Hurricane Irma may not have been the most powerful storm to hit Florida, but by virtually all accounts, it brought the most widespread damage, adversely affecting the vast majority of the state. As the storm has run its course, the media coverage mentioning Governor Rick Scott has been more than fair, both during the ramp-up and aftermath. Most reporters I’ve talked with agree that Scott is at his best when it comes to emergency situations. But that didn’t stop the Washington Post from trying to score a cheap shot at Scott’s expense last week.
In the span of two months, the Washington Post has invested heavily in the narrative that climate change is going to destroy Florida – but the hopelessly slanted coverage doesn’t bother to separate the impacts of man-man climate change from natural climate change, nor from naturally occurring storms like hurricanes. To the activist reporters at the Post, there is no difference.
First, the paper published one of those “award-winning” packages – you know the kind – where they get their graphics and web design department to make slick visuals and special digital presentations to accompany a story they will likely later enter into contention for some worthless plaque they can hang at the office. They took a few swipes at Scott, then laid it on thick about how Tampa Bay would be buried under 15 feet of water if it got a direct hit from a Category Three hurricane, as though such a devastating storm and man-made climate change go hand-in-hand.
But that was before Irma was even a loose collection of rain clouds swirling in the mid-Atlantic.
After the storm had ravaged the Caribbean’s Leeward Islands and began to bear down on Florida, the Post published this gem:
For a story focused on climate change, it sure wasted no time linking to Irma. Here’s the first three paragraphs:
TAMPA — Florida Gov. Rick Scott (R) has been ubiquitous in recent days as Hurricane Irma bears down on the Sunshine State, warning of deadly winds and storm surges and imploring residents to heed evacuation orders.
“This is a catastrophic storm our state has never seen,” he cautioned at one of many news conferences.
By all accounts, Scott and other officials have aggressively tried to prepare the state and its residents for the destructive storm’s impact and immediate aftermath.
But for all of Scott’s vigor in readying Florida for Irma’s wrath, his administration has done little over the years to prepare for what scientists say are the inevitable effects of climate change that will wreak havoc in the years to come. With its far-reaching coastline and low elevation, Florida is one of the states at greatest risk from rising sea levels, extreme weather events — including more-powerful hurricanes — and other consequences of a warming planet.
If that’s not enough to prove the Post was trying to link climate change and hurricanes, here’s a quote from some one of their “experts” further down in the same story:
“Hurricane Harvey and Irma should resolve any doubt that climate change is real,” Hastings said. “These are extraordinary storms.”
Never mind that earlier this spring, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration predicted a stronger hurricane season in 2017, and didn’t bother to mention “climate change” as the cause. Instead, NOAA blamed the increased activity on the lack of el Nino:
Strong El Ninos and wind shear typically suppress development of Atlantic hurricanes, so the prediction for weak conditions points to more hurricane activity this year.
Despite this glaring evidence to the contrary, the Washington Post went out of its way to find plenty of alarmist experts who were all too happy to stab Rick Scott in the back while he was busy helping his state prepare for Irma’s impact. At least the Post acknowledged that much:
Scott’s office did not respond to a request for comment for this article, perhaps understandably, as he prepared Floridians to face the historic and deadly storm barreling toward them.
Despite this sort of petty nonsense, Scott’s popularity is rising, largely for one simple reason: he has earned a reputation as a no-nonsense leader with a laser-like focus on one thing: creating lasting economic opportunities for all Floridians.
With Scott widely expected to challenge Senator Bill Nelson for his seat next summer, Floridians can expect to see a lot more of the same from outlets like the Washington Post as Nelson’s allies attempt to chip away at Scott’s stature.