Losers of the week: The Weather Channel and their pro-global warming agenda

Losers of the WeekI’ve been meaning to blog about this recently but with the busy nature of the holiday season it slipped off my radar. Thanks to ST reader, JW, though, it’s back on my radar again. JW emailed this link to an opinion piece written by Move America Forward chairman Melanie Morgan in which she discusses the snow-job (pun intended) The Weather Channel is trying to pull on the American people regarding the issue of global warming. Morgan writes:

What had been nice about The Weather Channel is that through most of its history it stayed clear of political propaganda and focused on delivering weather forecasts to the nation, supplemented with riveting live reports from the front lines of hurricanes, winter blizzards and springtime floods.

But no more. The Weather Channel is now engaged in a con job on the American people, attempting to scare the public that their actions are destroying the planet by creating a global warming crisis.

The move away from scientific forecasting of the weather to sensationalized leftist political advocacy is in part due to the influence of Wonya Lucas, executive vice president and general manager of The Weather Channel Networks.

Lucas admitted in a recent interview with Media Village that the reprogramming of The Weather Channel was influenced by her tenure at CNN when that network shifted from presenting straight news to personality-driven programming.

Lucas decided that what was good for CNN was good for The Weather Channel, and the objectivity and respectability of the network has now been thrown out the window. It doesn’t matter that CNN’s turn to the left has caused their ratings to plummet; The Weather Channel’s embraced its model.

Media Village reported that the move by The Weather Channel “is intended to establish a broader perspective on the weather category and, says Lucas, to move the brand from functional to emotional.”

Emotional weather forecasting?

The Weather Channel is launching a new website and broadband channel dedicated solely to global warming called “One Degree” and has a weekly program called “The Climate Code,” devoted almost entirely to liberal advocacy on climate matters.

The network is running advertisements showcasing scared and confused Americans, including children and senior citizens, wondering about the coming apocalypse caused by global warming. (You can view the ad for yourself here.)

The chief martyr for the new “emotional” approach to broadcasting at The Weather Channel is Dr. Heidi Cullen, who serves as the network’s cheerleader for global warming hysteria. Cullen’s supposed expertise on climatology includes, among other things, earning a bachelor’s degree in Near Eastern religions and history from Juniata College. One must indeed have to believe in the mystical to accept anything Ms. Cullen has to say about climatology.

Writing for the One Degree blog, Ms. Cullen recently threw a hissy fit that some meteorologists are openly questioning the conclusions drawn by the Greenpeace crowd about the nature, extent, causes and even existence of global warming.

Cullen’s diatribe, titled “Junk Controversy Not Junk Science,” called on the American Meteorological Society to start requiring all meteorologists to tow the line on liberal interpretation of global warming, or else lose the organization’s certification.

Yep. Here’s what Cullen wrote on December 21, 2006 (emphasis added):

I’d like to take that suggestion a step further. If a meteorologist has an AMS Seal of Approval, which is used to confer legitimacy to TV meteorologists, then meteorologists have a responsibility to truly educate themselves on the science of global warming. (One good resource if you don’t have a lot of time is the Pew Center’s Climate Change 101.)

Meteorologists are among the few people trained in the sciences who are permitted regular access to our living rooms. And in that sense, they owe it to their audience to distinguish between solid, peer-reviewed science and junk political controversy. If a meteorologist can’t speak to the fundamental science of climate change, then maybe the AMS shouldn’t give them a Seal of Approval. Clearly, the AMS doesn’t agree that global warming can be blamed on cyclical weather patterns. It’s like allowing a meteorologist to go on-air and say that hurricanes rotate clockwise and tsunamis are caused by the weather. It’s not a political statement…it’s just an incorrect statement.

In other words: if you’re a meteorologist and you don’t swallow the liberal line on global warming, the AMS shouldn’t give you their seal of approval, effectively ruining (or at the very least making extremely difficult) your chances of having a successful career in meteorology.

