Biased media reporting has gone from annoying to dangerous

It’s like some people just want to watch the world burn. And by watch, I mean set it on fire themselves and then sit back and smugly gaze at their destruction.

The latest sad example of this is the controversy over Hurricane Dorian’s track. Dorian was a particularly nasty storm. It was big, had strong winds, and was driving into a variety of high and low pressure regions that altered its path, in some cases by hundreds of miles. So when President Trump tweets out that the hurricane is bearing down on Alabama, he’s attempting to ensure that every state is prepared.

He’s not wrong for being concerned. Here’s NOAA’s prediction at 5 pm from 29 August:

“The guidance envelope has nudged southward this cycle, with the ECMWF and HMON along the southern side, and the GFS bracketing the northern side. There has also been an increase in
along-track spread or speed differences with day 5 positions among the dynamical models ranging from near the northwestern Bahamas to the northeastern Gulf of Mexico. This appears to be the result of differences in the models’ depiction of the strength or lack thereof of the western portion of the ridge by day 5.”

Read the rest of historical data here: https://www.nhc.noaa.gov/archive/2019/DORIAN.shtml?

You’ll find lots of times the models “diverge” a lot. Would you want to be caught flat-footed if the storm diverges?

If Trump used old data and put out bad gouge to the state of Alabama, then ask yourself: does it matter? Was it a bad thing to be prepared for the worst? Is it worth tearing him down over? And if he hadn’t done it and the hurricane had turned that way, would he be criticized for not preparing?

The last part that gets me is this sort of non-controversy spreads around the world. News sources in Norway are jumping on this and calling it a fake weather forecast:

“In VG’s editorial, Per Olav Ødegård stated that “good economic times are Donald Trump’s best card in the election campaign. But the economy can also be his Achilles heel”. Ødegård commented that Donald Trump depends on good economic growth in the United States for his re-election campaign. Kenneth Lund and Terje Erikstad shared the same opinion in two pieces in Dagens Næringsliv published on the same day. Erikstad further speculated that “when Donald Trump is willing to fake a weather forecast, will he also fake economic statistics?”

Yup, this model looks fake:

Hurricane Dorian Spaghetti Models

As does this one:

https://s.abcnews.com/images/US/FloridaSpaghetti_hpEmbed_16x9_992.jpg

President Trump does plenty of controversial things, but let’s stop pretending that being concerned for the welfare of a state in the path of a hurricane is somehow contentious.

This post represents the views of the author and not those of the Department of Defense, Department of the Navy, or any other government agency.