Seizing on warmer than usual temperatures across the country on Wednesday's NBC Nightly News, anchor Brian Williams ominously warned viewers: "Much warmer weather can have a dark side, of course. And tonight there is a new projection that rising seas due to climate change could cause a whole lot of damage much sooner than anyone had previously thought."
Correspondent Anne Thompson used recent weather events to drive the point home: "The ferocious surge of the Atlantic powered by Hurricane Irene last August moved a lifeguard tower...broke through a sea wall, and sent water rushing into the streets of New York's Long Beach. A scene that will become more commonplace, a new study says, because of rising sea levels caused by global warming."
New York Times environmental reporter Justin Gillis took the left-wing idea of extreme weather equaling harmful global warming to heart in his front-page Christmas Day “news analysis” lamenting the Republican block of measures that would document “climate change” more closely, in “Harsh Political Reality Slows Climate Studies Despite Extreme Year.” But an environmental scientist eviscerated Gillis’s article as “perhaps the worst piece of reporting I've ever seen in the Times on climate change.”
The paper of record for upstate New York is at it again, letting their readers know that Republicans and Tea Party members should essentially do as they say, not as they do.
The Albany Times Union has criticized Republicans for playing political games with a recently defeated bill that provides $3.65 billion for disaster assistance.The problem, it seems, is that the bill included offsets for such aid - $1.5 billion in cuts to the Advanced Technology Vehicles Manufacturing loan program.
While self-described socialist Bernie Sanders was only termed an “independent,” Hulse managed to put an ideological label on “Conservative Republicans” who are pushing to actually pay for disaster relief, through off-setting budget cuts.
At the top of Wednesday's NBC Today, co-host Matt Lauer warned: "Record flooding in the wake of Irene leading to new evacuations and dramatic rescues across the Northeast....As FEMA's disaster fund runs dangerously low." Moments later he announced the agency was "running into a serious money crunch because of Irene and in-fighting in Washington."
In a later report, correspondent Tom Costello singled out those responsible for the "infighting": "You can blame politics and the new budget realities. The Republican-controlled House already voted to give FEMA another $1 billion this fiscal year, but that increase is tied to budget cuts elsewhere. So Senate Democrats haven't acted."
Al Sharpton has never found a crisis he couldn’t exploit – even when they don’t exist – his claim to fame. On Friday’s pre-hurricane episode of his MSNBC show, he warned “Hurricane Irene is nonpartisan” and was threatening both red and blue states. That nonpartisanship doesn’t extend to hurricane coverage on TV, where liberals once again boast about the glories of government disaster aid, and conservatives are trashed as lunatics for wanting to limit the untrammeled growth of spending on natural disasters.
Sharpton began his show by announcing “the desperate race to get ready and keep people safe reminds us all how essential our government is.” Nonsense. It reminds us how essential personal responsibility is.
Then he turned to former Democrat Gov. Ed Rendell and asked “What is your take on this anti-government rhetoric in the middle of this crisis, unprecedented crisis for people on the East Coast?”
Tim Graham, the Media Research Center's Director of Media Analysis, appeared on the Fox Business Channel, Monday, to discuss the media's hyperbolic coverage of "Hurricane" Irene.
Graham asserted, "Well, I don't think there's any doubt that the media are interested in trying to cover this 24/7 and it's a little hard to sell it as tropical storm coverage for hours and hours." Speaking of Al Sharpton's political hyping of the storm, Graham quipped, "He is not a meteorologist."
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.
Gillis’s latest story, admittedly written when Irene looked more dangerous than it turned out to be, was also guilty of disaster hype.
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?
On Monday's NBC Today, co-host Matt Lauer introduced a panel discussion on whether media coverage of Hurricane Irene was overdone by proclaiming: "Was this storm over-hyped? In some ways, it's a one-sentence argument, this storm killed more than 20 people and 4 million people are without power, and clearly there's misery and destruction. How could it have been over-hyped?"
Weatherman Al Roker completely dismissed the notion: "You look at the predictions, you look at the track, which was right on the money. And it is a Category 3 storm. There is no – there's no argument here....The preparations – everything that was done, I would say we should do over again if we get the same scenario." Weather Channel Meteorologist Jim Cantore chimed in: "How many more times do we have to play pictures [of flooding] in Vermont?"
CBS's Bill Plante inserted the oft-repeated media spin about the Bush administration's response to Hurricane Katrina into his report on Monday's Early Show. Plante ignored the poor handling of Katrina at the state and local levels, spotlighting instead how "the stranded and homeless wandered the streets of New Orleans" as Bush flew overhead. But three days earlier, CBS brought on former New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin as an "expert" on hurricane preparation without mentioning his failures.
Fill-in anchor Jeff Glor stated in his introduction for the correspondent's report that "Irene was not as bad as some thought it might be, but politicians were not taking any chances. They know what happens when government is ill-prepared for disaster." Plante began by spotlighting the Obama administration's response to Hurricane Irene:
If only George W. Bush had ordered home delivery of some pizzas during Katrina. On Meet the Press, David Gregory relayed how, before the tropical storm arrived on Saturday, Newark Mayor Cory Booker delivered a few pizzas to a shelter, then Gregory marveled at the “contrast...between President Bush regretting he had a flyover of the storm zone and here's Mayor Booker personally delivering pizzas.”
