Accuracy in Media


President Donald Trump may have tweeted that Alabama was in the crosshairs of Hurricane Dorian past the time forecasters had determined the storm would not go in that direction, but the mainstream media went out of its way to attack him for it.

Even as it seemed to acknowledge Trump was right and early forecast maps did show Alabama might be in danger – the Washington Post wrote that “he falsely claimed [Alabama] was in the storm’s crosshairs long after it was in the clear” – it deemed Trump as being out of control for fighting back against a media that said he was lying, dumb or had even worse motives.

“He posted nine tweets and five maps about Alabama and the big storm. He defended a doctored hurricane map that had been altered with a black Sharpie to include the state. And he had his White House release a 225-word statement defending his erroneous warnings that Alabama was ‘going to get a piece’ of the storm,” wrote Toluse Olorunnipa and Josh Dawsey in “’What I said was accurate!’: Trump stays fixated on his Alabama error as hurricane pounds the Carolinas.”

It was the fourth straight day, they wrote, that “Trump’s White House sought to clean up the president’s mistaken warnings to Alabama from Sunday, seeking to defend Trump’s tweets by releasing statements, disseminating alternative hurricane maps and attacking the media” – ignoring that the media has attacked him relentlessly since last weekend over the map.

“Trump’s fixation on his erroneous Dorian warnings underscores a long history of defending inaccurate claims – from the crowd size at his inaugural address to false claims of voter fraud in 2016 to fictional ‘unknown Middle Easterners’ streaming across the southern border in migrant caravans,” Olorunnipa and Dawsey wrote.

Don Lemon was dramatic on CNN.

“With Hurricane Dorian hitting North Carolina, with at least 30 people dead in the Bahamas, what does the president do as Americans are looking to him for guidance on a deadly storm?” Lemon said, kicking off a nearly 9-minute diatribe against the president.

He then issued a long, audible sigh before continuing: “He continues to spread misinformation and repeatedly ignored the facts.” Then another lengthy pause. Then, “I wish I could say it was surprising. Maybe in this situation, when lives are being threatened and already lost, maybe it is surprising this time. In a five-day effort to avoid admitting … to just admitting that he made a mistake. We all make mistakes … nobody’s perfect … “

He then went on to assert the National Weather Service’s “spaghetti models” were not forecasts and that he took so much care mention Alabama was in the crosshairs of a storm because the state voted for him by overwhelming margins in 2016.

Seth Abramson, an MSNBC contributor and Newsweek columnist, had another explanation for Trump’s behavior. “Don’t sleep for a moment on the real possibility that the ongoing ‘Dorian in Alabama’ sideshow is about impeachment,” he tweeted. “Alabama Sen. Doug Jones – Democrat – is up for election in 2020. Trump wants that seat – especially as there may be an impeachment trial. So he needs Alabama to love him.”

“If – not theorizing just noting one of a range of possibilities – Trump *knows* his tax returns will reveal grave misconduct, and the Democrats will get them eventually, and that a post-impeachment conviction is a real possibility, he’ll want as many Senate allies as he can have,” Abramson wrote in another tweet.

Alas, one of the maps Trump displayed to make his point that Alabama had been in the crosshairs of the storm at one point had a circle drawn beyond the “storm cone” of the original. The circled area brought the threat across the border into Alabama.




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