Nov
05
2012

Worst Media Moment on Hurricane Sandy?

CNN's Erin Burnett (screengrab by mroach)

CNN reporter Erin Burnett's comment (10/29/12) that it was "kind of neat" to see New York City break its flooding record as the storm surge from Hurricane Sandy flooded Battery Park was bizarre, to say the very least: I just want to give everyone an update of where we are right now in terms of the record books. This is one for the record books. In terms of the storm surge here in Manhattan, Lower Manhattan where I am right now, almost a three-foot record, three feet. We're at 12.75 feet, as you can see, it's above my ankles now […]

Nov
04
2012

Media Should Describe Sandy as the Result of Our Climate Experiment

NASA Satellites See Sandy Expand as Storm Intensifies

Columbia Journalism Review's Curtis Brainard and I had a somewhat lengthy back-and-forth on Twitter about his view (10/30/12, 11/1/12) that some journalists and environmental activists are misleading the public by pointing to superstorm Sandy as an outcome of human-caused global warming. I argued on FAIR Blog (11/1/12) that saying that global warming caused Sandy is simply accurate–and later tried to make my point via tongue-in-cheek metaphor in a tweet. I don't think I convinced Brainard–"Wow. You're spinning words like tops," pretty much summed up his reaction. But I thought I'd try to explain what I was saying in a medium […]

Nov
02
2012

Politico Makes You Glad Election Is Almost Over

Nate Silver

The gossipy, horse race-obsessed outlet Politico ran a story on October 29 about the credibility of polling expert Nate Silver, whose 538 blog at the New York Times is a must-read for people interested in election forecasting. What Silver does isn't, on one level, all that tricky–his model combines national and state polls and generates probabilities about election outcomes. This model finds it highly likely that Barack Obama will win the election. It's probability, not a crystal ball or a bet. Politico's Dylan Byers notes that Silver's model says this "even as the polls have [Romney] almost neck-and-neck with the incumbent." […]

Nov
02
2012

NYT's Gaza Flotilla Flop

You can learn a lot from reading the Corrections box in the New York Times–often because going back to read the story that is being corrected reveals more than the correction itself. On October 20, the Israeli navy intercepted another boat attempting to reach the Gaza Strip to deliver supplies in defiance of the Israeli blockade. In the October 21 edition of the Times, Jodi Rudoren filed a story about this news. But it was what she remembered about an earlier flotilla that was most revealing. In 2010 Israeli forces launched a deadly assault on the Mavi Marmara boat, killing […]

Nov
02
2012

PBS Corrects Iran Falsehood

pbs-iran

A FAIR Action Alert (10/24/12) criticized the PBS NewsHour for reporting that "Iran's nuclear weapons program has been a particular flash point" in the presidential race. As we noted, there is no hard evidence that Iran has such a weapons program; in fact, international inspections have consistently found no evidence that Iran has diverted uranium for military purposes. Soon after FAIR activists began writing to the show, the NewsHour responded by posting  an Editor's Note: EDITOR'S NOTE: This transcript has been updated to account for an error in the NewsHour's broadcast reference to Iran's widely suspected military ambitions in pursuing nuclear […]

Nov
01
2012

How'd You Like That Hurricane We Made?

Hurricane Sandy (NASA)

Writing about journalistic treatment of the superstorm and climate change, CJR's Curtis Brainard (10/30/12) criticizes the New Yorker's Elizabeth Kolbert for the wrong reason. He takes issue with her statement (10/29/12): As with any particular "weather-related loss event," it's impossible to attribute Sandy to climate change. However, it is possible to say that the storm fits the general pattern in North America, and indeed around the world, toward more extreme weather, a pattern that, increasingly, can be attributed to climate change. He's unhappy with the second part–retorting that you can't attribute a trend toward extreme weather to climate change. But […]