Natural Disasters

Tags ››› Natural Disasters
  • Univision Scolds Conservative Media For Their Conspiracy Theories About Climate Change

    Blog ››› ››› MEDIA MATTERS STAFF

    Conservative media’s conspiracy theory that liberals “exaggerated” the threat of Hurricane Matthew for political purposes was a “ridiculous” speculation at “the limits of irresponsibility,” reported Univision.com.

    The October 6 Univision.com article called out conservative commentators Matt Drudge and Rush Limbaugh for pushing the false claim that “the American left exaggerated the threat that the hurricane represents in order to convince people that climate change exists.” The Category 4 hurricane has already killed hundreds of Haitians and one Florida resident. The Univision.com article noted that “conspiracy theories about climate change -- an indisputable phenomenon according to the scientific world -- are commonplace in the United States, including in political spheres,” recalling a tweet by Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump where he wrote that “the concept of global warming was created by and for the Chinese in order to make U.S. manufacturing non-competitive.” Univision.com called the claims “ridiculous” and explained that “there is no evidence that [Trump’s] claim is true.”

    In the past, conservative media have misleadingly attempted to rally Latinos and other minorities around their anti-environment agenda, despite the fact that climate change disproportionately affects people of color. In fact, Latino Americans are very concerned about climate change, and are more likely than whites to agree that global warming is caused by human activities.

    Translated from the October 6 article:

    Its destructive path through the Caribbean -- with almost 300 dead in Haiti --, doesn’t matter, nor the prediction of scientists, nor the desperate call from the Florida governor, a Republican, for citizens to safeguard their lives.

    In the eyes of some conservative commentators, the invisible hand of liberals operated behind the powerful Hurricane Matthew, a climate phenomenon that triggered a massive evacuation on the east coast of Florida as had not been experienced in over a decade.

    Matt Drudge, a famous conservative and sensationalist commentator, insinuated that the American left exaggerated the threat that the hurricane represents in order to convince people that climate change exists.

    [...]

    The conspiracy theories about climate change -- an indisputable phenomenon according to the scientific world -- are commonplace in the United States, including in political spheres.

    There are Republicans who deny that it is real. [Presidential] candidate Donald Trump is one of them: in 2012 he wrote on Twitter that “the concept of global warming was created by and for the Chinese in order to make U.S. manufacturing non-competitive.”

    [...]

    Matt Drudge’s commentary was ridiculed by various media outlets who branded him as being “irresponsible.” Furthermore, there is no evidence that his claim is true.

    [...]

    Another ultra-conservative commentator who took on the responsibility of feeding the conspiracy theories about Hurricane Matthew was Rush Limbaugh.

    On his radio program, he said this week that “it’s in the interest of the left to have destructive hurricanes because then they can blame it on climate change, which they can continue desperately continue trying to sell.”

    As ridiculous as the claims may be, they should not be taken lightly. Commentators like Limbaugh and Drudge have the ears of millions of followers who can come to downplay the importance and the seriousness that the Hurricane represents.

    And not taking seriously a climate phenomenon can be a matter of life and death for millions of people who decide to believe the conspiratorial fantasies and not pay attention to the recommendations of authorities.

  • ABC, CBS report Bush's defense of Katrina response without noting congressional criticism

    ››› ››› MATTHEW BIEDLINGMAIER & JOCELYN FONG

    ABC World News and CBS Evening News aired comments by President Bush at his January 12 press conference in defense of his administration's handling of Hurricane Katrina, during which he asserted in part: "[C]ould I have done something differently, like land Air Force One either in New Orleans or Baton Rouge?" However, neither network's report noted the bipartisan congressional criticism of the Bush administration's response to Katrina.

  • Cavuto failed to challenge false claim that "we didn't have any spillage whatsoever ... during Katrina"

    ››› ››› JEREMY HOLDEN

    On Your World, Neil Cavuto did not challenge Rep. Michelle Bachmann's false claim that "[w]e didn't have any spillage whatsoever from the oil rigs during Katrina." In fact, a report prepared for the federal government by an international consulting firm identified damage from Hurricane Katrina to 27 platforms and rigs that resulted in the spilling of approximately 2,843 barrels of petroleum products into the Gulf of Mexico.

  • AP noted criticism of Nagin and Brown for failed Katrina response, but not Chertoff

    ››› ››› TOM ALLISON

    Despite noting that New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin was "widely criticized in 2005 for not evacuating his city before [Hurricane] Katrina" and that former FEMA director Michael Brown "was forced to resign shortly after the storm as the extent of the agency's failings became clear," an AP article that quoted DHS Secretary Michael Chertoff describing government efforts to prepare for Hurricane Gustav did not note that two congressional reports on the federal response to Hurricane Katrina specifically faulted Chertoff.

  • CNN's Velshi falsely claimed "no oil shed into the Gulf of Mexico" because of Hurricane Katrina

    ››› ››› JEREMY HOLDEN

    On CNN Newsroom, Ali Velshi falsely claimed, "In 2005, Hurricane Katrina destroyed more than 40 of these [offshore drilling] platforms, but still no oil shed into the Gulf of Mexico because of that." In fact, a 2007 report prepared for the federal government by an international consulting firm identified damage from Katrina to 27 platforms and rigs that resulted in the spilling of approximately 2,843 barrels of petroleum products into the Gulf of Mexico.

