Like ambulance-chasing lawyers, the heavy-handed liberal activists who populate much of the media raced to exploit Hurricane Sandy even as the storm was lashing the East Coast on Monday night, citing it as proof of “climate change” and a reason to oppose Mitt Romney.
Monday afternoon, MSNBC’s Martin Bashir started a panel discussion by claiming that “people are wondering today if the current hurricane has anything to do with global change, climate change, global warming,” and then mentioned the “right-wing nut jobs” supporting Romney.
Fellow MSNBC host Steve Kornacki summed up: “Mitt Romney’s role, if he’s President, his role in the Republican Party will be to implement the agenda of the Republican Party and the agenda of the Republican Party is very clear when it comes to climate change, it’s skepticism, it’s hostility to the idea of cap and trade, it’s pro coal, it’s things like this, so — it’s pro drilling, pro-pipeline, it’s all of that.”
Similarly, on his PBS show Monday night, host Tavis Smiley yearned for the Obama campaign to politicize the storm: “There are some real issues in this storm that the Obama campaign could raise,” he told Politico’s Jonathan Martin, citing how Romney has supposedly “made a mockery of global warming and climate change.”
And on Current-TV, left-wing hosts Cenk Uygur and Jennifer Granholm all but blamed the bad weather on greedy oil companies. Uygur added his own made-up conclusion to a Romney press statement about the storm: “And, of course, he also added, ‘My campaign will be run by the big oil companies, so if I’m President you can expect a lot more of these kinds of storms over the next four years because I don’t give a damn about climate change and the storms that they produce.’ Oh, that was not part of the official statement. Okay.”
Uygur also blasted the media for what he called a lack of "accurate" coverage: "You know that there were 94 mentions of Hurricane Sandy in the newspapers. Not one mentioned climate change...."
A couple of hours later on her show, Granholm insisted that “there’s a clear link to climate change” and Hurricane Sandy, and blamed Big Oil for the public’s failure to share her hysteria: “Is this a result, this disconnect, the result of the oil lobby successfully confusing the public? How do we convince people that it’s real and that it’s caused by people?”
On cue, Uygur and Granholm’s boss, former Vice President Al Gore, came out Tuesday afternoon with a statement matching his hosts’ hyperbole: “Hurricane Sandy is a disturbing sign of things to come. We must heed this warning and act quickly to solve the climate crisis. Dirty energy makes dirty weather.”
Here’s more of how liberal hosts pushed the political issue of climate change into the big weather story Monday, October 29, starting with the 4pm ET edition of MSNBC’s Martin Bashir:
Host MARTIN BASHIR: Steve, a lot of people are wondering today if the current hurricane has anything to do with global change, climate change, global warming, and so on. We just had [a clip of] Bill Maher there talking about right-wing nut jobs, and of course, we know that a number of these right-wing nut jobs Mr. Romney has had to pander to some extent. But isn’t this the central deceit of this election in a way: Romney gives no details about himself, his extreme supporters stay silent, but after November the 6th, if he gets in, what happens then?
MSNBC’s STEVE KORNACKI: Well, right. I think this gets to how — what is the best way to understand who Mitt Romney is and what kind of President he would be? And everybody says, you know, well, he was on this side one time on this issue, and then he was on this side, so we don’t really know. I think we do know. I think the easiest clue you can ever look to for a politician to decide how they’ll behave in office is, what is their party label. Because Mitt Romney’s role, if he’s President, his role in the Republican Party will be to implement the agenda of the Republican Party and the agenda of the Republican Party is very clear when it comes to climate change: It’s skepticism, it’s hostility to the idea of cap and trade, it’s pro coal, it’s things like this, so — it’s pro drilling, pro-pipeline, it’s all of that.
# MSNBC’s Hardball, 5pm ET:
Host CHRIS MATTHEWS (to the Weather Channel’s Jim Cantore): Jim, I see the rough seas out there. This doesn’t make any sense to me historically. I grew up in a country, in Philadelphia, where you had a certain number of snows every winter, which were normal. You had your hurricane season around August, September, and it was down South. Now it, what is this — we’re not getting involved in the big fight over global warming or climate change — what is going on? ... Where does this storm fit into history? Is it something new in terms of climate change that wouldn’t have occurred in the past 50 or 100 years? Is it new?
