Conservative Guest Torches Media Coverage of Sharpiegate, Leaves MSNBC Host Flat-Footed

Listen to the Article!

Appearing on Sunday afternoon’s MSNBC Live, the Conservative Policy Institute’s Rachel Bovard injected sanity into the liberal media’s delusional, week-long obsession over Sharpiegate while thousands across the Carolinas and Bahamas have lost life, limb, and property. Not surprisingly, the MSNBC liberals were caught off guard.

Host Kendis Gibson first went to Bovard (who appeared against Democratic strategist Basil Smikle), who noted that “I think everyone in America would agree with” a NOAA memo about voicing political disagreements because “we don't want to hear the personal opinions of people that work at NOAA, we want to hear the facts.”

 

 

Gibson countered by defending “the National Hurricane Center there in Birmingham” (which was the National Weather Service station) chastising the President on Twitter for his claim about Alabama and Hurricane Dorian.

Unlike most of the supposedly conservative and Republican guests on CNN and MSNBC, Bovard hit back and slammed the press (click “expand”):

Yeah, that's right, and that's why NOAA issued a statement that said, hey, this is the best reporting we have, five percent to 20 percent tropical-storm-force winds like you said, they never said there was going to be a hurricane. I think it's better than everyone kind of batten down the hatches and prepare regardless, BUT I think the bigger issue is why are we still talking about this? The President is trying to end the war in Afghanistan, border crossings are down by 30 percent. We have a health care system that's a mess and yet here we go day whatever on sharpie-gate? I mean, this is why 69 percent of Americans say their faith in the media is declining because of their obsessive reporting on things like this. 

Both Gibson and Smikle seemed exasperated. The former noted that the President didn’t let the topic fall by the wayside either, but Bovard used what ended being her last chance to talk by denouncing “media companies that make money off the professional preside antagonists” because “that's what this is.”

Hours earlier, The Federalist’s Mollie Hemingway was afforded more respect and agreement on FNC’s MediaBuzz

Hemingway told host Howard Kurtz that “[i]t was unbelievable to watch this week” as so much time was wasted on the President’s Alabama fixation that was “such minor point that even if you put the worst construction on it, it does not deserve seven days of coverage, 24 hours, hundreds of stories, front-page news.”

Republican pollster Kristen Soltis-Anderson agreed that this mattered nothing concerning how the President is viewed (click “expand”):

I can't think of a single voter out there who was going to vote one way, but then because of this whole Sharpie story is going to vote another way. What it does do, however, is it reminds the President’s supporters that he is facing a media that is willing to go after every little thing he does in a way that, for past presidents, they may not have been as willing to do but for the President’s opponents, it sort of reminds them of the personality quirks and the approach that the President takes that they don't like. So, I think it’s the kind of story where it confirms what you already believed about the President and, if you’re somebody who’s in the middle, you probably tuned it out. 

A few minutes later, Hemingway took aim at the cartoonishly inept CNN for having “completely beclowned themselves” with things like the chyron from Thursday’s CNN Right Now that read “As people die, Trump defends presenting doctored map.”

“So, as people die, CNN and other media outlets are focusing on what exactly? You almost get the feeling that the media decided at the beginning of the week, they were going to make Trump's handling of the hurricane a major story and then turned out that it didn't make landfall in a way that was as devastating as they planned and so all they were left with was map and they went with that anyway,” she added.

To see the relevant transcript from September 8's MSNBC Live with Kendis Gibson, click “expand.”

MSNBC Live with Kendis Gibson
September 8, 2019
2:19 p.m. Eastern

KENDIS GIBSON: Okay, Rachel, let me start with you. How do you interpret this whole memo from NOAA to its employees? 

RACHEL BOVARD: Well, what the memo basically said was, “hey, let's rely on the advice we've been given and let's not issue our personal opinions” which I think everyone in America would agree with, we don't want to hear the personal opinions of people that work at NOAA, we want to hear the facts and if anyone was paying attention to the hurricane advisories coming out of NOAA between August 28th and September 2nd, they showed a five percent to 10 percent chance that Alabama would experience hurricane-force winds. That’s an estimate.

GIBSON: Five to ten percent chance that they would experience tropical storm force words. At no point hurricane-force winds. Let me clarify that and the reason people who are at the National Hurricane Center there in Birmingham put out to members, they were getting frantic calls from people, residents saying should we be evacuating? This is dangerous stuff. 

