Beck Ignores Immediate Government Aid To Joplin, MO, Residents After Devastating Storms

On Fox & Friends, Glenn Beck falsely suggested that the federal government was not involved in relief efforts following May's devastating storms in Joplin, MO. In fact, FEMA responded immediately to assist storm victims at the request of President Obama.

Beck Falsely Suggests FEMA Was Not Involved In Aiding Joplin Tornado Victims

Beck: “You Didn't See Anybody Screaming In Joplin For FEMA Trucks. The People In Joplin Were Helped By Their Neighbors.” During the June 7 edition of Fox News' Fox & Friends, Beck said of the Joplin, MO, residents in the aftermath of the devastating May 22 storm that killed at least 141 people: “You didn't see anybody screaming in Joplin for FEMA trucks. The people in Joplin were helped by their neighbors. The other people in Joplin and the churches all around from all over states -- the American people are going to be the ones that set this right. Depend on them.” [Fox News, Fox & Friends, 6/7/11; Reuters, 6/6/11]

But FEMA Aid To Joplin Was Immediate, And Missouri Officials Praised Administration's Response

Obama: “At My Direction, FEMA Is Working With The Affected Areas.” On May 23, Obama stated: “At my direction, FEMA is working with the affected areas' state and local officials to support response and recovery efforts, and the federal government stands ready to help our fellow Americans as needed.” [The White House, 5/23/11]

FEMA Issued Timeline Of Administration's Response To Tornadoes. On May 23, FEMA released a timeline detailing the administration's response to the tornadoes:

Monday, May 23

  • Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano calls Missouri Governor Jay Nixon to express her condolences for the lives lost and communities devastated by the storms. Secretary Napolitano offers the full support of FEMA and the federal family.
  • President Obama calls Governor Nixon to express that the entire administration stands behind Missouri and stands ready to support the state, as needed. President Obama announces that at his direction, FEMA Administrator Fugate will travel to Missouri to ensure the state has all the support needed as response efforts continue.
  • FEMA activates its Regional Response Coordination Center in Kansas City to Level II, which means that they are operating 24 hour schedule with the activation of select emergency support functions needed to support state operations.
  • FEMA Regional Administrator Beth Freeman traveled to Joplin, Missouri from the regional office in Kansas City to coordinate response and recovery efforts with state and local officials.
  • FEMA Deputy Administrator Rich Serino travels to Joplin, Missouri, where he will meet with state and local officials and tour the disaster affected area.
  • FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate travels to Joplin, Missouri, to meet with state and local officials and ensure they have what they need as response operations continue.
  • Administrator Fugate approves the addition of the two counties impacted by the tornadoes in Missouri, Jasper and Newton counties, for individual assistance and public assistance that includes debris removal and emergency protective measures, as part of a current federal disaster declaration the state received for recent storms. This means tornado survivors in those counties can begin applying for federal disaster aid, either by phone, online, or on their mobile phones. To register, survivors can call (800) 621-3362 / TTY (800) 462-7585, apply online at or apply on their smartphones at
  • FEMA activates Emergency Support Function 3, which authorizes the federal family to provide technical advice and evaluation for debris removal to assist the state and local authorities in Missouri.
  • FEMA activates Emergency Support Function 10, which authorizes the federal government to provide support to the state for responding to actual or potential discharges of hazardous materials.

