Tuesday, May 3, 2011
Every so often, the “global warming Johnnies”, as my friend Steve likes to call them, pop up and smack you in the face. That’s what happened to me late last week, as I gazed upon the NBC Nightly Nooz with Brian Williams.
The weather authorities had warned us on Wednesday that the next few days would likely bring conditions right for tornados (or, if you’re a weathercaster, “tornadic activitiy”, or, if you’re Bob Lindmeier, “turnadoes” – just givin’ ya the biz, Bob). The Weather Channel actually did a “breaking news” segment to announce that for the first time in history (which, in this case, consisted of about two weeks) Dr. Greg Forbes (resident bad weather expert) had issued a TOR-CON TEN alert for parts of the south.
For the uninitiated, “Tor-Con” stands for Tornado Condition, with an eleven-step scale from zero to ten, a new marketing creation of the Weather Channel. Dr. Forbes was saying, in effect, that the certainty of tornadic activity in parts of the deep south was 100%. This is news of such magnitude that the Weather Channel folks had to do a special report simply about the TOR-CON TEN prediction.
Meanwhile, all the big news networks had mortgaged themselves to the hilt to send every possible operative over to London-town, to cover the big wedding. It soon became apparent that they were going to get caught with their knickers down, weather-wise. Dr. Forbes was right; all hell broke loose and a lot of people lost their lives and a lot of property got destroyed.
My wife and I watched the play-by-play of the tornadic activity on the Weather Channel that night. All the other usual cable news outlets -CNN, MSNBC, Fox, et.al.- were gaily broadcasting sneak-peeks of the Royal Wedding to come. They had a massive investment in that wedding and by God they were going to run that programming.
The next night on NBC Nightly News, Brian Williams, summoned back from London to the colonies by some senior GE exec, was turned out in jeans and a chambray shirt, standing in front of a pile of rubble in Tuscaloosa, with the aforementioned Dr. Forbes. (For those who don’t keep score, GE owns both NBC and the Weather Channel, and often the two “combine forces.”)
Williams put his foot up onto the remnants of someone’s home, stared earnestly at Dr. Forbes, who had just given a summary of the devastation, and said “What have we done to cause this?”, allowing the good doctor to launch into a spiel about global warming.
Just as Al Gore pretended his PowerPoint presentation (“An Inconvenient Truth”) was science, Brian Williams pretended that his question to Dr. Forbes was news.
(The image at the top of this post is copyrighted by hyscience.com)
Posted by Tim Morrissey at 3:37 PM