Recent stories on ABC’s World News Tonight have shown conflicting takes on whether global warming has caused the current hurricane season – the first story supporting the theory, the second story (with a different anchor and reporter) dismissing global warming’s role. On World News Tonight Saturday on July 9, anchor Dan Harris relayed that scientists are wondering whether global warming is responsible for the early creation of strong hurricanes in the Atlantic Ocean. While introducing a story by reporter John Berman detailing the predictions of scientists that there will be stronger hurricanes in the future due to global warming, Harris introduced the story by saying, “Scientists have been surprised by the intensity of recent storm systems, and they're wondering whether global warming may be playing a role.” (Berman’s report itself did not specifically address the issue of whether the current hurricanes have been affected by global warming, but instead focused on predictions that future hurricanes will be stronger due to global warming.) Last Friday, six days later, on the July 15 broadcast, reporter Jeffrey Kofman filed a story detailing several converging factors that are causing the recent strong storms, at the end of which he concluded: "Scientists say this is not because of global warming, it is simply a lot of cyclical climate patterns conspiring to create the perfect conditions for a long season of perfect storms." A complete transcript of the July 9 story which promotes the possibility of global warming influencing the current hurricane season, as well as future hurricane seasons, is below: Dan Harris: "Scientists have been surprised by the intensity of recent storm systems, and they're wondering whether global warming may be playing a role. At its peak yesterday, Dennis was the strongest July hurricane ever reported off the U.S. coast. As ABC's John Berman reports, that record may not stand for long." John Berman: "In Florida, they know just how powerful hurricanes can be. Over the last year, they have been reminded more times than they care to count." Unidentified man: "I've had enough hurricanes." Berman: "But it could get even worse. According to a comprehensive study, hurricanes will become even more intense because of global warming -- the idea that greenhouse gases are heating the earth's atmosphere and oceans." Tom Knutson, Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Lab Climate Modeler: "Those storms that do occur are going to have the potential to be significantly stronger in a warmer climate." Berman: "Hurricanes get their strength from warm ocean water. Higher water temperatures mean more energy for the storms." Knutson: "As a storm is moving across the ocean, it's evaporating water from the ocean's surface, and that's supplying the fuel for the storm." Berman: "Tom Knutson is lead author of the study which used one of the world's most powerful computers to simulate 1,300 virtual storms. He found that within 80 years, the average hurricane strength will increase by half a category in the five-step scale of destructive power." Robert Tuleya, Old Dominion University Center for Oceanography: "It could be the difference between, say, a roof staying on the house and the roof being ripped off." Berman: "Average wind speed could jump 15 miles an hour, rainfall two inches and storm surge several feet." Tuleya: "In our simulations, you end up with some of these really monster storms." Berman: "The study says nothing about how global warming will affect the frequency of hurricanes, but the researchers say that is next on their agenda. The residents of Florida will be waiting. John Berman, ABC News, New York." And here is the complete transcript of the July 15 story which concludes by dismissing the influence of global warming on the current hurricane season: Elizabeth Vargas: "Another major storm is causing misery in the Caribbean. Tonight, Hurricane Emily has winds of 115 miles per hour and could threaten Texas by Tuesday. It is the fifth named Atlantic storm since June 1st. the first time since they began keeping records in 1851 that so many major storms have formed so early. So for our 'Closer Look' this evening, what's behind all this? And are more deadly hurricanes on the way? Here's ABC's Jeffrey Kofman." Jeffrey Kofman: "Last week, Hurricane Dennis, now Hurricane Emily. July is supposed to be low season for hurricanes. But it seems just like peak season, late August, early September. And there are good reasons." Stan Goldenberg, NOAA Meteorologist: "Really, what you have is you have just a combination of a lot of favorable factors hitting the Atlantic right now, setting up for a very, very active year, which has already really started now." Kofman: "The first named storms of the season -- Arlene, Bret and Cindy -- had limited punch. Dennis and now Emily are different, born from storms blowing off the coast of Africa in an area meteorologists call the Tropical Box, where warm water acts like jet fuel for hurricanes. Usually, these waters stay cool until late August, but already this July, the entire area of the Atlantic where hurricanes form is two to four degrees warmer than normal." Bruce Albrecht, University of Miami Meteorologist: "This time of the year, we don't expect to see hurricanes forming off systems that come off the African coast. And this year is an exception to that." Kofman: "And then, there's the Bermuda high, a high-pressure system that is sitting over the north Atlantic. Right now, it stretches almost to American shores. Hurricanes can't penetrate it, so they are forced westward to the Caribbean, Florida and the Gulf. Even the wind patterns over the Atlantic this summer are helping the hurricanes thrive." Goldberg: "Yes, we're seeing a lot in June, July so far. But, really, I would expect the worst is yet to come. We've got a lot of activity to go. This is going to be a very, very busy year." Kofman: "Scientists say this is not because of global warming, it is simply a lot of cyclical climate patterns conspiring to create the perfect conditions for a long season of perfect storms. Jeffrey Kofman, ABC News, Miami."