BOVARD: Yeah, that's right, and that's why NOAA issued a statement that said, hey, this is the best reporting we have, five percent to 20 percent tropical-storm-force winds like you said, they never said there was going to be a hurricane. I think it's better than everyone kind of batten down the hatches and prepare regardless, BUT I think the bigger issue is why are we still talking about this? The President is trying to end the war in Afghanistan, border crossings are down by 30 percent. We have a health care system that's a mess and yet here we go day whatever on sharpie-gate? I mean, this is why 69 percent of Americans say their faith in the media is declining because of their obsessive reporting on things like this. 

BASIL SMIKLE: Rachel — 

GIBSON: Rachel, he's obsessed about it. He's tweeted quite a bit about it. 

BOVARD: No, there are media companies that make money off the professional preside antagonists and that's what this is. 

GIBSON: So, we saw — we saw the — we heard about the memo that NOAA put out here. I want to show you what the national hurricane center folks told me just last week after that memo went out. [TO GRAHAM, 09/01/19] I noted three times today the president said this storm will impact Alabama and Alabama is in trouble. Did he get that information from you guys or where's the President getting this? Do you know? 

KEN GRAHAM [on 09/01/19]: You know, I think we're really trying to get everybody ready. If you think about this storm, as we try to, you know, have impacts in Florida, up to the Carolinas, you know, it's the peak of the hurricane season.

GIBSON [on 09/01/19]: Okay. 

GRAHAM [on 09/01/19]: And we've been really saying, we're getting into the peak, let's get everybody along the coast — the Gulf and across the Atlantic ready for the hurricane season. 

GIBSON [on 09/01/19]: Alright, so Alabama should be on guard as well? 

GRAHAM: We all should be watching this time of year. We're getting right into that peak. 

GIBSON: Alright, Ken Graham, thank you, from National Hurricane Center appreciate your time. [BACK LIVE] I’ll tell you, the storm wasn't the only thing that was spinning. He was a V G job, the spinning. What do we make? What's behind all of this? The president's obsession with this? 

SMIKLE: I don't know if there's the — what the obsession is with Dorian or with Alabama. I think the obsession more is just being right and being forceful about what he thinks is right and delivering that to the American people regardless of how wrong or his inability to say, you know what? I made a mistake, that should not have happened. If you think about — you talk about —

GIBSON: Do you think he’s worried about what's going to happen on Capitol Hill this week? 

SMIKLE: No, he doesn't care, but well, let me not say that. He cares only to the extent that it conflicts with his relationship with his base, not the American people writ large, but specifically his base. To sort of bring the hurricane thing into this part of the conversation, the fact that he would use a map that someone, potentially, him, drew this additional sort of grouped Alabama into the path of the hurricane and did so from the Oval Office tells us a lot. It tells us that regardless of what scientists say and this is very important, regardless of what scientists say regardless of how he may inflame concerns and fears with certain parts of the population, it's really important that people pay attention to what he wants them to pay attention to and that's what's scary, particularly when you're trying to go to an authority figure to get facts and information. 

GIBSON: And we're going to have a lot of people on Capitol Hill this week who are going to be asking for — asking a lot of questions. 

SMIKLE: Right. 

GIBSON: And a lot of investigations. So, perhaps, the President is thinking about that. Who knows. I'm going to have to leave it there. Basil, appreciate your time and Rachel, thank you, also, for being here. 

To see the relevant transcript from FNC’s MediaBuzz on September 8, click “expand.”

FNC’s MediaBuzz
September 8, 2019
11:03 p.m. Eastern

HOWARD KURTZ: Molly, what do you make of torrential amount of media coverage devoted to the President, the map, the sharpie, during this devastating hurricane? 

MOLLIE HEMINGWAY; It was unbelievable to watch this week, so much coverage devoted to Sharpiegate. They say that the President can't let things go and that's absolutely true but in the media in no position given how they handled this. Earlier projections of this storm had it hitting Florida, affecting Alabama.  Nobody denies that. Everyone was reporting that. The dispute centers about whether he was saying it later than he should have been. This is such minor point that even if you put the worst construction on it, it does not deserve seven days of coverage, 24 hours, hundreds of stories, front-page news. It’s absurd.