How long before Dr. Cullen and the rest of the “progressives” at the Weather Channel start agreeing with and promoting the idea of Nuremburg-style trials for any “bastards” who don’t believe in global warming, a view expressed last year by Grist [Environmental] Magazine writer David Roberts last September? (Cullen, incidentally, was interviewed by Grist Magazine back in September 2005 shortly after Hurricane Katrina). I wonder when this requirement will be added to the how to become a metoerologist section on TWC’s classroom site for students? “You must believe in global warming.”

Not only is it frightening that Cullen (and possibly others at TWC) want to muzzle opposing opinions by threatening the careers of any meteorologist who doesn’t buy into the global warming hysteria, but equally as frightening is how TWC promotes Cullen’s show as if global warming has definitively been proven via a consensus of scientists when we know there is not a consensus and in fact the debate is raging on in the scientific community as to the merits or lack thereof of so-called “global warming.” In its quest to provide more “emotion-based” weather forecasting, TWC is committing a disservice to their viewers by pushing the idea of global warming as an Accepted Truth rather than informing them via presenting the other side of the argument on this highly and hotly debated controversial subject.

As Morgan wrote, TWC has gone from refreshingly staying out of the political arena in its near 25-year existence to jumping in head first and presenting very one-sided picture on possible explanations for weather patterns and trends, and it’s very damaging to their credibility. I’ve seen ads for Cullen’s show run several times and the first time I saw one of the ads my mouth dropped open in shock because I couldn’t believe that TWC was presenting global warming as if it weren’t even debatable, that global warming was an established fact, and that ‘you as a citizen of planet Earth must do your part to stop it from getting worse.’

I don’t have a problem with doing my part to help ‘conserve’ the Earth’s resources, but I DO have a problem with the attempts to scare and threaten skeptics on a belief which hasn’t been proven. TWC should be ashamed of themselves for perpetuating the idea that global warming does in fact exist, when in fact no such thing has been proven (or at least agreed on) by a consensus of scientists anywhere. If TWC wants to get involved in discussing global warming, then they need to discuss it, and include divergent viewpoints – not push it and threaten skeptics.

Contact Kathy Lane, VP of public relations for TWC to express your concerns with how TWC is presenting the issue of global warming:

klane@weather.com

Prior/Related:

Airstrikes from US helicopter gunship on AQ in Somalia

Via CBS/AP:

(CBS/AP) A U.S. Air Force gunship has conducted a strike against suspected members of al Qaeda in Somalia, CBS News national security correspondent David Martin reports exclusively.

The targets included the senior al Qaeda leader in East Africa and an al Qaeda operative wanted for his involvement in the 1998 bombings of two American embassies in Africa, Martin reports. Those terror attacks killed more than 200 people.

The AC-130 gunship is capable of firing thousands of rounds per second, and sources say a lot of bodies were seen on the ground after the strike, but there is as yet, no confirmation of the identities.

The gunship flew from its base in Dijibouti down to the southern tip of Somalia, Martin reports, where the al Qaeda operatives had fled after being chased out of the capital of Mogadishu by Ethiopian troops backed by the United States.

Once they started moving, the al Qaeda operatives became easier to track, and the U.S. military started preparing for an air strike, using unmanned aerial drones to keep them under surveillance and moving the aircraft carrier Eisenhower out of the Persian Gulf toward Somalia. But when the order was given, the mission was assigned to the AC-130 gunship operated by the U.S. Special Operations command.

If the attack got the operatives it was aimed at, reports Martin, it would deal a major blow to al Qaeda in East Africa.

Get ‘em boys! In other Somalia news:

Meanwhile, a jungle hideout used by Islamic militants that is believed to be an al Qaeda base was on the verge of falling to Ethiopian and Somali troops, the defense minister said Monday.

While a lawmaker had earlier told The Associated Press that the base was captured, Somalia’s Defense Minister Col. Barre “Hirale” Aden Shire said troops had yet to enter it and that limited skirmishes were still ongoing, though troops were poised to take the base.

