Media Consecrate Their Latest "Obama's Katrina": Unaccompanied Minors Edition

››› ››› OLIVIA MARSHALL & MICHELLE LEUNG

Right-wing and even mainstream media have eagerly pushed the suggestion that the recent increase in unaccompanied minors crossing the U.S.-Mexico border is "Obama's Katrina" -- an inane comparison that repeatedly surfaces inside the conservative media echo chamber.

Texas Congressman Suggested That Obama's Response To Immigration Crisis Could Be "Katrina Moment"

White House Responding To Influx Of Unaccompanied Minors Crossing Border With Emergency Fund Requests And Expedited Deportations. In response to a recent influx of unaccompanied children crossing the U.S. - Mexico border fleeing violence in Central America, the Washington Post reported that the Obama administration "expects to deport most of the unaccompanied minors" and is seeking congressional help in expediting the deportations:

The White House signaled Monday that it expects to deport most of the unaccompanied minors entering the country illegally across the southern border, employing the strongest rhetoric to date to indicate that an influx of thousands of Central American migrants will not be tolerated.

The tougher tone came a day before Obama administration officials were expected to ask Congress to authorize new measures, including more than $2 billion in emergency funds, that would expedite the legal processing of the more than 52,000 children and 39,000 families apprehended this year. [The Washington Post7/7/14]

TX Congressman Criticized Obama For Not Also Visiting Border, Said It Could Be His "Katrina Moment." In response to news that President Obama would not be visiting the U.S. - Mexico border during his July 8 trip to Texas, Rep. Henry Cuellar (D-TX) reportedly told Fox News that "I hope this doesn't become the Katrina moment for President Obama, saying that he doesn't need to come to the border. He should come down." [USA Today, 7/7/14]

Media Jump On Comparison, Declare Immigration Crisis "Obama's Katrina Moment"

USA Today's Susan Page: Obama's Response To Immigration Crisis Is "Katrina Moment." On the July 7 edition of MSNBC's The Daily RundownUSA Today reporter Susan Page joined in a discussion about the influx of border crossings, saying Obama's failure to visit the border is a "Katrina moment": 

CHUCK TODD: Speaking of immigration, are you surprised that the president is going to be in Texas and not go to the border?

[...]

PAGE:  It's a Katrina moment, right? -

 [...]

PAGE: And you're going to the fundraiser and you're not going to the border where there's this crisis? [MSNBC, The Daily Rundown7/7/14]

Outnumbered Host: "Obama's Katrina Moment Is What's Being Talked About." Discussing Rep. Cuellar's Katrina comparison on the July 8 edition of Fox News' Outnumbered, co-host Harris Faulkner echoed Cuellar's criticism, saying "President Obama's 'Katrina moment' is what's being talked about." [Fox News, Outnumbered, 7/8/14]

Fox's Ed Henry Runs With Katrina Comparison. On the July 8 edition of Fox News' The Real Story with Gretchen Carlson, Fox correspondent Ed Henry reported on Rep. Cuellar's comment that the immigration crisis is becoming Obama's "Katrina moment." Henry told host Gretchen Carlson:

HENRY:Now, when a Democrat says that about the president it gives you an idea about how the stakes are growing for this president. Katrina - Hurricane Katrina and the federal response ended up becoming a very paralyzing moment for then-President Bush. Obviously there's great fear at the White House about how all this is playing out as well, Gretchen. [Fox News, The Real Story7/8/14]

Rush Limbaugh: People Said Bush "Didn't Go Down To New Orleans For Katrina ... Has Obama Been" To The Border?" On the July 7 edition of his radio show, Rush Limbaugh called the recent influx of undocumented immigrants in the U.S. "payback" and a political agenda perpetrated by President Obama. Limbaugh also claimed that Obama isn't treating the border crisis as an emergency because Obama hasn't visited the border, adding "they said Bush never flew over - didn't go down to New Orleans for Katrina, has Obama been there?" [Premiere Radio Networks, The Rush Limbaugh Show7/8/14]

Fox's Carlson Draws Connection Between Hurricane Katrina And Obama's Trip To Texas. On the July 8 edition of Fox News' The Real Story, host Gretchen Carlson, discussing the immigration crisis, recalled a photo of President Bush taken on Air Force One during Hurricane Katrina and wondered whether a similar photo would hurt President Obama in Texas:

CARLSON: A photo speaks a thousand words. I mean, look at what President Bush -- remember this photo? Nobody will ever forget this one from Hurricane Katrina, when he was flying over what was happening at the time ... is it kind of a lose-lose situation for President Obama, because there might be a photo like that as he's flying over Texas tomorrow. [Fox News, The Real Story7/8/14]

Fox News' Steve Doocy: Immigration Crisis "Could Become The President's Katrina Moment Because He Does Not Seem Engaged In Either." On July 8, Fox News'Fox & Friends co-host Steve Doocy highlighted Rep. Cuellar's Katrina analogy and agreed, "Congressman Cuellar has an excellent point. It could become the president's Katrina moment, because he does not seem engaged on this either." [Fox News, Fox & Friends, 7/8/14]

Declaring Random Events "Obama's Katrina" Is One Of Conservative Media's Favorite Pastimes

