Irene and Climate Change: Liberal Media Won't Let a Good Crisis Go to Waste

In the days leading up to Hurricane Irene's march through the Northeast,  journalists repeatedly suggested that the storm was yet more evidence of climate change.

"The scale of Hurricane Irene, which could cause more extensive damage along the Eastern Seaboard than any storm in decades, is reviving an old question: are hurricanes getting worse because of human-induced climate change?" asked the New York Times' Justin Gillis in his August 28 piece.

HLN guest host Don Lemon asked scientist Bill Nye on Wednesday if the storm was proof of climate change. Nye answered that it was "consistent with all the predictions of climate change models" and added that the United States is behind the times in taking action on climate change. "There's no other developed world country that isn't very concerned about climate change," Nye asserted, and ABC's weatherman Sam Champion agreed.

 

MSNBC's guest host Chris Hayes teed up environmental activist Bill McKibben with this dour question on Thursday: "How do you maintain hope? Because sometimes I read about the climate, and I just sort of despair, or I want to throw in the towel." McKibben predictably answered that the hurricane's middle name was "global warming."

On Friday's Dylan Ratigan Show, as NewsBusters reported, MSNBC contributor Toure asked Stephen Flynn from the Center for National Policy if such a "massive storm" in New York City would be evidence of global warming. Flynn answered in the affirmative.

A transcript of the segments is as follows:

MSNBC
THE LAST WORD
8/25/2011

CHRIS HAYES: How do you maintain hope? Because sometimes I read about the climate, and I just sort of despair, or I want to throw in the towel. And I wonder since you're out there every day, you're here talking to me now, how do you avoid that?"

BILL MCKIBBEN, environmental activist: It's easy to despair. It's easy to despair today watching Irene come up the coast. It's going to come over the warmest water that's ever been recorded off the shores of New Jersey and New York. I mean, Irene's middle name is global warming.


HLN
THE JOY BEHAR SHOW
8/24/2011

DON LEMON: Let's talk about the things now that people find highly controversial and we're talking about climate change. First to Bill. Have there been stronger hurricanes lately, you believe – is climate change behind this?"

BILL NYE, "The Science Guy": Well, you know, I – I accept all the evidence for climate change and more violent storms are part of that....Now these are not in themselves proof of climate change, but they are absolutely consistent with all the predictions of climate change models. So – and I remind everybody, the United States is unique in this. There's no other developed world country that isn't very concerned about climate change....

SAM CHAMPION, weatherman, ABC's Good Morning America: I'm on board for climate change. I think again, just as Bill pointed out, I can't think of another country as advanced as we are that hasn't made a policy about it and hasn't signed on to it.


MSNBC
THE DYLAN RATIGAN SHOW
8/26/2011

TOURE, MSNBC contributor: When you talk about an unusual weather event happening in New York and this sort of thing, is this really evidence of global warming, to see this sort of a massive storm happening here?"


JUSTIN GILLIS, "Green" blogger, New York Times: The scale of Hurricane Irene, which could cause more extensive damage along the Eastern Seaboard than any storm in decades, is reviving an old question: are hurricanes getting worse because of human-induced climate change?
-- Lead paragraph of Justin Gillis August 28 New York Times story, "Seeing Irene as Harbinger of a Change in Climate."
 

Matt Hadro
Matt Hadro
Matt Hadro was a News Analyst for the Media Research Center's News Analysis Division from 2010 through early 2014