Ethiopian soldiers, tanks and warplanes were involved in the two-day attack, a government military commander told the AP on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the media.

Hat tip: Mary Katharine Ham, guest blogging at Michelle Malkin’s.

Today’s Port of Miami package scare: A false alarm

Earlier today, news outlets were buzzing about a package at the Port of Miami that had tested postive six times for C4, a military-grade explosive. The AP is reporting this afternoon that although the package was destroyed, it was later determined to have contained spinkler parts.

In related news, authorities are saying the natural gas odor permeating New York City and some parts of New Jersey doesn’t appear to be harmful and doesn’t look terror-related.

NYT admits that poor people typically don’t get much tax money back because they don’t pay much in taxes to begin with

You have to dig for it, but it’s there, in the midst of their class warfare piece about the rich and taxes:

The top 1 percent of income earners paid about 36.7 percent of federal income taxes and 25.3 percent of all federal taxes in 2004. The top 20 percent of income earners paid 67.1 percent of all federal taxes, up from 66.1 percent in 2000, according to the budget office.

By contrast, families in the bottom 40 percent of income earners, those with incomes below $36,300, typically paid no federal income tax and received money back from the government. That so-called negative income tax stemmed mainly from the earned-income tax credit, a program that benefits low-income parents who are employed.

Put another way: rich families were the undisputed winners from President Bush’s tax cuts, but people in the bottom half of the earnings scale were not paying much in taxes anyway.

I’m stunned – but pleased – to finally see the admission.

(Hat tip: Rob Port)

Speaking of taxes, McQ at QandO points out that Speaker Pelosi is trotting out the “it’s for the children” excuse on the possibility of the Dems raising taxes now that they are in control. Via CBS/AP (emphasis added):

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Democrats are not ruling out raising taxes for the wealthiest people to help pay for tax cuts for middle-income families.

Asked in a CBS News interview if Americans making over half-a-million dollars a year may see their taxes go up, Pelosi said: “They may. But as I say, that’s not where we’ll begin. It’s an option, it’s not a first resort.

[…]

“As we review what we get from … collecting our taxes and reducing waste, fraud and abuse, investing in education and in initiatives which will bring money into the Treasury, it may be that (repealing) tax cuts for those making over a certain amount of money, $500,000 a year, might be more important to the American people than ignoring the educational and health needs of America’s children,” Pelosi, D-Calif., told Bob Schieffer in an interview on Face The Nation aired Sunday.

Here’s an idea, Speaker Pelosi: Rather than raise taxes, why not just cut spending, like on something other than the Iraq war? How about helping “the children” by not cutting off the funds for the men and women who help protect them?

Perhaps that just makes too much sense for our new ‘leaders’ in Washington, DC.

The left and war

J.R. Dunn has a fascinating piece in today’s American Thinker which encapsulates the last 50 years of the left’s slide into the party of anti-war/anti-aggressive foreign policy believers, and he explains how he believes it got started:

But after what in retrospect appears to be a pitifully short period, they were back, and in force, and they have never retreated since. Contrary to consensus belief, it didn’t begin with Iraq. It began with Afghanistan, starting only a month after the attacks, and built up from there. Moore, the Dixie Chicks, Cindy Sheehan, Cynthia McKinney, Durbin, Murtha… The list could go on for page after page, all of them speaking in identical terms, all repeating the same code words – Halliburton, blood for oil, Abu Ghraib – all tearing into their country in a fashion unseen even in the Vietnam era.

And where the trendsetters have led, the public has followed. If the polls can be trusted (a bit of a leap, it’s true) something like over half the American people believe that the War on Terror, far from being a response to an unprovoked and atrocious attack, is a war of aggression fought on behalf on industrial capitalism in the form of George W’s oil buddies.

