Boortz: "[P]rimary blame" for Katrina goes to "worthless parasites who lived in New Orleans"

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On his nationally syndicated radio show, Neal Boortz made disparaging remarks about Hurricane Katrina victims, stating, "When these Katrina so-called refugees were scattered about the country, it was just a glorified episode of putting out the garbage." Boortz also described New Orleans as "a city of parasites, a city of people who could not and had no desire to fend for themselves."

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On the January 30 edition of his nationally syndicated radio show, while discussing former Sen. John Edwards' (D-NC) then-upcoming announcement that he was withdrawing from the 2008 presidential race, Neal Boortz asserted: "But I am fed up with this conventional wisdom that Katrina and the disaster that followed was George Bush's fault. It was not. The primary blame goes on the worthless parasites who lived in New Orleans who you -- couldn't even wipe themselves, let alone get out of the way of the water when that levee broke." Edwards made his withdrawal announcement in the city of New Orleans.

Earlier in the show, Boortz described the city of New Orleans as having been, prior to Hurricane Katrina "a city of parasites, a city of people who could not and had no desire to fend for themselves." During the show, Boortz also said, "When these Katrina so-called refugees were scattered about the country, it was just a glorified episode of putting out the garbage." Responding to a caller who said she used to work for the post office and claimed that "[t]he people in New Orleans were waiting on their government checks. They weren't moving until they got them ... trust me. As a mail carrier, they were waiting on their checks," Boortz stated: "Well, I don't know if -- you see, I don't think they were waiting on their checks before they would evacuate after a flood. But I do think, I do think that their entire lifestyle prior to Katrina was sitting around on their asses and waiting for checks."

Reading from a January 30 Associated Press report on Edwards' withdrawal, Boortz said:

BOORTZ: I like this: "Edwards' campaign will end the way it began 13 months ago, with the candidate pitching in to rebuild lives in a city still ravaged by Hurricane Katrina. Edwards embraced New Orleans as a glaring symbol of what he described as a Washington that didn't hear the cries of the downtrodden." Cries of the downtrodden, my left butt cheek. That wasn't the cries of the downtrodden; that's the cries of the useless, the worthless. New Orleans was a welfare city, a city of parasites, a city of people who could not and had no desire to fend for themselves. You have a hurricane descending on them and they sit on their fat asses and wait for somebody else to come rescue them. "It's somebody else's job to get me out of here. It's somebody else's job to save my life. Not mine. Send me a bus, send me a limo, send me a boat, send me a helicopter, send me a taxi, send me something. But you certainly don't expect me to actually work to get myself out of this situation, do you? Haven't you been watching me for generations? I've never done anything to improve my own lot in life. I've never done anything to rescue myself. Why do you expect me to do that now, just because a levee broke?"

And then Edwards said, yeah, it was Washington's problem, it was all Washington's problem, it was all George Bush's fault. You had a city of parasites and leeches, and that's George Bush's fault? So, boy, I need to slow down. I'm saying too many of the things I actually believe today.

Boortz has previously made disparaging remarks about Katrina victims. For instance, on June 6, 2006, Boortz told his listeners: "I love talking to you about these Katrina refugees. I mean, so many of them have turned out to be complete bums, just debris. Debris that Hurricane Katrina washed across the country." In 2005, Boortz suggested that a victim of Hurricane Katrina housed in an Atlanta hotel consider prostitution: "I dare say she could walk out of that hotel and walk 100 yards in either direction on Fulton Industrial Boulevard [the street on which the hotel is located] here in Atlanta and have a job." After his show's then-former engineer warned, "Watch out, Neal. Those people who know Fulton Industrial Boulevard think you might be suggesting something a little risqué," Boortz replied: "If that's the only way she can take care of herself, it sure beats the hell out of sucking off the taxpayers."

From the January 30 edition of Cox Radio Syndication's The Neal Boortz Show:

BOORTZ: I'm reading here about John Edwards. Oh, what a wimp. You know what he's gonna do now? He's gonna, he's going to continue work with Habitat Humanity, or for Humanity, at the volunteer-fueled rebuilding project at Musicians' Village. Where's that? Oh yeah, New Orleans, is that New Orleans? I like this: "Edwards' campaign will end the way it began 13 months ago, with the candidate pitching in to rebuild lives in a city still ravaged by Hurricane Katrina. Edwards embraced New Orleans as a glaring symbol of what he described as a Washington that didn't hear the cries of the downtrodden." Cries of the downtrodden, my left butt cheek. That wasn't the cries of the downtrodden; that's the cries of the useless, the worthless. New Orleans was a welfare city, a city of parasites, a city of people who could not and had no desire to fend for themselves. You have a hurricane descending on them and they sit on their fat asses and wait for somebody else to come rescue them. "It's somebody else's job to get me out of here. It's somebody else's job to save my life. Not mine. Send me a bus, send me a limo, send me a boat, send me a helicopter, send me a taxi, send me something. But you certainly don't expect me to actually work to get myself out of this situation, do you? Haven't you been watching me for generations? I've never done anything to improve my own lot in life. I've never done anything to rescue myself. Why do you expect me to do that now, just because a levee broke?"

