness in his emotion-laden response, that inspires sympathy. It's basically the same response I had watching Clinton vow, with similar apparent sincerity, that he'd never had sexual relations with that woman, Miss Lewinsky.

Was Broussard lying? I honestly don't know. Some of the things he said in his first appearance certainly weren't true, and I think it's important that people who initialy took him at face value be made aware of that. Beyond that, though, I guess it's up to each individual to decide how to interpret what he did.

Sorry, wots the question agin?

Is Timbit Russert a pathetic excuse fer a journalist and an unabashed apologist fer GE and their wholly owned subsidary BushCo?

No shit Sherlock.

Even lap-dogs have teeth and when folk like Broussard say things like... "It's not just Katrina that caused all these deaths in New Orleans here. Bureaucracy has committed murder here in the greater New Orleans area and bureaucracy has to stand trial before Congress now. It's so obvious." ...then the aforementioned lap-dogs gotta try and use 'em.

The only real question is whether ABs skewed time line was deliberate lying fer political points or, as AB himself suggests, the result of stress, lack of sleep and miscomunications.

Personally Spud feels the truth is the latter theory.

In order to cry crocodile tears
ya gotta BE a crocodile.

Be Well.

Mr Broussard must know that he is in trouble, since the evacuation of the people in that nursing home was ultimately his; being in charge of that parish, so to speak. Indeed, if he isn't a Democrat, I would certainly be amazed, in light of this comment:

What kind of sick mind, what kind of black-hearted people want to nitpick a man's mother's death? They just buried Eva last week. I was there at the wake. Are you kidding me? That wasn't a box of Cheerios they buried last week.

Well, obviously any 'sick mind' that wanted to know the truth concerning those deaths and the line-of-repsonsibilty involved. Indeed, Mr. Broussard, as is so typical of the Left nowadays, attempts to spin any culpability away from the facts and misdirect it onto those who notice his lying effort (obvious lying effort) and to call them 'sick' and 'black-hearted.' He must have learned this technique from the Clinton years, when the Left spun felony perjury into something as 'innocent' as 'everyday' fellatio in the White House.

Obvious 'projection' by Mr. Broussard, the dark-hearted and sick parish president who failed to see that the sick and elderly were safe in his parish...

Your damn right Broussard could have misspoken in the week after the hurricane. You have to be there to believe it--it is worse than any armchair observer can know. I went down to help family and friends and hope to god I never see anything like it again.

People are exhausted; they lose their train of thought; they slur words from exhaustion. The idea that he was grandstanding or working the media is inane. I've been there and I tell you this: people are emotionally devastated. Would you like to go do a Meet the Press interview after smelling bodies for a week? Give me a freaking break.

and another thing, if you don't understand how Broussard couldn't have seen the first interview for a week, i.e. until he was on the following week, then got your head out of the sand. I was there a week and had no idea what was going on--communication with the outer world was very difficult. Peoplw outside of the area had far easier access to information.

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