FEMA Gives "Self Reporting" New Meaning

"As the California wildfires raged," the Federal Emergency Management Agency's (FEMA's) deputy administrator, Harvey Johnson, gave a news briefing, which was carried on Fox News, MSNBC and other outlets. But "reporters were only given 15 minutes' notice," and the phone number to call in "was a 'listen only' line," so "no questions." During the briefing, Johnson "responded eloquently" to such softball questions as "Are you happy with FEMA's response so far?" Turns out, "the questions were asked by FEMA staffers playing reporters." According to FEMA's Mike Widomski, "the staff did not make up the questions ... and Johnson did not know what was going to be asked. 'We pulled questions from those we had been getting from reporters earlier in the day.' Despite the very short notice, 'we were expecting the press to come,' he said, but they didn't. So the staff played reporters for what on TV looked just like the real thing."