BY CHARLES MEMMINGER – The news media has been blasted for its “hysterical” coverage of Hurricane Irene but I found the coverage not so much hysterical as hysterically hilarious. What is it about a storm that causes usually rational TV reporters to suddenly feel compelled to report on hurricanes by standing outside in pouring rain and blustery winds? Stay inside and dry and point the damn cameras outside to show us the crummy weather. We’d get it.
But for 48 straight hours all we saw on cable and network news were soggy reporters standing in water, on piers, on boardwalks and even in boats. Their sogginess didn’t add anything to their reports and often were so silly it distracted from the news. One guy was in a boat on a flooded street reporting live about how horrible the flooding was while some people walked behind him in the shot showing the water was only a foot deep. Another reporter apparently wanted to give the impression that he was risking his life by giving a grave account of the storm while standing on a beach.
Unfortunately, there were kids playing in the water behind him and fooling around while other people strolled along the shore. The most ridiculous example of silly reporting was when a local reporter noticed huge amounts of foam being whipped up by waves hitting a breakwater near a boardwalk. He climbed INTO the yellowish foam and reported that it didn’t smell so good. He later learned that was because untreated sewage was flowing into the sea and being whipped into the photogenic drifts of foam that most likely was toxic. He went from staff reporter to staff infection in two minutes.
Even CNN anchor Candy Crowley chose to stage her Sunday show outdoors, her hair looking fetchingly windblown. By the way, if that poor woman keeps packing on the pounds she’s going to have to change her name to Roast Beef Crowley. Trees and debris were flying past in the wind but Crowley was an immovable object, like Mt. Rushmore. I thought I saw emergency rescue personnel urging residents to move into a safe building or at least seek shelter on the leeward side of Candy Crowley.
Hurricane Irene was barely even a hurricane. It started out as a “Category 3” hurricane but was downgraded by Standard and Poors to a “Category 1.5.” Winds were hardly over 45 miles an hour, a speed that would barely draw out windsurfers at Ho’okipa Beach Park on Maui. News organizations defended their breathless coverage by pointing out that some 20 people died from the storm.
The storm hit something like nine states and only 20 people died? The question is how many people would have died over the weekend if the hurricane hadn’t hit? All those usual drunks on the road from Rhode Island to South Carolina forced to stay indoors for a few days? I’ll be Hurricane Irene actually saved lives. I noticed NYC Mayor Bloomberg buttoned down his little city pretty quick and shut off all public transportation. And that was while Irene was still off the African coast. Bloomberg thinks New York City would be a great place if it weren’t for all the people.
Inevitably, like “Punxsutawney Phil”, who should emerge from his one of his mansions or gas-guzzling private jets but “Inconvenient Al” Gore to point out that Hurricane Irene was the result of climate change. In fact, Gore kind of lost it even before the hurricane, blathering at a conference in Aspen that blaming anything other than human habitation for global warming and climate change was “b— sh–!” Literally. He actually said: “They pay pseudo-scientists to pretend to be scientists to put out the message: ‘This climate thing is nonsense. Man-made CO-2 doesn’t trap heat. It must be volcanoes.’ B— Sh–! ‘It may be sunspots.’ B— Sh–! ‘It’s not getting warmer.’ B— Sh–!”
The scary thing about Gore is that he thinks it should be against the law for anyone even to voice an opinion that contradicts his theory that global warming is man-made. Believing in man-made climate change has taken on all the trappings of a major religion. And you know how religions have dealt with non-believers throughout history. I truly believe that if he had the power Al Gore would conduct a Climate Change Inquisition and have non-believers strapped to the rack and tortured for being heretics. He actually accused climate change skeptics of being like racists of the Jim Crow days.
Gore is becoming hysterical because there is growing proof that while man may be contributing to climate change, he isn’t the sole culprit. It doesn’t help Gore that English scientists were caught dummying up data to support the man-made climate change theory. It also doesn’t help that data collected for ten years by NASA’s Terra satellite showed that the United Nations models that predict global warming are flawed. These aren’t pseudo-scientists. These are NASA experts looking at real scientific data.
It’s also hard to ignore that some of the greatest climate change in history happened before internal combustion engines were even invented and electricity wasn’t being generated in coal-fired plants. There’s the “Little Ice Age” during the 16th to 18th centuries that scientists think was caused by volcanoes and sun spots. The reason the Delaware River was filled with huge ice chunks when George Washington crossed it in 1777 was because of the Little Ice Age. The year 1815 has been called the “year without summer” because the eruption of Mt. Tambora in Indonesia put so much sulfur dioxide in the stratosphere and suddenly cooled the Earth. In the biggest eruption since Krakatoa, Mt. Pinatubo erupted in 1991 in the Philippines and put enough sulfur dioxide into the stratosphere to cause a global drop in temperature.
That’s not “b— sh—!” Inconvenient Al, those are facts. I happen to believe that Hurricane Irene was not the result of man-made climate change but part of regular, old weather patterns that have existed in the Atlantic Ocean for centuries. You may not agree with me but until the Climate Change Inquisition begins, I still have a right to say it.
As far as the media overreacting to Hurricane Irene, how about our local weather reporters and historians when it comes to relatively rare east Pacific storms? The East Coast, including the Mid-Atlantic, has been threatened by and suffered through many more hurricanes than Hawaii ever has or will. Since 1949, 12 people in Hawaii have died from hurricane-related events, but only 6 of those from an actual hurricane making landfall, Iniki in 1992. It is unclear whether the 1 death attributed to Hurricane Iwa in 1982 was the result of a direct hit on Kauai.
Charley is right about pseudo-scientist Al Gore’s hysterical ravings. The planet is probably still emerging from the Little Ice Age of the 16th-18th centuries. Climate change is naturally going to occur with or without human contribution. Get used to it, just as our prehistoric ancestors did.
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