Gregory soon cued up far-left guest Michael Eric Dyson with “a larger point” of how “we're having a big debate over the budget in this town, the federal budget and deficit, and also the need for infrastructure improvements” and “the East coast is not prepared” for earthquakes nor “the kind of damage to our infrastructure that storms like this point up.” So, “what does it do to that debate?”
With Irene downgraded to a tropical storm, it is clear that this weather event has become another example of America's media hyping every potential crisis into a full-blown calamity before the fact.
Observing such was George Will on ABC's "This Week" Sunday who told his fellow panelists, "Whatever else you want to say about journalism, it shouldn’t subtract from the nation’s understanding and it certainly shouldn’t contribute to the manufacture of synthetic hysteria that is so much a part of modern life" (video follows with transcript and commentary):
A meteor the size of Texas is due to smash directly into New York City in three days and it is much too late to send Bruce Willis up there to save the metropolitan area from Armageddon. You can read all about it in the New York Times...but only on page A17.
Sounds pretty bizarre, right? Well, in reality that is exactly what happened on Thursday in regards to Hurricane Irene coverage. The front pages of both the New York Post and the Daily News were covered with large satellite photos of Hurricane Irene along with big headlines. The New York Times? Hurricane Irene was nowhere to be found on the front page. In fact it wasn't even on the second, third, fourth, or even fifth pages. To find their Hurricane Irene story you had to flip... flip... flip... flip... flip.... all the way to where they hid an article on the subject on page A17.
Your humble correspondent bought the national edition of the Times cleansed of Hurricane Irene information on the front page which you can see below the fold strictly for laughs.
As the numbers fail each year to match Gore's wild predictions, it is becoming increasingly difficult to form any logical support for Gore's gloom and doom global warming scenarios. To rectify the situation, the global warming community has quietly rebranded its cause as 'climate change,' which allows activists to push an environmental agenda without the threat of the earth's temperature not rising with it.
When ABC and NBC interview First Ladies, both the tone and substance of the discussion tend to hinge on whether the husband is an Obama or a Bush.
On Wednesday's ABC "World News" and NBC "Nightly News," network correspondents sat down with Michelle Obama in South Africa for exclusive interviews in which they lobbed softball questions and avoided her husband's policies. But in interviews with Laura Bush in 2007 and 2010, ABC questioned the then-First Lady's Mideast trip and NBC re-litigated President Bush's response in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.
Are deadly tornadoes really the best "stimulus" to be hoped for from the Obama White House, or is the New York Times just desperately looking for economics green shoots as the 2012 presidential elections approach?
Perhaps using a preemptive strike to help combat the May jobs report to be released on Friday, MSNBC has already found an excuse for lost jobs, and an increased unemployment rate – storms, tornadoes and flooding. According to a business report:
“…homes or places of business have been destroyed in this year's wave of storms, tornadoes and flooding. That means thousands of workers in the South and Midwest could be out of work for some time, potentially pushing up the nation's jobless rate and further taxing financially strapped state unemployment funds.”
Yet in 2004, when reporting on an October jobs report in which hiring had increased at the fastest pace in seven months, MSNBC somehow managed to find analysts who said the jump in hiring was due mainly to another form of natural disaster – hurricanes. The business report at that time read:
“Some analysts were skeptical about the latest surge of hiring, pointing out that much of the unusually large jump in October stemmed from cleanup and rebuilding in Florida and other states that were ravaged by four hurricanes…”
That assessment is buoyed by an accompanying CNBC video (seen below) in which Senior Economics Reporter, Steve Liesman, asks President Bush’s economic advisor, Gregory Mankiw, about the ‘Hurricane Effect’ on a jobs report.
Robert F. Kennedy Jr. lobbed incendiary accusations at the coal industry on "Morning Joe" today in a segment that devolved into a nearly 10-minute advertisement for his new anti-coal documentary.
The left-wing environmental activist juxtaposed fossil "fuels from Hell" with "patriotic fuels from Heaven," though neither co-host Joe Scarborough nor Mika Brzezinski pushed back.
"Right now the rules that govern the American energy system were written and devised by the incumbents, by the carbon cronies, to reward the dirtiest, filthiest, most poisonous, most toxic, most addictive, and destructive fuels from Hell rather than the cheap, clean, green, abundant, wholesome, and patriotic fuels from Heaven," blathered Kennedy.
The cause for the end of the world has been imagined by screenwriters to include everything from giant insects and malevolent robots to asteroids the size of Texas. But five year ago in May 2006, Hollywood found a new menace: carbon dioxide. This scenario was different in another respect. It was supposedly true.
The documentary "An Inconvenient Truth" wasn't intended to be the blockbuster end-of-the-world tale that "Armageddon" was, but it was intended to frighten. The new film was full of disaster footage and catastrophic predictions about climate change. Its leading man: former vice president Al Gore.
