As Hurricane Michael smashed into the Florida panhandle, both MSNBC and CNN on Thursday were worried about the really important issue: How to educate the “bizarre” and ignorant Americans who don’t fully adopt the left’s prescriptions for solving global warming. MSNBC journalist Craig Melvin talked to fellow liberal Nicholas Kristof and lectured, “Most sane-thinking people would acknowledge that the intensity of the storms... due in no small part to climate change.”
Melvin insisted this issue isn’t a partisan one, wondering, “What happened? When did climate change become partisan?” How did it become partisan? Perhaps because, according to the Daily Caller, the new United Nations report on global warming suggests the equivalent of a $240 per gallon tax on gas. For conservatives who opposes higher taxes, that seems a tad partisan.
Melvin continued his attack on fellow Americans: “It really is bizarre that you still have significant swaths of the population who don't believe that climate change is man-made, at least partially man made.” Of course, one can believe climate change has a man-made component and still disagree with the wild policy prescriptions of liberals.
New York Times journalist Kristof whined about the “burden” placed on journalists in dealing with ignorant Americans:
I think that creates a burden on us in journalism to cover not only the extreme weather but also broader underlying issues. And not just show rescuers in boats, but also address issues of climate change that create the need for rescuers on boats.
Over on CNN.com, reporter John D. Sutter demanded that we stop referring to hurricanes as “natural disasters.” The journalist, whose bio states he “focuses primarily on climate change, social justice issues,” complained:
Yet we continue to use that term.
Doing so -- especially in the era of climate change -- is misleading if not dangerous, according to several disaster experts and climate scientists I reached by phone and on Twitter.
OK, so if you concede that these disasters and their fallout are no longer truly "natural" (and never really were), then what's the best term to use instead?
John Upton, a writer at Climate Central, suggested dropping the term "natural" in favor of just "disaster."
A partial transcript is below. Click “expand” to read more.
CRAIG MELVIN: Let's talk about the news of the day here, of course, folks down in the southeast continue to recover from this epic storm. And while the death toll is at two right now, there are expectations that it will climb. Hundreds of thousands without power. Most sane-thinking people would acknowledge that the intensity of the storms, not so much the frequency, but maybe some of that as well, but certainly the intensity of the storms due in no small part to climate change, man made climate change. Your article, as most of them are in The Times, fantastic look at what's happening in Florida, the hoax as you call it. There was a time in this country not long ago, Nicholas Kristof, where addressing climate change was a bipartisan exercise. John McCain ran on it in 2008.
NICHOLAS KRISTOF: That’s right.
MELVIN: What happened? When did climate change become partisan?
KRISTOF: You know, it was shortly after the McCain run, and I think a couple of things happened. One is that on the Al Gore became very much associated with climate change, and so this became a Democratic issue. And meanwhile, the Koch brothers invested huge amounts of money to support the oil industry, the coal industry, the traditional carbon emitting things. And so within the Republican side, it became a dirty word to talk about climate change as though this tribalism infected our policy on what had been something of a bipartisan issue. And so you look at polling, and there wasn't that much -- there was some difference but only a modest difference in the early 2000s. Now there's a huge gap.
MELVIN: It really is fascinating. It really is bizarre that you still have significant swaths of the population who don't believe that climate change is man made, at least partially man made.
KRISTOF: Yeah. I think that creates a burden on us in journalism to cover not only the extreme weather but also broader underlying issues. And not just show rescuers in boats, but also address issues of climate change that create the need for rescuers on boats.