During the coverage of Hurricane Florence, with the outer bands starting to come on shore, CNN took a moment to have viewers listen to the winds and see the ocean. New Day host John Berman gave a very dramatic interpretation of the sound of that wind hitting an offshore microphone. His co-host, Alisyn Camerota drew viewers’ attention to the waves in the churning sea.
What I saw and heard with my very own eyes and ears were sights and sounds that one might encounter on a typical breezy day on the Ft. Lauderdale beach. What was being reported was a lot of hot air – figuratively and literally.
Berman went on to note that once the winds exceed 35 miles per hour, all rescue operations would cease and would not return until winds dropped below that speed, which – based on Florence’s slow movement — could take more than 48 hours.
Good Grief! In my hometown of Chicago, we would be getting the kites out when winds exceeded 35 miles an hour. It was business as usual – except for kite flying — when winds rose to 40, 50 and even 60 miles an hour. Residents can rest assured that those noble and brave rescue workers will be out saving lives long before the winds become a mild breeze.
The Weather Channel – where one would hope to get the most immediate and accurate information – gets the Emmy for the most outrageous hyping of the news. While a reporter on the scene was seen crouched over – seemingly fighting against the wind – a number of people walking around casually were seen in the background. While there was obviously a breeze, the reporters own clothing were not flapping against any major rush of air. He was faking the report.
Make no mistake. Florence is a disaster with many tragedies. There is extensive damage. Some folks have lost everything they own – and too many lost their lives. There is no reason for Berman and Camerota to overly dramatize the preliminary conditions for the sake of ratings. This type of reportorial hyperbole is at a cost to their own credibility – on this and all other matters.
But, it gets worse.
Some of the reporting – too much, in fact – spins Florence into a political story. They use it to compare their own dubious anti-Trump narratives regarding the handling of Hurricane Maria –, especially the Puerto Rican angle. Forget about any damage and dead from Florence, they are looking for angles to find fault with the Trump administration – and they will, whether legitimate or not.
The Washington Post had already opined that the damage TO BE done by Florence WILL BE Trump’s fault. Even as they confirm that “it is hard to attribute any single weather event to climate change” they say that “when it comes to extreme weather, Mr. Trump is complicit.” Has Trump been colluding with Mother Nature? In their malignant view, deregulation has caused Florence – or at least made her a lot meaner. Greez! You would think they would at least wait until Florence past before attributing blame.
As one sidebar story, they are reporting on an inspector general investigation of the FEMA director’s alleged private use of government cars – spinning it into a major issue. It is, in their judgment, another example of Trump administration officials acting badly. More grist for the anti-Trump media mill. For most of us, it hardly deserves a mention on a slow news day.
An even greater political spin involves the scientific debate – and yes, it is a scientific debate – over climate change. According to the left, the earth is not only warming, but the primary cause is man-made pollution – AND it can be fixed. In their Draconian view, mankind’s very existence on planet earth is at risk. Hogwash!
Though many meteorologists and climatologists warn against using current weather – including hurricanes – as indicators of climate change, the media proffers that argument incessantly. A number of media personalities used Florence as the latest example. That mean old dame is bigger, more powerful and more dangerous than ever, they say. Unprecedented!!!
That was not true when Florence was peaking off shore as a Category 5 hurricane and most certainly not true as it dropped to a Category 1 as it reached landfall. Dangerous, for sure, but not unprecedented or even remarkable. While there was some record-breaking rainfall in some areas, Florence is less unusual and more typical of hurricanes that have been hitting America’s east coast for centuries. Just check the record.
The record breaking destruction has less to do with the claimed increasing power of hurricanes and more to do with the fact that over the years millions of people – with their homes and businesses — have migrated to the hurricane-prone climes of southeast United States. There are just a lot more things to knock down and tear up.
Those biased reporters and panelists who called on us to believe in global warming because of the unprecedented power of Florence should be wiping the egg off their faces, but instead, they are doubling down. Their opinions were not rooted in fact, but in politics. It gave them another opportunity to attack Trump and all those, like myself, who are not sure if recent global warming is man-made or a natural cycle – but who do believe that the only way to reduce our gaseous emissions – not addressing personal emissions here – is to restore a Stone Age culture across the globe.
By the way, have you ever noticed that whenever they report on climate change, they show a parched earth and starving people? Actually, scientists tell us that one benefit of global warming is that it will create an abundance of flora. That means plants and produce. There is a reason we call it a “greenhouse effect” and we use greenhouses to grow food. Imagine growing oranges in Michigan.
For sure, global warming would have some negative impacts on our current situation, but so would global cooling. Change of any kind creates winners and losers.
Wouldn’t it be nice to turn on the news – even the weather — and actually get fact-based reporting without the hype, the spin and the … you know … b***sh*t.
FOOTNOTE: I make it a practice to use the (*) when descending into gutter language, but a still wonder why. Even a 10-year-old can read between them … (*).