CyberAlert -- 09/16/1999 -- Gibson's Gun Crusade; Pardons Pardoned; Floyd Blamed on Global Warming

Gibson's Gun Crusade; Pardons Pardoned; Floyd Blamed on Global Warming

1) To make his show "experiential and informational" a wet Dan Rather stood outside without an umbrella in Myrtle Beach.

2) After claiming "I don't want to politicize this," in the wake of the Ft. Worth shooting ABC's Charlie Gibson demanded of Al Gore: "Do you think the 2000 campaign will largely be about guns?"

3) In overwhelming, bi-partisan votes the House and Senate condemned Clinton's pardons, but not a word on ABC, CBS or NBC.

4) "The sea change in our climate has created the potential for bigger and much more ferocious hurricanes," NBC's Tom Brokaw warned in introducing a one-sided story which ignored scientists who believe there's no link to global warming.

5) What really matters: Entertainment Tonight dug to find the impact of the hurricane on Ricky Martin's TV special.

Correction: The September 13 CyberAlert quoted Jack Germond as saying, in a discussion of Terry McAuliffe's payment for the Clinton house purchase, "If that were a Republican we'd all being screaming..." That should have read "we'd all be screaming."


rather0916.jpg (9541 bytes)cyberno1.gif (1096 bytes) Peter Jennings remained inside Wednesday night, but not his broadcast colleagues. NBC's Tom Brokaw anchored from Wilmington, NC where he remained dry because it was not raining during Nightly News, but CBS Evening News viewers watched a throughly soaked "Hurricane Dan" Rather standing in the rain in Myrtle Beach, SC, sans umbrella.

Rather realized people might wonder why he was standing in the rain, so he explained: "We want our CBS Evening News coverage to be both experiential and informational for you the viewer and that's why we're at this place."

++ See a picture and brief RealPlayer clip of a drenched Rather with rain bouncing off his head and wet hair. This morning MRC Webmaster Sean Henry will post a RealPlayer clip of Rather from the September 15 Evening News.


cyberno2.gif (1451 bytes) In the immediate aftermath of the deadly church shooting Wednesday night in Ft. Worth, Texas, Vice President Al Gore tried to avoid political rhetoric about gun control, but ABC's Charlie Gibson didn't have such class. As CyberAlert readers know, Gibson regularly abuses his ABC venue to push his advocacy of gun control laws.

Thursday morning, September 16, Gore appeared live from San Diego (where it was just past 4am) to discuss Hurricane Floyd, but Gibson first forwarded his personal agenda:
"I don't want to politicize this and this is not the time for political questions, but do you think the 2000 campaign, especially if you are the Democratic candidate, do you think the 2000 campaign will largely be about guns?"
Gore pointed out Gibson's contradiction: "You said you didn't want to politicize it. I can assure it's the last thing that I want to do and I just don't want to get into a discussion like that."
Undeterred, Gibson pressed again: "I'm just saying do you think that this is going to be a discussion in the year 2000, this country will sit down and have a frank discussion about guns?"

As Gibson's display shows, it doesn't matter what the candidates want. Journalists like Gibson will make their causes an issue that politicians will be forced to address.


cyberno3.gif (1438 bytes) The House and Senate have delivered overwhelming bi-partisan condemnations of Bill Clinton's decision to pardon and release 11 FALN terrorists, but none of the broadcast networks bothered to tell their viewers anything about the rebukes.

Last Thursday, September 9, the House voted 311 to 41, with about 70 Democrats voting "present" and thus refusing to support Clinton, to condemn his action. CNN's Inside Politics and FNC's Fox Report mentioned it, but not ABC, CBS or NBC though both Good Morning America and Today the next morning ran short items on how the Puerto Ricans were scheduled for release later in the day.

On Tuesday, September 14, the Senate voted 95 to 2 for a resolution calling the pardons "deplorable." Only Democrats Akaka and Wellstone voted no. Democratic Senator Bob Graham and Republicans John McCain and Judd Gregg did not vote. Coverage: A brief mention on FNC's Fox Report that night, but not a syllable on CNN's Inside Politics or on the broadcast networks Tuesday night or Wednesday morning.


cyberno4.gif (1375 bytes) Global warming means we can't avoid Floyd, or so NBC argued in promoting the minority scientific view that man is making hurricanes bigger and more dangerous. Tuesday night, as MRC analyst Geoffrey Dickens and intern Ken Shepherd noticed, both NBC Nightly News and MSNBC's The News with Brian Williams featured a one-sided piece by Robert Bazell blaming big hurricanes on global warming. But, as sources Bazell ignored point out, hurricanes go through cycles and there's no proof of any unusual pattern.

Tom Brokaw ominously warned in introducing the story on the September 14 Nightly News:
"Hurricane Floyd is an unusually intense storm. Hurricanes of this magnitude were once incredibly rare, but not any longer. The sea change in our climate has created the potential for bigger and much more ferocious hurricanes."

