ABC Exploits Japanese Tragedy to Undermine Minor GOP-Proposed Domestic U.S. Budget Reduction

ABC’s Bill Weir inaccurately lectured Friday night: “Consider Japan's state of the art undersea sensors and tsunami gates, protecting key ports, while just last month, our House of Representatives voted to slash funding for the Hawaiian tsunami warning center that issued last night's alarm.”

Then on Saturday’s World News, reporter Clayton Sandell found it newsworthy to highlight how “Democrats accuse Republicans of being irresponsible for proposing budget cuts to NOAA, the federal agency that provides forecasts and early warnings of natural disasters.”

Sandell cued up a California Democrat with a loaded question: “NOAA's budget gets cut, are people's lives more at risk?” The Congressman, who represents the state’s northern coast, naturally, agreed: “Absolutely.”

In fact, the funding “slash,” which is only proposed and is far from implementation since it hasn’t even passed in the House, is not for any specific program inside NOAA and is for a reduction of just 7 percent, which hardly means all of NOAA’s programs must be shut down since NOAA would still be able to spend 93 percent of what they spent in the previous fiscal year.

From the Saturday, March 12 ABC World News with David Muir:

CLAYTON SANDELL: The quake has also triggered a tsunami of political bickering in Congress. Democrats accuse Republicans of being irresponsible for proposing budget cuts to NOAA, the federal agency that provides forecasts and early warnings of natural disasters.

SANDELL TO THOMPSON: If NOAA's budget gets cut, are people's lives more at risk?

U.S. REPRESENTATIVE MIKE THOMPSON (D-CA): Absolutely. This is important stuff. It's public safety. It's an investment in our everyday lives.

SANDELL: Republicans counter that it's up to NOAA how it spends its budget, as residents along the coast wonder how bad the next tsunami might be. Clayton Sandell, ABC News, Crescent City, California.

From the Friday, March 11 ABC World News with Diane Sawyer:

BILL WEIR: And consider Japan's state of the art undersea sensors and tsunami gates, protecting key ports, while just last month, our House of Representatives voted to slash funding for the Hawaiian tsunami warning center that issued last night's alarm. One more reason to look out for yourself....

DIANE SAWYER: And you were telling us they cut the funding for that kind of alert system. Thank you, Bill.

— Brent Baker is Vice President for Research and Publications at the Media Research Center. Click here to follow him on Twitter.

Brent Baker
Brent Baker
Brent Baker is the Steven P.J. Wood Senior Fellow and VP for Research and Publications at the Media Research Center