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White House directs storm victims to internet for emergency info

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On Monday we reported that campaign workers were asked to come in and phonebank at the Annapolis Obama campaign offices at a time that Hurricane Sandy was about to approach that area.

Today we learned that the White House was out of touch on yet another storm-related matter. Politico reported that the White House instructed that people affected by Hurricane Sandy to stay indoors and await instructions by television and the Internet. According to Steve Friess, writing for Politico:

None of the major cable or local news channels put emergency phone numbers or key radio station frequencies on their screens. The only phone-related instructions on the homepage of ready.gov is how to get monthly disaster-prep text messages. The Federal Emergency Management Agency told the public via Twitter to use texts and social media outlets to stay informed.

With respect to the Internet, FEMA Director Steve Fugate told reporters in a conference call that “With these types of storms, you get a lot of this is going to be carried out through the traditional TV and radio media. But we’re using a lot more social media, we’re using everything from Facebook to Twitter. I think there’s a higher degree of awareness that people have of the storm is coming and what the impacts are going to be.”

But there’s a larger problem at work here. This morning Fox News correspondent Peter Doocy reported that 8.1 million people are without power as a direct result of the storm.

When the possibility of power outages was brought up, a FEMA worker replied, “Well, those people who have a laptop with a little battery life on it can try that way. Otherwise, you’re right.”



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