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TV News ‘Brooding About Katrina’

The NYTimes’ Alessandra Stanley has been watching some of the coverage, so far, of the 5th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina.

But the puffery on most anniversary specials is mild, perhaps because there is something humbling about Katrina that abashes even the most egotistical personalities. Anderson Cooper of CNN was one of the standouts of Katrina, whipped by lashing winds when the storm broke and lashing out at federal incompetence after it subsided. Soon after his return, CNN ousted its longtime prime-time anchor, Aaron Brown, in favor of the dashing Mr. Cooper.

Brian Williams, who stayed in the Superdome throughout the storm, has kept a proprietary hold on Katrina. He hosted a “Dateline” special on NBC this week that repurposed a post-Katrina special he made shortly after the hurricane hit, a personal account entitled, “In his Own Words.” (It was repeated on MSNBC on Friday night.) And Mr. Williams, not surprisingly, began delivering the evening news from New Orleans on Thursday, before any of his competitors had showed up.

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