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.
The mainstream media is of course replete with liberal opinionistas who criticize Republicans far more harshly than Democrats. That is nothing new. It is truly shocking, however, when supposedly "objective" news outlets employ even more egregious double standards than the openly-biased commentators.
The Wall Street Journal's James Taranto caught the Associated Press employing one such double standard over the weekend. The AP's Ben Feller penned quite a sob story about the president's response to the Gulf spill, saying that Obama is "having to work through unforeseen problems" and made sure to note that his "ability to calmly handle many competing issues simultaneously is viewed as one of his strengths."
A contrast with the AP's rheotroic on the Bush administration's response to Hurricane Katrina reveals quite a discrepany in the organization's views on the executive's accountability for natural disasters. That New York Times columnist Frank Rich and uber-liberal mudslinger Bill Maher have both had harsher words for the current president and his response to the Gulf spill speaks volumes.
On Sunday’s syndicated Chris Matthews Show, Time magazine columnist Joe Klein joined the ranks of left-leaning media figures like Chris Matthews and Keith Olbermann in blaming the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico on the Bush administration. As the panel discussed President Obama’s handling of the disaster, Klein opined that "this is more Bush’s second Katrina than Obama’s first," and, after agreement from host Matthews, Klein continued: "Yes, because it was the Bush regulations, it was Dick Cheney’s deregulation, and lording over the Minerals Management [Service]-"
Later in the show, as the group discussed whether President Obama would recover from his current sagging approval numbers, Klein asserted that Obama is lucky because Republicans "look worse" on the oil spill than do Democrats: "He is incredibly lucky in his opposition. I mean, you know, the oil spill is a great example. The Republicans look worse on that than the Democrats do. I think that, because there are no really coherent Republican leaders now, he’ll come back."
Below is a transcript of relevant portions of the Sunday, May 30, syndicated Chris Matthews Show:
It's the American way, right? It is patriotic to exercise the 1st Amendment by petitioning the government for a redress of grievances - unless of course your effort has a tie to some corporation or lobbying interest. Then regardless of its size, it's phony baloney Astroturf activism.
While groups like the George Soros-funded MoveOn.org have managed to elude the "Astroturf" moniker, from its inception, the Tea Party movement has taken shots from its critics. One of the most popular left-wing charges was to call it "Astroturf," meaning it was presented as a grassroots efforts, but wasn't really grassroots. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi labeled the Tea Party movement "Astroturf" back during the original Tax Day Tea Party protest on April 15, 2009.
"This initiative is funded by the high end - we call it Astroturf," Pelosi said. "It's not really a grassroots movement. It's Astroturf by some of the wealthiest people in America to keep the focus on tax cuts for the rich instead of for the great middle class."
That attitude has been widely echoed in media coverage of the Tea Party, as if it were a corporate effort to subvert the U.S. government's ability to collect revenue and redistribute wealth through public works and social program. Meanwhile, environmental causes, like Earth Day or global warming with their own corporate sponsorship - are rarely labeled Astroturf.
The Pentagon rescinded the invitation of evangelist Franklin Graham to speak at its May 6 National Day of Prayer event because of complaints about his previous comments about Islam.
The Military Religious Freedom Foundation expressed its concern over Graham's involvement with the event in an April 19 letter sent to Secretary of Defense Robert Gates. MRFF's complaint about Graham, the son of Rev. Billy Graham, focused on remarks he made after 9/11 in which he called Islam "wicked" and "evil" and his lack of apology for those words.
Col. Tom Collins, an Army spokesman, told ABC News on April 22, "This Army honors all faiths and tries to inculcate our soldiers and work force with an appreciation of all faiths and his past comments just were not appropriate for this venue."
A new study predicts that global warming, contrary to claims made by Nobel Laureate Al Gore and the his fellow climate alarmists, will actually reduce the number of hurricanes by as much as 34 percent by the year 2100.
