Coulter peddled Katrina falsehoods on Fox, but the truth sneaked in -- "I don't know what the details are"September 12, 2005 11:11 AM EDT ››› JOSH KALVEN
As a guest on the September 8 edition of Fox News' Hannity & Colmes, right-wing pundit Ann Coulter made several false statements pertaining to Hurricane Katrina and the relief efforts taking place in its aftermath.
Coulter claimed it is "manifestly true" that no one anticipated the levee breeches, then admitted she doesn't know the "details"
When co-host Alan Colmes cited President Bush's claim, made during a September 1 interview with ABC's Diane Sawyer, that he "didn't think anyone anticipated the breach of the levees," Coulter interjected: "That's manifestly true." But after Colmes objected to her assertion, Coulter admitted she actually did not know "what the details are about this."
In fact, Bush's claim that no one "anticipated the breach of the levees" is categorically false. The St. Petersburg Times reported on August 30 that National Hurricane Center director Max Mayfield "talked about the force of Katrina during a video conference call to President Bush at his ranch in Crawford, Texas" on August 28. The Washington Post quoted Mayfield on September 6: "They knew that this one was different. ... I don't think [Federal Emergency Management Agency director] Mike Brown or anyone else in FEMA could have any reason to have any problem with our calls. ... They were told ... We said the levees could be topped." Moreover, just hours after the storm passed on Monday, August 29, Brown confirmed that the potential for catastrophic flooding remained. In an interview with Brown, NBC Today co-host Matt Lauer noted, "In New Orleans, in particular, they're worried about the levees giving way or the canals not holding, and they're worried about toxic runoff." Brown responded that even though the storm had weakened, there was still a 15- to 20-foot storm surge causing "the water out of Lake Pontchartrain and the Gulf and the Mississippi [to] continue to converge upon Louisiana." Brown added, "So we're still ready for a major disaster."
Coulter demanded that MoveOn.org "actually help out" with the Katrina disaster, overlooking the group's national evacuee housing program
In response to co-host Sean Hannity's claim that "prominent Democrats" had "politicized" the disaster in New Orleans and the Gulf Coast, Coulter complained: "MoveOn.com [sic: MoveOn.org] is down protesting outside the White House today. How about putting together some evacuee bags? How about actually helping out?"
In fact, MoveOn.org has done more than simply protest the Bush administration's response to Hurricane Katrina. In the wake of the disaster, the organization mounted a national emergency housing drive that, the group reports, has volunteered to provide more than 250,000 beds to those left homeless by the storm and flood, as the weblog Think Progress noted in response to Coulter.
To further argue that liberal groups have not sufficiently aided in relief efforts in Louisiana and Mississippi, Coulter stated she would like to see a "breakdown" of "how much churches are contributing versus, say, Barry Lynn's church." When Hannity asked her what church she was talking about, Coulter explained that it was a "joke," suggesting that Lynn, the executive director of Americans United for Separation of Church and State, was not associated with an actual church.
In fact, Lynn is an ordained minister in the United Church of Christ (UCC). Moreover, the UCC created the "Hope Shall Bloom" Hurricane Katrina Fund in the immediate aftermath of the catastrophe. The church recently increased its fundraising goal for disaster relief to $3 million.
From the September 8 edition of Fox News' Hannity & Colmes:
COLMES: Well, no one is blaming the hurricane on him. I think it's the response. And there's enough blame to go around, but you know when he says, "I didn't think anyone anticipated the breach of the levees," And then Brown gets on --
COULTER: That's manifestly true.
COLMES: Thursday -- well not when he said it -- and says that he didn't know the evacuees were stranded at the Superdome until earlier that day.
COULTER: Look, I don't know what the details are about this.
HANNITY: Every prominent Democrat has politicized this before we even searched every home for dead bodies.
COULTER: Oh, yeah, and they're down -- Moveon.com is down protesting outside the White House today. How about putting together some evacuee bags? How about actually helping out? And you know, speaking of that, I think, you know, I'd like to see a breakdown at the end of this -- how much churches are contributing versus, say, Barry Lynn's church.
HANNITY: What church?
COULTER: Right, that was a joke.
HANNITY: Did he actually have one?
COULTER: Versus, you know, MoveOn.com [sic] with their putting their protest signs together. How much has George Soros given? How much has Sean Penn given?