KURTZ: You think? You think? I have to agree that both sides have just not been able to let this go. Krstin, I've gotten hammered by both sides. Some people say you have to hold the President accountable for lying and others say you all clowns in the media are obsessing on this stupid map that I could care less about. Does all of this coverage, which has just been torrential, impact public opinion? 

KRISTEN SOLTIS-ANDERSON: Absolutely not. Very little. I can't think of a single voter out there who was going to vote one way, but then because of this whole Sharpie story is going to vote another way. What it does do, however, is it reminds the President’s supporters that he is facing a media that is willing to go after every little thing he does in a way that, for past presidents, they may not have been as willing to do but for the President’s opponents, it sort of reminds them of the personality quirks and the approach that the President takes that they don't like. So, I think it’s the kind of story where it confirms what you already believed about the President and, if you’re somebody who’s in the middle, you probably tuned it out. 

KURTZ: Like so many of these Trump controversies. You know, the President did tweet about this 6 straight days with sometimes five or six day-old maps. When I was doing a story for Special Report, I had to update it like 12 times before it aired. On Friday, the President tweeting: “This nonsense has never happened to another President. Four days of corrupt reporting, still without an apology.” So, my question to you, Clarence, is didn't the president keep story alive (with a willing cooperation from the media) by insisting on vindicating himself of what was, at worse, minor misstep. 

CLARENCE PAGE: Well, thanks for that softball, Howard. You're absolutely right. Nobody mentioned yet that this story that the President’s actions led to a dispute between the national weather service and NOAA, their — well, their agency that is in charge of the National Weather Service.. 

KURTZ: I have the details. 

PAGE: But, yeah. I mean, this story was not a seven-day story. It became one because new developments, the President himself kept coming back to it with another map, for example that really wasn't — it — it didn't show the weather conditions at the time of this, to speak. Anyway, it was something that the president couldn't let go of and what are we supposed to do as reporters, my wife says what do you cover Trump so much, he's president. He’s the most powerful office on the planet and he behaves in an unorthodox way.

KURTZ: Well, it was not — I think we all kind of — sorry, Clarence, I think we can all agree it's not a seven-day story. It should have been an seven-hour story. Let me put a CNN headline during the height of the controversy, Mollie. Take a look at it. “As people die trump defends using doctored map.” Are the media losing all sense of proportion here? 

HEMINGWAY: They’ve completely beclowned themselves and think about that chyron. It says: “As people die, Trump is doing this. So, as people die, CNN and other media outlets are focusing on what exactly? 

KURTZ: The black Sharpie line.

HEMINGWAY: You almost get the feeling that the media decided at the beginning of the week, they were going to make Trump's handling of the hurricane a major story and then turned out that it didn't make landfall in a way that was as devastating as they planned.

KURTZ: Right, right.

HEMINGWAY: And so all they were left with was map and they went with that anyway. At some point, you have to — you know, a, you shouldn't have just oppositional stance as your approach but if you — you need to have better news judgment than they showed. 

KURTZ: Kristen, as Clarence alluded to, so late in the week, the President had NOAA, oceanic and atmospheric administration, put out a statement saying he was briefed of the possibility of Alabama being affected but what contradicted whether service scientists some reported in The Washington Post today as saying they thought it was political. Post story says that one top NOAA official says back on September 1st, don't contradict President Trump on this, and The Post also reporting saying it was Trump who, you know, used the back Sharpie to mark up a NOAA map, according to an unnamed White House. So, for the press, has this story just become a complete fog, though? I mean, it’s this kind of thing where you pay attention to keep all the details straight. 

ANDERSON: Yeah, it’s — I mean, I think that, for your average voter that you're looking at what's the difference between NOAA versus the National Weather Service, I think the timeline is, in fact, the more confusing piece of this was Trump referring to a briefing where he was given accurate information but then that informational simply became outdated. There’s so many moving pieces to this and, look, it’s completely valid for people to say, “I want to know that I can trust the data from our nation’s scientific — scientific entities and I don't want politics to be influencing how the weather is reporting.” That’s completely legitimate, but  the story is so convoluted with what — when was President Trump briefed and by whom that, I think, from a public opinion perspective, it’s unlikely to change how many people view our weather services or the President himself. 

NB Daily Hurricanes Media Bias Debate Conservatives & Republicans Fox News Channel MediaBuzz CNN Other CNN Video Mollie Hemingway
Curtis Houck's picture


Sponsored Links