Sunday, May 22

  • A multi vortex tornado touches down in (Jasper County), Missouri. Local reports indicate 2,000 structures were destroyed, including residences, businesses, schools, apartment complexes and churches. St. John's Regional Medical Center was badly damaged and patients are being evacuated.
  • FEMA's regional office in Kansas City, begins constant coordination and communications with Missouri's emergency management team and local officials.
  • Missouri Governor Nixon declares a state of emergency for affected counties.
  • FEMA places personnel from the Kansas City regional office on alert and deploys staff to the Missouri Emergency Operations Center. Missouri residents are urged to continue to listen to instructions from their local leaders on protecting life and property as response efforts continue.
  • In anticipation of requests, FEMA deploys an Incident Management Assistance Team (IMAT) to Joplin to coordinate with state and local officials to identify needs and shortfalls impacting disaster response and recovery.
  • FEMA dispatches a Mobile Emergency Response Support (MERS) Team, including an Emergency Operations Vehicle, to Missouri to provide self-sustaining telecommunications, logistics, and operations support elements.
  • FEMA has commodities staged at locations throughout the state and throughout the country to supplement supplies of the American Red Cross, The Salvation Army, and other voluntary agencies should their resources become depleted.
  • FEMA activates Emergency Support Function 8, which authorizes the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to coordinate hospital medical needs and patient evacuations, in support of the state, if necessary.
  • President Obama issues a statement on the tornado in Missouri and the severe storms across the Midwest, expressing condolences to the families of all those who lost their lives and directing FEMA to work with the affected areas' state and local officials to support response and recovery efforts.

Saturday, May 21

  • A series of tornadoes touches down in the town of Reading, Kansas. FEMA, through its regional office in Kansas City, begins constant contact with the state's emergency management team. [FEMA, 5/23/11]

Missouri GOP Rep. Billy Long Praised FEMA's Efforts. Rep. Billy Long (R-MO) praised FEMA's response during the May 23 edition of Fox Business' America's Nightly Scoreboard:

LONG: FEMA has been great. The White House liaison called me first thing this morning and said -- the FEMA White House liaison said, “Whatever you need, you will have.” And the FEMA's been here working, and we're just gonna fight back and help these people down here in any way possible. The governor's pledged that; the federal government has pledged that.

DAVID ASMAN (host): By the way, you mention FEMA, it doesn't involve your state, but I know that the governor of Virginia has asked for assistance from FEMA and has been denied that request. Do you know what that's about?

LONG: No, sir. I'm not apprised of that. We've got our own issues going here. [Fox Business, America's Nightly Scoreboard, 5/23/11, via Media Matters]

MO Governor Praised “Quick Federal Action [That] Will Help Provide The Resources To Assist Missouri Families With Their Recovery In The Tough Days Ahead.” From a May 23 press release issued by Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon's office:

Gov. Jay Nixon today announced the Federal Emergency Management Agency has extended disaster assistance to individuals and families in Jasper and Newton counties, which bore the brunt of last night's devastating severe storms and tornadoes.

Under this declaration, individuals may be eligible for federal assistance to cover uninsured losses or expenses, such as temporary housing, home repair and replacement of household items.

“Missouri continues to respond with every available resource to the deadly storm that left so many residents in need of assistance,” said Gov. Nixon. “Our priorities are search and rescue operations, providing medical care to the injured, and providing a safe environment for the affected communities. This quick federal action will help provide the resources to assist Missouri families with their recovery in the tough days ahead.” [Nixon press release, 5/23/11, emphasis in the original]

Joplin Mayor: "[W]e Have Been Offered Assistance By Virtually Every Agency That Can Offer Assistance." On the May 23 edition of CNN's Anderson Cooper 360, Joplin Mayor Mike Woolston stated: “The governor was in town today. And my understanding is, while he was here, he spoke with the White House, Vice President Biden. And so we have been offered assistance by virtually every agency that can offer assistance.” From Anderson Cooper 360:

COOPER: What's the greatest need? And what's top of your priority right now?

WOOLSTON: Just carrying on our search-and-rescue functions. We have had about 40 agencies come in to help us, well over 400 people. That would -- those numbers are from early this morning.

We have got SEMA folks, FEMA folks in. The governor was in town today. And my understanding is, while he was here, he spoke with the White house, Vice President Biden. And so we have been offered assistance by virtually every agency that can offer assistance.

COOPER: The outpouring of people coming in to try to help is remarkable. And in a lot of neighborhoods, you already see that crews have been through there efficiently putting with -- putting X's on if nothing was found. [CNN, Anderson Cooper 360, 5/23/11]