Weather Channel Goes Political

There is a sixty percent chance that Republicans will rain on your weekend plans.

The Weather Channel hasn't yet gone quite that far to inject politics into weather reporting but they sure seem to be working on it. Their reporting on Tropical Storm Isaac has brought out the inner liberal of a channel that was once noted for its complete professionalism but, sadly, seems to be going off into political tangents completely unrelated to the weather. In the first example, they republish a highly biased Associated Press article on their Weather Channel site which touches on Tropical Storm Isaac but quickly devolves into not so subtle slams on Republicans. While reading this, you need to continuously pinch yourself as a reminder that it is actually on The Weather Channel website:

TAMPA, Fla. -- Republicans staged a remarkably subdued opening to Mitt Romney's national convention Monday in the midst of a turbulent election year, wary of uncorking a glittery political celebration as Tropical Storm Isaac surged menacingly toward New Orleans and the northern Gulf Coast.

There was speculation that the Republican man of the hour would make an unannounced visit to the convention hall Tuesday night when his wife, Ann, was on the speaking program. The campaign would confirm only that he was flying to town in time to do so.

Virtually every party leader spoke somberly of the storm's potential damage during the day, including the candidate. "Our thoughts are with the people that are in the storm's path and hope that they're spared any major destruction," said Romney, the man seeking to defeat Democratic President Barack Obama.

The above was about as close to weather as it gets in this article before it turns completely to the subject of politics:

Though Republicans are intent on turning the campaign's focus back to the nation's sluggish economic growth and high unemployment, a comment Romney made on abortion reintroduced a topic that had taken over campaign discussion last week. In a CBS interview, he said he opposes abortions except "in the case of rape and incest, and the health and life of the mother."

That underscored his difference of opinion on the subject with his running mate, Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, as well as with his own convention platform, which opposes all abortions.

Any exceptions made solely on the basis of a woman's health have drawn particularly fierce criticism from abortion foes for years, and Romney's aides said he wasn't advocating an exemption on that basis alone.

"Governor Romney's position is clear: He opposes abortion except for cases of rape, incest and where the life of the mother is threatened," said Andrea Saul, a spokeswoman.

Notice what has disappeared in this article on The Weather Channel site? Pretty much any mention of weather in favor political minutiae. Oh, Isaac does very briefly raise its head later in the story but quickly dissipates into yet more politics which goes on and on and on.

Even worse, The Weather Channel is now paying homage to Fidel Castro in a Faustian bargain, as Henry Louis Gomez of PJ Media put it, to be allowed to broadcast from Cuba:

With much fanfare, The Weather Channel announced that for the first time in its 30-year history it had a correspondent reporting from Cuba. The man they sent is Mike Seidel, a longtime Weather Channel veteran.

At about noon EDT on Saturday, while watching The Weather Channel for an update on possible landfall of Tropical Storm Isaac in Florida, I was treated to an incredible piece of unjournalism. There was Seidel standing on the beach at an all-inclusive resort reserved for foreigners in Varadero, on Cuba’s northwest coast, despite the fact that Isaac was going to make landfall on Cuba’s southeast coast. Seidel assured us that “we picked Varadero because of meteorological reasons and are lucky because we’re staying at a resort with all the creature comforts of home.”

Seidel’s stand-up piece featured what he referred to as a “Cubano pool boy” dragging in and securing the lounge chairs. The video has since been purged from The Weather Channel’s website.

Over the course of the weekend, Seidel assured us that the Cuban military takes tropical storms and hurricanes seriously and is known for its “large-scale evacuations.” In speaking about the Cuban government, Seidel dutifully parroted the regime’s propaganda. “They tend to over-prepare, they don’t mess around. Fidel Castro’s mantra has been, really, we don’t want to lose any lives,” Seidel said. Of course, in Cuba the only legal arbiter of who lives and dies is Castro himself. It should be noted that Seidel gives no basis for these judgments and that he was making them from several hundred kilometers away, probably while enjoying a nice Havana Club Mojito.

When the storm’s effects were felt in Varadero, Seidel treated us to riveting footage of an overturned tiki hut. Oh, the humanity!

I can understand a North Korean weatherman paying homage to Dear Leader because his life depends on it but doesn't Lounge Chair Seidel feel the least bit embarrassed over having to recite slavish praises of the Cuban Dear Leader?

So what's the reason for the bizarre inappropriate new political tone at The Weather Channel? Mr. Gomez provides the likely answer:

Incidentally, The Weather Channel is owned by NBC/Universal, which has an accredited bureau in Havana that brings such important stories as the world record-holding Cuban head bouncer and the 11-foot bicycle built by and ridden by a Cuban man. Wouldn’t want to risk their fake news bureau by reporting actual news, would they?

P.J. Gladnick
P.J. Gladnick
P.J. Gladnick is a freelance writer and creator of the DUmmie FUnnies blog.