The apocalyptic warning earned nearly $50 million worldwide and turned Gore into a "movie star," according to the fawning networks. Gore won accolades, including an Oscar and a Nobel Peace Prize. Reporters and anchors on ABC, CBS and NBC also made a hero of Apocalypse Al, embracing his views and bringing on guests with the same views including one who said Gore had been busy "saving the planet - literally."
Gore received almost entirely uncritical coverage from the network morning and evening shows over global warming, despite plenty of evidence - scientific evidence - that would have discredited him and his film. Since the movie's release, nearly 98 percent of those stories have excluded criticism of the so-called "science" of the film.
Less than 24 hours after a devastating tornado ripped through Joplin, Missouri – killing at least 116 people – an MSNBC anchor was busy putting a political spin on the tragedy.
Tamron Hall wondered aloud on "News Nation" today whether climate change was to blame for the rash of hurricanes and tornadoes that ravaged several states, including Missouri, over the last few months.
To give you an idea of the kind of hysterical predictions the global warming crowd have made in recent years, the United Nations in 2005 actually forecast that by the end of the previous decade, there would be 50 million environmental refugees around the world as a result of climate change.
The Boston Globe, long notorious as promoters of global warming doom and gloom -- see Ross Gelbspan, for example -- sometimes get embarrassed by the actual climate. On "The Green Blog," the Globe's Beth Daley projected that a "global warming double punch" could make Hurricane Earl much worse for Massachusetts -- except when it actually passed by, it turned out to be a dud for Bostonians and it could be watched on the coast with a glass of wine:
The large waves, storm surge, and flooding that Hurricane Earl will spawn as it strikes Massachusetts tomorrow night comes with an added dollop of trouble; Sea level rise.
Very gradual -- and in some cases accelerating -- rises in sea level off our coast over the last century will boost the height of Earl’s storm surge -- expected to be one to four feet -- meaning the wall of water will be able to travel that much farther inland and over higher elevations to flood basements, streets, and other low-lying areas....
Five year ago today, Hurricane Katrina slammed Louisiana and Mississippi forever changing America.
In the midst of unthinkable devastation, the media coverage of this natural disaster was disgraceful.
Despite almost immoral bungling by New Orleans' mayor and Louisiana's governor, as well as decades of corruption that left this city's levee system in a state of shameful disrepair, President George W. Bush was made the culprit for the damage, the suffering, and the loss.
Katrina largely signaled the end of the Bush presidency just eight months into his second term, and America's press were largely to blame.
How do you see this disaster five years later and how the media handled it? Was it an ominous precursor to the absolutely abysmal job so-called journalists did in covering the 2008 presidential election? What have we learned from this event about the power of the press, and what can be done about it?
UPDATE - 7/13, 1:30 pm: In the face of criticism, the Coast Guard just rescinded this policy, allowing reporters free access to Gulf spill recovery efforts. Details below.
Effectively reporting on the Gulf oil spill is now a Class D felony, punishable by a fine of up to $40,000.
That's right, the most transparent administration in history has made it a felony, effective July 1, to get within 65 feet of what the Coast Guard determines are essential recovery efforts. According to Anderson Cooper, officials tried to up that number to 300 feet.
Cooper, who claimed federal officials prevented CNN on two occasions from taking photographs in the gulf, seemed frustrated when he reported on the new laws the day they went into effect. The press is "not the enemy here" he pleaded. The new policies, he said, make it "very easy to hide failure, and hide incompetence."
Cooper also let loose this zinger: "Transparency is apparently not a priority with [Coast Guard Commandant] Thad Allen these days." Ouch (full video and transcript below the fold - h/t Ron Robinson).
When Hurricane Katrina destroyed New Orleans in 2005, numerous media members blamed racism for President Bush's supposedly poor response to the disaster.
According to LexisNexis, there were almost 1,000 reports in the nine weeks following the storm's passage through the Gulf of Mexico that tied racism to the government's post-hurricane strategy.
Five years later, as oil slams the same region and polls show the public actually more unhappy with the response to this crisis than they were after Katrina hit, no such nefarious connection is being espoused.
Consider the media firestorm the following remark by rapper Kanye West set off just a few days after the hurricane hit New Orleans (video follows with transcript and commentary):
The mainstream media seem to have boiled down the president's reaction to the Gulf spill to two caricatures: either he has failed to satiate public appetites by feigning outrage, or he is succeeding by acting angry. Whereas journalists rightly expected President Bush to do something about Katrina--and excoriated him when he supposedly didn't do enough--the media seem content listening to Obama speak.
That the president may not be doing everything in his power, like, say, meeting with the CEO of British Petroleum, seems not even to cross their minds. So the only critique of the president that remains is one of style. By focusing on what the president has said--rather than what he has done--and how he has said it, the media have diverted (albeit unintentionally) attention from the administration's actual response to the spill to its emotional and verbal response.
Obama and his predecessor both accepted responsibility for the spill and Hurricane Katrina, respectively. But the mainstream press took the former at his word; they rightfully held him accountable for his administration's actions. No such accountability is present in the media's reporting on Obama's response to the Gulf spill.