The report just published in the journal Nature Geoscience also found that the increase in tropical storm activity the planet has seen since 1995 is part of a natural cycle completely unrelated to increases in atmospheric carbon dioxide.
These revelations represent another serious crack in the claims made by the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, and therefore seem quite unlikely to be reported by American media that have been largely ignoring all the errors that have been found recently in key IPCC documents.
As is typical, this bombshell was uncovered by a British publication, the Sunday Times (h/t Ed Morrissey):
Time after time, the Obama White House has demonstrated a desire to control the message and flow of information, whether it's issues on health care, the economy, bailouts and the latest - climate science.
But AccuWeather.com's chief long-range and hurricane forecaster Joe Bastardi, who appeared on the Fox Business Network's Feb. 9 "Cavuto," warned there are other implications with the government having an expanded role in climate forecasting. According to Bastardi, it could lead to an effort to shut out other opinions.
On Saturday, NB's Noel Sheppard reported on this statement made by Education Secretary Arne Duncan: "I think the best thing that happened to the education system in New Orleans was hurricane Katrina. That education system was a disaster. It took hurricane Katrina to wake up the community and say we have to do better."
CNN host T.J. Holmes read that quote aloud during a broadcast. "Of course I agree" with Duncan's statement, said one guest, CNN contributor Steve Perry. The host and correspondents went back and forth about how the hurricane may or may not have helped public schools, never once impugning Duncan's motives.
Contrast this media response with the response to former Republican Congressman from Louisiana Richard Baker's statement regarding Katrina: "We finally cleaned up public housing in New Orleans. We couldn't do it, but God did." It sparked outrage among the liberal media (h/t NRO's John Miller).
On Monday’s edition of Rosie Radio, host Rosie O’Donnell spun the outpouring of support for the victims of the Haiti earthquake as a result of President Obama’s leadership. She then falsely accused George Bush of not quickly speaking out after Hurricane Katrina: "If two days after Katrina, you know, the President of the United States went on and said, 'You will not be forsaken. You will not be forgotten. We are sending in the Army-’" [Audio available here.]
The satellite radio host added, "If there was that, sort of, mass impulse to help, I think, then, Americans would have felt more justified of, you know, helping..." In fact, two days after Hurricane Katrina, on August 31, 2005, President Bush said this in the Rose Garden: "Right now, the days seem awfully dark for those affected. I understand that."
He continued, "But I'm confident that with time, you'll get your life back in order. New communities will flourish. The great City of New Orleans will be back on its feet. And America will be a stronger place for it. The country stands with you. We'll do all in our power to help you." The speech also laid out exactly how the National Guard, FEMA and other government agencies would assist the effort.
Just days after the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change admitted it used junk science to predict Himalayan glaciers would vanish by 2035, its claim that global warming is linked to increased natural disasters has also been found to be wrongly concluded.
THE United Nations climate science panel faces new controversy for wrongly linking global warming to an increase in the number and severity of natural disasters such as hurricanes and floods.
It based the claims on an unpublished report that had not been subjected to routine scientific scrutiny — and ignored warnings from scientific advisers that the evidence supporting the link too weak. The report's own authors later withdrew the claim because they felt the evidence was not strong enough.
A rather remarkable thing happened Thursday: a documentary highly skeptical of man's role in global warming was aired on broadcast television.
The program, "Global Warming - The Other Side," was created and hosted by John Coleman, the founder of The Weather Channel, and debuted on San Diego's independent television station KUSI.
Readers should be familiar with Coleman as the man who not only called global warming "the greatest scam in history," but also advocated suing Nobel Laureate Al Gore to expose the fraud.
Breaking with American media's tradition of almost exclusively broadcasting programs supporting Gore's view of climate change, "The Other Side" remarkably devoted an entire hour to fully explaining what the global warming-obsessed press dishonestly hide from the public (videos in four parts embedded below the fold, h/t Climate Depot):