Fox News reported on the "very unusual problem" of diminishing sand at Florida beaches, terming it an "environmental ... crisis of the future." However, the network did not mention that phenomenon's connection to sea level rise, a major consequence of climate change.
On Tuesday's edition of Happening Now, correspondent Phil Keating checked in from Miami Beach to relate that some beaches in Florida are "running out of sand." This, he said, threatens the region's booming tourism industry and indirectly weakens an important buffer against hurricane damage as municipalities are forced to take sand from offshore to replace what has been lost. The segment went on to explain that Broward County, which contains Fort Lauderdale, has considered grinding up glass as a substitute:
To its credit, Fox News explained that erosion is to blame for this sand shortage (rather than, say, aliens). Unfortunately, the network did not mention any of the underlying trends driving such changes, prominent among which is rising sea levels along with coastal development and high foot traffic. As Climate Central reported in 2012, climate change could make matters much worse:
And then there's the growing danger of sea level rise, caused by climate change. "Even 25 years ago, sea level was rising," [U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) scientist Asbury] Sallenger said in a recent interview, "but not a heck of a lot." But that's changing as the planet's temperature keeps going up, sea water keeps expanding and ice is flowing faster to the ocean, especially in Greenland and Antarctica. "If sea level rises another foot," said Duke University beach expert Orrin Pilkey in an interview, "the shoreline in northeastern North Carolina could be pushed back 5 or 6 miles. And all of the projections I've seen suggest it will be more like 3 feet by 2100."
Fox News reported on allegations of voter suppression in Florida against victims identified as mostly Republicans, but largely ignored similar stories of voter suppression in other areas of the country. Fox has historically downplayed the significance of voter suppression, especially voter identification laws that experts find will disenfranchise thousands if enacted.
On Fox's America's Newsroom, reporter Phil Keating reported on an investigation into an alleged effort to suppress GOP voters in Florida. Voters were reportedly sent letters claiming their citizenship was in question and would need to be validated before they could vote. The letter also noted that they risked a felony voter fraud charge if they voted without validating their citizenship. Keating added that the victims were mostly registered Republicans:
Fox News' concern over allegations of voter suppression stands in contrast to the network's handling of similar stories of possible voter suppression that did not disproportionately affect Republican voters.
The Florida story is one of many cases of voter suppression across the country, yet according to a search of closed caption and Nexis transcripts, it is the only one being covered extensively by Fox.
From the January 16 edition of Fox News' America's News HQ:
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