FNC's O'Reilly Cites MRC Study on Obamacare Coverage
On Wednesday's The O'Reilly Factor on FNC, host Bill O'Reilly cited the Business and Media Institute's recent study finding that broadcast network evening and morning news shows have slanted their coverage of President Obama's health care proposals heavily in the Democratic President's favor, as he introduced a segment with FNC analyst and former CBS News correspondent Bernard Goldberg. O'Reilly:
Tonight we have a number of topics for Mr. Goldberg, beginning with a new study by the Media Research Center, a conservative group out of Virginia. They analyzed more than 200 health care stories on the big three network morning and evening news programs. The Center found 70 percent of the soundbites used in those stories favored President Obama's health care vision – 70 percent.
O'Reilly and Goldberg spent the first part of the segment discussing why there is so much public skepticism about Obama's proposals in spite of the favorable media coverage. Below is a transcript of the relevant portion of the Wednesday, July 28, The O'Reilly Factor on FNC:
BILL O’REILLY: Tonight we have a number of topics for Mr. Goldberg, beginning with a new study by the Media Research Center, a conservative group out of Virginia. They analyzed more than 200 health care stories on the big three network morning and evening news programs. The Center found 70 percent of the soundbites used in those stories favored President Obama's health care vision – 70 percent. Joining us now from Asheville, North Carolina, with reaction, Fox News analyst Bernie Goldberg, author of the book, A Slobbering Love Affair, which, you know. plays right into this, Bernie, because, you know, if it's 7-3 on all of, you know, ABC, CBS, NBC, the Today Show, Good Morning America, or the nightly newscasts. But, as I just asked [Dick] Morris, the folks, they’re not buying it. It's going the other way, so I'm wondering what messenger, what messenger, media messenger, because that's how the folks get their information on this, is being most effective in this thing?
BERNARD GOLDBERG, FNC ANALYST: Well, first we should point out that just because the media has a particular bias in favor of something that Barack Obama suggests doesn't mean that people are buying it. I mean, you know, the media, the media says a lot of things and people listen to it, and they realize that the media is not being fair or balanced, but they don't necessarily buy it. The important point here, Bill, is I don't know that the media is in favor of nationalized health care. I don't know that they like it or that they don't like it. They like Barack Obama. They have a lot invested in Barack Obama, and they’re going to protect their investment. In my book that you just mentioned, A Slobbering Love Affair, I explain how the media moved from the old-fashioned media bias into something new, media activism. So now you have a lot of reporters, not all of them, but a lot of reporters who aren't just covering health care and Barack Obama. They’re, they’re championing it, they’re supporting it, and-
O’REILLY: Okay, but why isn't, why isn’t it working? You would think that, look-
GOLDBERG: Because the people at home-
O’REILLY: -you have all of this monolith going that Obama's health care vision is good for you, which is basically what it is. And, in dissent, you have some people on the Fox News Channel, but, you know, we have many people here who like it, the President's plan, and you have conservative talk radio obviously lined up against it. So it's those vehicles against – and we didn't even mention CNN and MSNBC, which, of course, are for the Obama health plan. So it's maybe 5-1. But the folks are saying no, we don't like it.
GOLDBERG: Because they get enough information, either from talk radio or from Fox, and even from those places that are in favor or seem to be in favor of Obamacare when they’re really in favor of Obama. They get enough information, they’re smart enough, contrary to what a lot of people in the media think, they’re smart enough to know that they don't like it. And as Dick Morris correctly pointed out, and you did, too, senior citizens especially. I mean, I'm telling you, senior citizens are out there saying, "Hold on, let me make sure I get this straight. You mean, when I get to be 85 or thereabouts and I might get an operation that prolongs my life five years, you're going to say take a pill?" They get it. It doesn't matter that the media is tilted in favor of the President's plan. People see through that stuff. And that's good. And that’s good.
O’REILLY: Listen, I have, Bill Maher said yesterday that we're a stupid country, America is a stupid country. That was a stupid comment by Mr. Maher. We made him a pinhead for it. I’ve always felt that the folks have a lot of common sense and a lot of wisdom, and I think it's coming out here.