  • Fox News' Jarrett failed to challenge Energy Secretary's false claim that no "oil or gas [was] spilled" during Katrina, Rita

    ››› ››› JEREMY HOLDEN

    Fox news host Gregg Jarrett did not challenge the false assertion by U.S. Secretary of Energy Samuel Bodman that "[w]hen we had Katrina and Rita, the two worst hurricanes in at least in recent memory, in '05, some three years ago, there was not one case where we had a -- a situation with oil or gas being spilled in the environment." In fact, according to a 2007 report prepared for the U.S. Minerals Management Service, Hurricanes Katrina and Rita resulted in 124 spills from outer continental shelf structures with a total volume of more than 17,000 barrels of petroleum.

  • NBC's Mitchell again failed to challenge false assertion that Katrina didn't result in oil spills

    ››› ››› DIANNA PARKER

    On MSNBC Live, Andrea Mitchell again failed to challenge the false assertion that Hurricane Katrina did not result in any oil spills, despite a report prepared for the U.S. Minerals Management Service that found 5,552 barrels of oil and petroleum products were spilled from Outer Continental Shelf structures as a result of damage caused by Katrina.

  • O'Reilly claimed "when Katrina hit, none of the oil rigs spilled in Louisiana," but didn't note that 5,552 barrels spilled into Gulf

    ››› ››› LILY YAN

    On his radio program, Bill O'Reilly stated, "Remember when Katrina hit, none of the oil rigs spilled in Louisiana." However, O'Reilly did not note that according to a report prepared for the federal government by an international consulting firm, Hurricane Katrina resulted in 70 spills from outer continental shelf structures with a total volume of approximately 5,552 barrels of oil and petroleum products, including 27 spills from platforms and rigs that resulted in the spilling of approximately 2,843 barrels of petroleum.

  • Fox News contributor Mike Huckabee falsely claimed "not one drop of oil was spilled" during Hurricane Katrina

    ››› ››› JEREMY HOLDEN

    On Fox & Friends, Mike Huckabee falsely asserted, "When Katrina, a Cat-5 hurricane, hit the Gulf Coast, not one drop of oil was spilled off of those rigs out in the Gulf of Mexico." In fact, according to a report prepared for the federal government by an international consulting firm, damages related to Hurricane Katrina resulted in 70 spills from outer continental shelf structures with a total volume of approximately 5,552* barrels of oil and petroleum products.

  • Mitchell did not challenge Burr's false assertion that "there wasn't a drop" of oil "that was spilled in the Gulf" due to Category 5 hurricanes

    ››› ››› MATT GERTZ

    On MSNBC Live, responding to a comment by Andrea Mitchell about "the massive 1969 oil spill" in Santa Barbara, California, Sen. Richard Burr stated: "Well, Andrea, how technology has changed since 1969. It can take a Category 5 hurricane in the Gulf that really came twice, and the technology made sure that there wasn't a drop that was spilled in the Gulf." In fact, a report prepared for the U.S. Minerals Management Service stated that as a result of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita "124 [oil] spills were reported with a total volume of roughly 17,700 barrels of total petroleum products."

  • Today, Early Show covered Wright interview, but didn't ask McCain about Hagee

    ››› ››› BRIAN LEVY

    NBC's Today and CBS' The Early Show both aired interviews with Sen. John McCain while the candidate was in New Orleans, but in neither case asked McCain about controversial comments that one of his endorsers, Pastor John Hagee, recently made about Hurricane Katrina, though both programs discussed controversial comments made by Rev. Jeremiah Wright.

  • CNN's Henry uncritically reported Republicans' use of wildfire response to shift Katrina blame away from feds

    ››› ››› RAPHAEL SCHWEBER-KOREN

    CNN's Ed Henry uncritically reported that "local Republicans hammered the point that, unlike in Louisiana, California officials only relied on the feds for the secondary help," quoting Republican Rep. Brian Bilbray as saying, "I think that's how the system's actually designed, and it's worked great." But the House Select Bipartisan Committee to Investigate the Preparation for and Response to Hurricane Katrina found that Katrina was not a "normal" disaster, but a "catastrophic" one; thus, federal officials should have "clearly and forcefully instruct[ed] everyone involved with the federal response to be proactive, anticipate future requirements, develop plans to fulfill them, and execute those plans without waiting for formal requests from overwhelmed state and local response officials."

  • Sammon and Kondracke blamed state and local governments for Katrina response in Louisiana

    ››› ››› RAPHAEL SCHWEBER-KOREN

    During the "All-Star Panel" segment on Special Report, the Washington Examiner's Bill Sammon and Roll Call's Mort Kondracke blamed the Louisiana state and local governments for their handling of Hurricane Katrina while excusing or ignoring the failures of the federal government. Sammon concluded that "to the extent that anybody failed [during Katrina], I think it was state and local, and in this case [the California wildfires], the state and locals have stepped up." However, two congressional reports -- while not excusing the state and local governments -- extensively detailed the federal government's failures in its preparation for and response to Katrina.