This is my third trip to Los Angeles. The first time was a month after 9/11. Extremely depressing. The second was in the middle of the raging forest fires in the area, in 2003. It was several days of apocalyptic skies and choking smoke. And now I'm heading back for the third time.
I have been flipping around the channels on JetBlue, and surprise! Widespread blackout in Los Angeles! We're somewhere over Flagstaff, heading for Long Beach. CNN is talking about Michael Brown resigning from FEMA and how Bush didn't even know about it until the press asked him. (Great manager!) Suddenly they cut in to announce that there are blackouts in Los Angeles, and they cut to a commercial. I flip around a bit, and I happen upon Fox News. They are full bore into the blackout story. All over it. And their angle is "Maybe possibly could this maybe be a big terrorism attack? Because you know, they're always testing us." As if to underscore how serious this is, they go to disgraced former nominee Bernie Kerik to get his uninformed views on the situation. Meanwhile, CNN, MSNBC, and CNBC are all back to regular coverage.
Back to CNN. They're doing the business minute, talking about Brown, talking about Roberts.
Back to Fox. They're looking for fires to report on, keeping their fingers crossed that it's TERROR. Police Department on FULL TACTICAL ALERT!!!!!
"It's Department of Water and Power personnel. NOT terror, not al-Qaeda, not the type of things we fear these days. It's Department of Water and Power personnel who are responsible for this outage, not terrorism."
Way to go, Fox! But it COULD have been terrorism, huh? Can't be too careful. And make sure to get a couple of shots in at other, better news sources.
Gibson: "We have on the phone Rod Bernson, who used to work with the LA fire department..."
Bernson: "Oh my god John, you must work for MSNBC! It was the LAPD!"
Followed by Bernson: "Remember that Los Angeles is NOT New Orleans. Los Angeles has very specific plans for dealing with emergencies."
Los Angeles just may be the worst city on earth.