Gallup: Majority Say Press Doing Good Job on Katrina

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By: E&P Staff

A new CNN/USA Today/Gallup survey finds that 58% of Americans say they are following news coverage of the hurricane disaster — and a vast majority give the media high marks. At the same time, only 43% of Americans give President Bush a passing grade in response to Hurricane Katrina, with 54% disapproving, and 7 in 10 call for an independent probe of the federal response.

According to Gallup, ?The public approves of the way the news media have covered the disaster — 77% of Americans say the media have acted ?responsibly? in its coverage; only 20% say ?irresponsibly.?” But the pollsters added: ?Nevertheless, 49% of Americans say the media are spending too much time trying to figure out who is responsible for the problems in the areas affected by the hurricane.?

Yet when asked about the initial response to Hurricane Katrina, majorities of Americans are critical of President George W. Bush, FEMA, and federal government agencies responsible for handling emergencies, state and local officials in Louisiana, and the residents of New Orleans.

The public does not accept the argument that there was no way for government agencies to adequately prepare for a hurricane that strong, Gallup reports. Instead, by a 71% to 28% margin, the public believes that the agencies should have been better prepared. Americans are also more likely to believe that the slow response was a result of bureaucratic inefficiency (49%) than a lack of adequate preparation (40%).

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