The ‘staged’ relief event in Biloxi

This entry was posted on
Tuesday, September 6th, 2005
5:50 pm and is filed
under George W. Bush.

ZDF screen captureA lot of folks from Europe read this blog. I have a favour to ask of anyone who can translate from German to English.

This claim has been repeated a lot today: There was a striking dicrepancy between the CNN International report on the Bush visit to the New Orleans disaster zone, yesterday, and reports of the same event by German TV. ZDF News reported that the president’s visit was a completely staged event. Their crew witnessed how the open air food distribution point Bush visited in front of the cameras was torn down immediately after the president and the herd of ‘news people’ had left and that others which were allegedly being set up were abandoned at the same time. The people in the area were once again left to fend for themselves, said ZDF.

But so far there is only one source.

This appears to be the ZDF report in question (but later reports can be found here or here if I’m wrong about that).

The only segment I can see that might possibly relate to this is in the first clip from 3:30 onwards (in that it appears to show an empty tarmac).

Can I please get someone to confirm that this claim was made on air?

(That would be step one. Step two would be to approach ZDF for actual footage if they have it.)

Please email if you can help.

UPDATE – So far, the only thing close to the claimed report is this, which includes a description of troops clearing up debris before Bush arrived, and then disappearing afterwards. It looks like I’ll need to bother ZDF with a direct email.

UPDATE – Emails sent via and

UPDATE – Someone else has been doing the legwork on this, too. Their findings are very similar, but they go into much more detail. You can read all about it here.

UPDATE – ZDF have been in touch, and agree that the above transcript and analysis is correct. Sadly, they have no footage of the clean-up and departure.

UPDATE – Yorkshire Ranter has a translation of another report by another German network (ARD), which brings us back to the original charge:

Bush comes into town (well, into the outskirts) and so do a lot of workers. Everybody looks busy for the cameras. Once the PR event is over, Bush leaves… and then so do the workers.

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