Emily Paup / Flickr How to spot a Fox News...
Emily Paup / Flickr

Donald Trump is right about one thing. The response to Puerto Rico in the wake of Hurricane Maria has been “incredible” — but not the way he thinks. Despite his braggadocio to CNN the other day, “The results that we’ve had with respect to loss of life, people can’t believe how successful that has been, relatively speaking,” the truth is that there are dozens confirmed dead and that number could rise to hundreds. Miami Herald:

On Wednesday, the Puerto Rico government, maintained that the official number of deaths as a result of the catastrophe was 16. But the Center for Investigative Journalism (CPI, for its initials in Spanish) has confirmed that there are dozens of hurricane-related deaths and the number could rise to the hundreds.

The dead are at the hospital morgues, which are at capacity and in remote places where the government has yet to go. In many cases, families are unaware of the deaths. The government’s Demographic Registry is responsible for certifying deaths so bodies can be removed by funeral homes, many of which are  not operating because of lack of resources. The agency  began to certify some of the dead Monday, Health Secretary Rafael Rodríguez-Mercado confirmed in an interview.

Public Safety Secretary Héctor Pesquera told the CPI that the names of the dead because of the hurricane will not be revealed until relatives can be notified. The continuing lack of communication has kept many people from knowing the whereabouts of their families. Since the storm’s immediate aftermath, many people have gone daily to radio stations so  the on-air personalities can announce the names of family members with whom they have been unable to communicate.

That is the truth of the situation. Now adding insult to injury is Fox News which aired a piece wherein San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulin Cruz was depicted as “a hard left wing Democratic mayor…a very critical mayor.” [Note: Officially she’s not even registered in the party.]  In a moment of totally unintentional humor, Mayor Cruz told Geraldo Rivera  that, “The president needs to get the information that he needs to get. He apparently hasn’t been getting it, he hasn’t been watching the news.” No, he hasn’t, Mayor, he’s been watching Fox.

Then Geraldo actually had the hubris to say that he didn’t see anybody dying, with the inference of “so what’s the big deal?” Mayor Cruz responded as though speaking to a child, “Dying is a continuum, right? If you don’t get fed for seven, eight days and you’re a child, you are dying. If you have 11 people — like we took out of a nursing home — severely dehydrated, you are dying.”

What she’s speaking of, and all that she has been speaking of as she has consistently and persistently sent out the SOS for help for her people, is trying to abate the horrific circumstances that stand to take many more lives.

Mayor Cruz is right on the firing line and that idiot Geraldo Rivera will have his wish soon enough to know who’s among the dead when their names are released pending notification of kin. Fox News just plummeted another couple of circles downward into journalistic hell by attempting to whitewash the human tragedy of a natural disaster as a paean to its icon Donald Trump.

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