After getting caught misinforming Americans about the threat of Hurricane Dorian, Donald Trump tried to cover up his falsehood with an obviously doctored map – which is a crime. But Fox News was there to help with the cover up. UPDATED.
Trump’s Dorian blunders and lies may be comical but misinforming Americans during a potential national emergency is deadly serious
In case you missed it on Sunday, Trump tweeted misinformation as a national emergency in the form of a Category 5 hurricane approached the United States.
In addition to Florida - South Carolina, North Carolina, Georgia, and Alabama, will most likely be hit (much) harder than anticipated. Looking like one of the largest hurricanes ever. Already category 5. BE CAREFUL! GOD BLESS EVERYONE!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 1, 2019
Let’s hope nobody in Alabama panicked or evacuated in the belief that a catastrophe was about to hit because the storm was never forecast to hit Alabama. The National Weather Service was forced to correct this potentially dangerous misinformation:
Instead of acknowledging his error, Trump had nothing better to do as the storm approached than to attack ABC News’ Jonathan Karl for daring to fact check him.
Trump tried to cover up his Dorian bungling with an illegally doctored map
On Wednesday, Trump doubled down by showing off an obviously doctored weather map ostensibly showing Alabama kinda sorta in the path of the storm:
As it turns out, what Trump did was worse than dishonest, it’s illegal, as The Washington Post noted. The Post also noted that Trump was correctly briefed about the forecast cone by the acting head of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration on August 29. Yet Trump told reporters that he had been told there was a “95 percent chance probability” that Alabama would be in the path of the storm.
Later on Wednesday, Trump tweeted a map dated August 28 (when we know he received an updated briefing a day later) stating, “This was the originally projected path of the Hurricane in its early stages. As you can see, almost all models predicted it to go through Florida also hitting Georgia and Alabama. I accept the Fake News apologies!"
On top of the deceit, Trump now looked even more shockingly ill-informed. AP reported, "Brian McNoldy, a hurricane researcher at the University of Miami, responded: 'He has no clue what he’s talking about, or what is plotted on that map. At the time of that cycle, Alabama was at even lower risk than before, and it was barely anything to start with.'”
Fox’s Special Report spun Trump’s lies and ignorance
Special Report, supposedly one of Fox News’ unbiased programs, spent only about a minute on Trump’s doctored map and left out all the implications. Host Bret Baier seemed to smirk with disbelief at the amateur alteration but he didn’t bother to explain the very damning backstory or why it matters.
“John, you were in the Oval Office today for that pool spray this afternoon,” Baier said to correspondent John Roberts. “The president displaying a hurricane forecast map. But there appeared to be a change made to it. What happened there?”
A lower-third banner read, “ALL ABOUT ALABAMA” and underneath, in smaller letters, “TRUMP APPEARS TO SHOW ALTERED WEATHER MAP.” But Roberts’ explanation did not come close to revealing “all about Alabama.”
ROBERTS: This was a forecast track that the president held up from last week where it looked like the hurricane was going to slam into the Florida coast, maybe even cross the peninsula and get into the Gulf of Mexico. You can see somebody with a Sharpie or some other writing instrument added a little bit to the cone of uncertainty, which was not part of the official forecast, which included the Florida panhandle and parts of Alabama. President Trump had tweeted over the weekend that Alabama appeared to be in the crosshairs.
FACT CHECK: As you can see above, Trump’s tweet not only indicated that Alabama was definitely in the path of the storm but that it would “most likely be hit (much) harder than anticipated.”
Then, after skipping over most of the unflattering-to-Trump details, Roberts helped validate the original falsehood: “You could probably extrapolate that if it had continued on that track that Alabama might have been affected but it was never part of the official forecast.”
Basically, what Roberts said was true but by leaving out most of the context and all of the significance, he trivialized an incident in which Trump botched his job at a crucial moment and then brazenly tried to cover it up with a crime.
Watch it below, from the September 4, 2019 Special Report.
Correction: This post originally said Trump's September 1 tweet occurred on Saturday.
There's more to this story which I will get to in my next post.
“I’ve got two legs from my hips to the ground
And when I move them they walk around
When I lift them they climb the stairs
And when I shave ‘em they ain’t got hairs.”
PS: I’m a Lumberjack
“Singing — A la dee dee, a one two three,
Eric The Half a Bee,
A, B, C, D, E, F, G,
Eric The Half a Bee,
Is this a wretched demi bee?
Half asleep upon my knee,
Some freak from a menagerie?
NO! It’s Eric The Half a Bee!
A fiddly dum, a fiddly dee,
Eric The Half a Bee,
Ho ho ho, tee hee hee,
Eric The Half a Bee,
I love this hive employee – ee,
One summer afternoon by me,
I love him carnally,
He loves him carnally,
Semi – carnally!
No, Semi – carnally!
People can judge for themselves the severity of the threat to Alabama from what’s clearly a small number of statistical outliers. Heck, you can find a few spaghetti strings lingering into Mississippi and Louisiana!
But what I find amusing is the tweet clearly reads to me he’s saying he sees the majority of the projections predicting Dorian will go through Florida and also through Georgia and Alabama – consistent with his 95% claim. By my eyes? Ah, clearly not so much Donald looking at your (not so) slam-dunk map showing Alabama where a tiny minority of the predictions dare to go there.
You be the judge. I’m blocked by Trump so I can’t link to his tweet but it’s contained at the bottom of this article:
Meanwhile, obsessed with his own narcissism Trump’s tweets largely ignore the devastation in the Bahamas and the threat to America. That’s the real ‘crime’.
Oh, I do love me some Python, Richard. To think they nearly called themselves ‘Gwen Dibley’!
— from the “Monty Python’s Flying Circus” sketch “Eric The Half A Bee”