And then Edwards said, yeah, it was Washington's problem, it was all Washington's problem, it was all George Bush's fault. You had a city of parasites and leeches, and that's George Bush's fault? So, boy, I need to slow down. I'm saying too many of the things I actually believe today. Let's see, I'm gonna start, who's been waiting the longest? Well, that would be you, Mr. Ed.

[...]

BOORTZ: Hello, [caller], how you doing?

CALLER: I'm doing great. How are you today?

[...]

CALLER: I used to walk for the post office. The people in New Orleans were waiting on their government checks. They weren't moving until they got them. That's what they were waiting on. You know, not only for somebody to do something for them, because they certainly weren't gonna do it for themselves; they were waiting on their checks. One other thing: I have a sister-in-law in Newport, Rhode Island.

BOORTZ: Yeah.

CALLER: Which is probably the snootiest of the snoot-snoot places you can live.

BOORTZ: Oh, do you think it's snootier than Martha's Vineyard?

CALLER: I think so.

BOORTZ: Well, maybe -- I'm not gonna say that it's snootier than Cape Cod because you know whose radio show is number one on Cape Cod?

CALLER: Oh, my gosh.

BOORTZ: Me, me. Can you believe that? Cape Cod. Me.

CALLER: No, I can't believe it. Then you're really moving on up.

BOORTZ: Oh, that's stunning stuff. In fact, Belinda [Skelton, producer] and Royal and I are gonna do a road trip up to Cape Cod this spring just to say thanks to those people up there. And maybe go pick some cranberries.

CALLER: Yes, do that. They got 100 of the Katrina refugees in Newport. So the whole town goes crazy, oh, we've gotta help these people, we've gotta get jobs for them, we have to get them a place, we have to do this. So they put on a job fair. Do you want to take one guess how many showed up?

BOORTZ: I'll say two.

CALLER: Zero.

BOORTZ: Zero?

CALLER: Zero.

BOORTZ: Listen, listen. When these Katrina so-called refugees were scattered about the country, it was just a glorified episode of putting out the garbage.

CALLER: And when they keep on railing on TV, we want our homes rebuilt, our home, our homes -- they weren't their homes. It was public housing.

BOORTZ: It's like these people say, they're taking my jobs and sending them overseas. It's not your job.

ROYAL MARSHALL (engineer and "sidekick"): I've got to jump in here and bring some sense back to the program. A lot of people that lost their homes in New Orleans did actually own them. If you look at the videos -- I'm sure this caller has watched Spike Lee's When the Levees Broke and saw the tragedy that was, you know, laid upon these people at their feet. And to assume that they were waiting on a welfare check is just ridiculous.

BOORTZ: Royal was right, [caller], a lot of these people did own their homes.

CALLER: Yes, they did. A lot of them did; a lot of them did not. I would imagine the ones that did not were the most vocal.

BOORTZ: Well --

CALLER: And that, yes, trust me. As a mail carrier, they were waiting on their checks.

BOORTZ: Well, I don't know if -- you see, I don't think they were waiting on their checks before they would evacuate after a flood. But I do think, I do think that their entire lifestyle prior to Katrina was sitting around on their asses and waiting for checks.

[...]

BOORTZ: I mean, I am sick -- here is this John Edwards character announcing, admitting to the world that he's a complete failure as a presidential candidate in New Orleans. Now he's gonna go build Habitat for Humanity homes. Well, isn't that just so sweet and warm and fuzzy. If he walks by here before he drives in the next nail I'll kiss him right on the mouth. But the fact of the matter is, you know, he's doing good work, fine.

But I am fed up with this conventional wisdom that Katrina and the disaster that followed was George Bush's fault. It was not. The primary blame goes on the worthless parasites who lived in New Orleans who you -- couldn't even wipe themselves, let alone get out of the way of the water when that levee broke.

NEW CALLER: I completely agree. And anybody who had the right mind to get out of there did.

Posted In
Diversity & Discrimination, Class, Race & Ethnicity, Economy, Poverty
Network/Outlet
Cox Radio Syndication
Person
Neal Boortz
Show/Publication
The Neal Boortz Show
Stories/Interests
Hurricane Katrina, Natural Disasters
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