# Current-TV’s The Young Turks, 7:00pm ET hour
Host CENK UYGUR (after reading a genuine Romney press statement): And, of course, he also added, ‘My campaign will be run by the big oil companies, so if I’m president you can expect a lot more of these kinds of storms over the next four years because I don’t give a damn about climate change and the storms that they produce.’ Oh, that was not part of the official statement. Okay.
[Over jumpy video of police at a partial building collapse] You’re looking at images of 14th and 8th in New York where the disasters have begun, unfortunately, as the storm picks up in intensity. Now, why is it picking up in intensity? Well, we believe that — and it’s not ‘we’ as in ‘the Young Turks,’ it’s ‘we’ as in the scientists of the world — believe that if you have climate change you will get more severe storms. Here we have a giant, unprecedented storm that combines many different fronts into one, that is larger than anything that the Atlantic Coast has seen....
This is what happens if you ignore 98% of the scientists in the world. We get incredible storms like this. It is not a coincidence. The droughts earlier in the year were not a coincidence. The record number of temperatures we broke were not a coincidence. One weather event doesn’t mean anything. A combination of all these weather events is a clear sign that we’re in the middle of climate change.
# 8:00pm ET hour:
CENK UYGUR: Obviously the storm is very, very serious, and it should be unsurprising to anyone who has been paying attention to climate change. Unfortunately, not a lot of our media has — when it has literally, in this case, hit them in the face....This is what we live for, excerpt — do we cover it accurately? No. You know that there were 94 mentions of Hurricane Sandy in the newspapers. Not one mentioned climate change....
[Talking about President Obama’s policies supposedly helping oil companies] Look at how much the oil companies spend. They put in $167,000 spent every single day lobbying Congress. And, by the way, not only do they get deregulation and pollution and climate change, but every dollar spent on lobbying is also the equivalent of $30 worth of tax breaks that they unjustly get from the American people.
And finally, after all of this trying to appease the energy companies, where did the money go? It went largely to Romney any way. Was it worth it, President Obama, for $720,000? Well, that’s what he got in this election cycle, but Romney got over $4.7 million from the oil companies. So, the Republicans win anyway, and we all lose because we’re right now in the middle of climate change, and we don’t have any politicians or almost any media who give a damn or plan to do anything about it. That’s unfortunately the cold, hard reality.
# Current-TV’s The War Room, 10pm ET:
Host JENNIFER GRANHOLM: Today, Atlantic City shattered a daily rainfall record — a daily rainfall record — with 4.5 inches of rain so far. The last record was just 2 inches in 1908. The water in lower Manhattan reached 11.25 feet, surpassing an all-time record set in 1821. And the New York Stock Exchange will close for two consecutive days for weather, it’s the first time ever, since — well, not ever — since 1888. There’s a clear link to climate change....
There was a Pew survey out this month that found that two-thirds of Americans believe that global temperatures are rising, but less than half — only 42% — think that that rise in temperatures is caused by human activity. Now, of course, 97% of scientists believe that it is anthropomorphic, or man-made. Is this a result, this disconnect, the result of the oil lobby successfully confusing the public? How do we convince people that it’s real and that it’s caused by people?
# PBS’s Tavis Smiley, 12:00am, ET:
TAVIS SMILEY (talking to Politico’s Jonathan Martin): We talked earlier, Jonathan, about this notion of being careful, how you walk this tightrope when you have a storm that is vexing, again, so much of the country, but there are some real issues in this storm that the Obama campaign could raise. I suspect they’re probably smart enough not to raise it — and maybe they’ll allow surrogates, somebody else to raise it, and even then they might not do it. But when a candidate says, you know, let’s get rid of FEMA and send the money back to the states, now, theoretically, is a good time to have that conversation. When a candidate has said — you know, made a mockery of global warming and climate change, here again, another issue that could be placed on the docket. Now, I admit, I don’t know how you would do that as the Obama campaign without being seen as playing politics with the storm, but are these not real issues?
Politico’s JONATHAN MARTIN: They are fair game. The question politically is how you do you gingerly go about raising them, or do you raise them at all? It’s going to be tempting for a lot of Democrats to go there....
-- Rich Noyes is Research Director at the Media Research Center. Click here to follow him on Twitter.