Healthcare.gov Rollout: "Katrina May Be The Best Analogy." In 2013, multiple media outlets compared the troubled rollout of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) to the Bush administration's botched response to Hurricane Katrina. The New York Times compared the loss of confidence in the Obama administration that followed the rollout to the way the response to Katrina affected the George W. Bush administration. Fox News anchor Geraldo Rivera asked, "Is this is like weapons of mass destruction? Is this like President George W. Bush after Katrina?" on Fox & Friends, while ABC News anchor George Stephanopoulos tweeted: "How can President Obama recover from his Katrina?" On MSNBC's Morning Joe, Bloomberg columnist Al Hunt declared, "I think Katrina may be the best analogy" to the handling of the ACA rollout. [Media Matters12/15/13]

Hurricane Sandy Aftermath: "Obama's Katrina." On the November 1, 2012 edition of Fox News' Hannity, host Sean Hannity claimed that the devastation that followed Hurricane Sandy and Obama's response to it looked like "Obama's Katrina":

HANNITY: And with the horrifying images of Sandy's devastation now contrasted with the president's constant campaigning, this is starting to look like, in my opinion, Obama's Katrina. [Fox News, Hannity11/1/12]

Gulf Oil Spill: "Obama's Katrina." Following the catastrophic BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico in 2010, conservative media such as Rush Limbaugh, Fox Nation, the Drudge Report and The Washington Times pushed the analogy that the oil spill was "Obama's Katrina." Limbaugh named the oil spill "Obama's Katrina," adding, "That damn oil slick just got in the way. So he had to give some lip service to the oil slick. 'It's all British Petroleum's fault. They gotta clean it up. I'm sending some czars down there.'" [Media Matters, 4/30/10]

H1N1 Flu: "Obama's Katrina." In November 2009, Rush Limbaugh stated that the H1N1 vaccine shortage "ought to be Obama's Katrina," while TownHall.com's Hugh Hewitt asked if Obama's handling of the swine flu outbreak was a "A Katrina Moment For Obama?" [TownHall.com, 4/29/09; Premiere Radio Networks, The Rush Limbaugh Show11/3/09]

Fort Hood Shootings: "Could Become Barack Obama's Katrina."  In a November 11, 2009 Human Events post titled "Fort Hood Could Be Obama's Katrina," radio host Lynn Wooley wrote:

As Hurricane Katrina zeroed in on New Orleans in 2005, government at all levels was lethargic, seemed unprepared, and to some, even uncaring. In the wake of last week's massacre at Fort Hood, we are learning that the United States Army knew quite a bit about Major Nadal Malik Hasan -- but did not act on the information. Fort Hood could become Barack Obama's Katrina.

[...]

The attitude of our Commander-in-Chief and others sworn to protect us is frighteningly reminiscent of what happened with Katrina. All we need from Obama is a hearty, 'Gen. Casey, you're doing a heck of a job.' [Human Events, 11/11/09]

Haiti Earthquake: "Obama's Katrina." In a 2010 op-ed in the Wall Street Journal titled "Haiti: Obama's Katrina," Soumitra R. Eachempati, Dean Lorich, and David Helfet wrote:

Four years ago the initial medical response to Hurricane Katrina was ill equipped, understaffed, poorly coordinated and delayed. Criticism of the paltry federal efforts was immediate and fierce. Unfortunately, the response to the latest international disaster in Haiti has been no better, compounding the catastrophe. [The Wall Street Journal1/25/10]

Christmas Day Underwear Bomber: "Obama's Katrina." A December 29, 2009, PJ Media blog post titled "Is the Undiebomber Obama's Katrina?" asserted:

No doubt, Obama's poll numbers aren't going to be helped by this Jan-caused disaster. But I doubt if the fallout they'll face will be as severe as what the Bush administration went through due to Katrina, simply because the media will never gin up a news storm against the man they helped to elect that's anywhere near as powerful as the one they created to accompany Katrina. [PJ Media, 12/29/09]

Housing Policies In Chicago: "Obama's Katrina." In 2008, Slate blogger Mickey Kaus linked to a Boston Globe article about Obama's Chicago housing policies as a state senator, headlining his post "Obama's Katrina." Kaus concluded:

After all, Obama's career has been unusually limited for a presidential contender. Housing and "community development" has been a big part of it. If the result has been a disaster in which Obama's friends made lots of money while his poor constituents lived in dangerous squalor, that seems like a big warning sign, no? At least an expectations-lowerer! George W. Bush, in contrast, hadn't dedicated a large chunk of his life to FEMA. [Slate, 6/30/08]

Financial Crisis: Obama's "Katrina Moment." As Slate's Dave Weigel noted on July 8, in 2009 an op-ed in the New York Times criticized Obama's response to the financial crisis under the headline "Has a 'Katrina Moment' Arrived?" [Slate, 7/7/14]

Benghazi, IRS, DOJ Phone-Tapping: Obama's "Katrina Moment." Weigel also pointed out that a 2013 Baltimore Sun op-ed made an extended comparison between Bush's handling of Katrina and various events under the Obama administration, such as the Benghazi attacks, the Department of Justice's secretly obtaining AP journalists' phone records, and the controversy around the IRS' handling of tax-exempt political groups. [Slate, 7/7/14]

We've changed our commenting system to Disqus.
Instructions for signing up and claiming your comment history are located here.
Updated rules for commenting are here.