This is not a natural response. Countries fighting legitimate defensive wars don’t suffer this kind of erosion of public support in the midst of hostilities. Particularly as involves a war that began with an atrocity committed against fellow countrymen, an atrocity that could be (and eventually will be) repeated at any time. Such a reaction should not have occurred.

The reason it happened this time was the result of fifty years of conditioning that any and all American activities overseas, whether diplomatic, commercial, or military, are fundamentally illegitimate. American wars, no matter what their cause or nature, are viewed through the same prism, one created on the left for the purpose of undermining the country’s commitment to the Cold War, but useful in any context. Call it the “Imperial” or “Hegemonist” doctrine. Simply put, it holds that no American war (and little in the way of any interaction on the international level) is ever justified. All such ventures are wars of imperialist aggression, commonly carried out against helpless innocents in defiance of the wishes of the American people (at least the true American people – that is, left-wing Democrats), on behalf of secretive, sinister interest groups.

Unlike most left-wing doctrines, this one is not a European import but fully home-grown. It was incubated in the universities, developing over several decades in response to U.S. efforts against the Soviet Union. Like any such doctrine it was the product of many hands over a considerable period. But for our purposes, two of the major figures, C. Wright Mills and William Appleman Williams, will serve as examples.

Williams was a revisionist historian based for many years at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, one of the nation’s premier radical campuses. His field was American diplomatic history. In works such as The Tragedy of American Diplomacy (1958) and Roots of the Modern American Empire (1969) Williams depicted the U.S. as an imperial state basing its policies on relentless economic expansion and distracting the masses with a series of overseas military adventures. The Cold War, according to this view, was instigated by the U.S. to protect its markets, with the Soviets as much victims as perpetrators. It comes as no surprise to discover that Williams is Gore Vidal’s favorite historian. (Ironically, Williams was eventually driven from Madison by the activities of the very New Leftists he’d done so much to influence.)

C. Wright Mills was a sociologist specializing in the study of elites. His major thesis was presented in a book titled The Power Elite (1956), in which he contended that the U.S. was run by a political, military, and corporate ruling class that shared the same concepts and goals and had converted the U.S. to a “permanent war economy”. The mass of citizens, as described in an earlier work, White Collar (1951), were effectively mindless androids bullied and channeled by the bureaucracy. Mills later turned to the international arena in the book Listen, Yankee: The Revolution in Cuba (1960), one of the earliest works written in support of Castro.

Though by no means bestsellers, Williams’ and Mills’ books were widely read in the academic world, by both faculty and students (I recall as a young child seeing paperback editions floating around during the 60s). They were influential far beyond the number of copies printed – the kind of books that are talked about much more widely than they are read. They were further popularized by various acolytes such as Lloyd Gardner, Walter LaFeber, and Howard Zinn in the academic world, and Tom Hayden (who wrote the most recent biography of Mills) and George McGovern in the political sphere.

Make sure to read the whole thing.

Hat tip: ST reader Sev

Senator Joe Biden officially announces bid for presidency

MSNBC has the scoop:

Sen. Joe Biden on Sunday told NBC’s “Meet the Press” that he will seek the Democratic presidential nomination in 2008.

“I am running for president” he told “Meet the Press” anchor Tim Russert. “I’m going to be Joe Biden, and I’m going to try to be the best Biden I can be. If I can, I got a shot. If I can’t, I lose.”

The senator from Delaware went on to say that he will be filing the necessary paperwork to create an exploratory committee by the end of the month.

Biden, who is the new chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, is considered one of the Democrats’ most experience spokesmen on international affairs.

He has about $3.5 million in his campaign account. The exploratory committee will help him raise money and gauge support. He’s already campaigned in early voting states such as New Hampshire, Iowa, South Carolina and Nevada.

He also said he thinks the administration “knows” it has “lost” the Iraq war and is simply trying to “postpone disaster.”

No word yet from him on how he will further try to relate to the South. His last two attempts have left a lot to be desired.

Also blogging about this: Iowa Voice, Decision ’08, Ann Althouse