Bazell began by explaining how Floyd is an unusually large hurricane, then argued:
"If you think hurricanes are more powerful and more frequent than they used to be, you are right. From 1970 through 1994, fewer than five hurricanes a year on average formed in the Atlantic. Since 1995, the average has jumped above seven. Why the increased hurricane activity? One answer is higher sea temperatures in both the Atlantic and the Caribbean. Hurricanes feed off ocean heat that gives birth to the enormous storm clouds at their center. This NASA radar satellite image shows clouds towering almost 60,000 feet above Hurricane Bonnie last year."

Bazell then turned to liberal advocate Dr. Stephen Schneider of Stanford University, who insisted: "Since heat and energy is what drives hurricanes, anything that adds more heat and energy is likely to increase the intensity of hurricanes."
Bazell backed him up: "Many scientists blame the increasing temperatures on the greenhouse effect -- the trapping of the sun's energy by carbon dioxide and other gases from things we burn. While no one can say whether Floyd or any single weather event results from global warming, the circumstantial evidence gets stronger with every intense hurricane."
Schneider: "I would, if I had to bet on the future, would bet that we'll have more intense hurricanes as a result of global warming."
Without bothering to let viewers hear another view, Bazell concluded: "A somber warning as the Southeast prepares for one of the biggest hurricanes ever."

-- Reality Check. In a Q & A format report a few months ago, the Competitive Enterprise Institute addressed this kind of media hype:
"Q. But what about hurricanes? The globe is getting warmer, and it sure seems like there have been more hurricanes lately. Isn't the connection obvious?
"A. As Dr. William Gray, Professor of Atmospheric Science at Colorado State University, and the world's foremost expert on hurricanes, points out, there is some evidence of warming over the past century, but the incidence of major hurricanes making landfall in Florida decreased up until Hurricane Andrew. According to Dr. Gray's studies, hurricane activity follows a natural 20 to 30 year cycle in ocean currents. In the 1940s and 1950s there were many land-falling hurricanes, but from 1960 to 1988 there were only two. The recent upswing in hurricane activity is just another shift in the cycle, and has nothing to do with global warming."

To read this report in full, go to:

Just last month the Greening Earth Society released a report, by Dr. Anthony Lupo of Department of Soil and Atmospheric Sciences at the University of Missouri-Columbia, titled: "Does global warming threaten US coastal regions with stronger hurricanes? The facts will blow you away!" Here's an excerpt:

A number of studies -- e.g. Landsea (1993), O'Brien et al. (1996), Bove et al. (1998), and Landsea et al. (1999) -- have examined the issue of past Atlantic Ocean Basin hurricane activity, especially those that strike the coast. Landsea et al. (1999) found that there to have been a decrease in the number of US landfalling hurricanes between 1944 and 1996, with no significant trend in hurricane intensity. Landsea (1993) found that there has been a tendency toward fewer intense hurricanes over a similar time period (1944-1991). This was reflected by a tendency toward fewer landfalling, intense hurricanes during the 1970's and 1980's when compared to the 1940s and 1950s.

It is now well known that there is a connection between the El Ni'o/La Ni'a oscillation and hurricane activity in the Atlantic Ocean Basin. For example, there is a tendency toward fewer hurricanes during El Ni'o years and more hurricanes during La Ni'a years. O'Brien et al. (1996) and Bove et al. (1998) studied this variation with respect to landfalling US hurricanes. They found that fewer hurricanes make landfall along the US coast during an El Ni'o year, and that the chance for a major hurricane is reduced as well.

Landsea (1993) demonstrates that hurricane frequency and intensity may follow even longer-term cycles than the El Ni'o-related variability. This study and others have linked long-term pressure and sea surface temperature trends and oscillations in the Atlantic Ocean Basin to hurricane frequency. As mentioned above, these factors are the basis for the statistically-based annual hurricane forecasts....

The Johnston and Lupo (1999) study also found little long-term trend in the overall frequency of hurricane occurrence over the Atlantic Ocean Basin (Figure 1), and any trend was found to be statistically insignificant. The data in Figure 1 can be downloaded directly from the Colorado State University Archive compiled by Dr. Christopher Landsea (Landsea, 1993):

Some individuals will interpret hurricane activity since 1995 as being related in some way to increased man-made greenhouse gases. There is no reasonable way such an interpretation can be made.

Anthropogenic greenhouse gas warming, even if a physically valid hypothesis, is a very slow and gradual process....And even if man induced greenhouse increases were to be interpreted as causing global mean temperature increase over the last 25 years, there is no way to relate such a small global temperature increases to more intense Atlantic Basin hurricane activity during this same period. Atlantic intense hurricane activity showed a substantial decrease during 1970-1994 to only about 40 percent of the amount of intense hurricane activity which occurred 25-50 years ago....

END Excerpt

To read the entire scintillating report, go to:


cyberno5.gif (1443 bytes) Now to what really matters. Here's a plug from Mary Hart, co-host of Paramount's syndicated Entertainment Tonight, at the top of Wednesday's show:
"Entertainment Tonight has learned how the hurricane affected the taping of Ricky Martin's TV special in Puerto Rico."

If you care, I can't help you. I didn't stay tuned to learn the answer. -- Brent Baker


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