As Hurricane Ian rumbles over Florida and much of the south eastern seaboard, leaving human and material destruction in its wake, the coverage of this unnatural product of climate change by Fox News proves to be just another opportunity to propagate disinformation and amplify ignorance.
On Thursday morning, host Martha MacCallum responded to comments by her colleague Bill Hemmer regarding the the state of the power grid in Florida following the hurricane’s landfall. Hemmer noted that 200,000 people were reported to have lost power, and that that number was likely go up in the next few hours. MacCallum agreed and added that…
“You know you feel terrible for people in Puerto Rico who were just hit, in Cuba who were just hit. Thank God we have better infrastructure in our country. We’ve put a lot of investment into making sure that we’re ready for these things. But it’s an act of nature and you never know exactly what to expect.”
Fox News anchor Martha MacCallum: “You feel terrible for people in Puerto Rico who were just hit, and Cuba who were just hit. Thank God we have better infrastructure in our country, we’ve put a lot of investment into make sure that we’re ready for these things.”
Does she know? pic.twitter.com/xkI9Iq03jO
— Eric Kleefeld (@EricKleefeld) September 28, 2022
Who wants to tell MacCallum that Puerto Rico is “in our country”? This is a “mistake” that is often made on Fox News, where they seem loathe to concede that the mostly Latino citizens of Puerto Rico are, in fact, Americans.
However, as bad as that was, it wasn’t the only ignorant blunder made by both Hemmer and MacCallum. Their praise for authentic, unadulterated, American infrastructure neglected to notice that there are actually more than two million Floridians without power. So the failures of the energy facilities on the mainland were no less severe than those on the tiny and distant island. Even though they have the advantage of being connected to the broader national power grid.
This might be a good time for a reminder that the vast majority of Republicans in Congress voted against the passage of President Biden’s Infrastructure Bill.
What’s more, Donald Trump has been a prolific promoter of purposeful lies with regard to past natural disasters. Following his infamous paper towel throwing affair in Puerto Rico, Trump sought to make the tragedies of Hurricane Maria disappear. He tweeted that…
“3000 people did not die in the two hurricanes that hit Puerto Rico. When I left the Island, AFTER the storm had hit, they had anywhere from 6 to 18 deaths. As time went by it did not go up by much. Then, a long time later, they started to report really large numbers, like 3000. This was done by the Democrats in order to make me look as bad as possible.”
Actually, Democrats had nothing to do with the casualty estimates. And Trump doesn’t need anyone’s help to make him look bad. The 3,000 fatalities were verified by both non-partisan government agencies and independent researchers at George Washington University. They were also affirmed by the Republican governor of Puerto Rico.
The fact that Fox News is intent on callously discounting the hardship and grief suffered by victims of Hurricane Ian shouldn’t surprise anyone. They are the same network that stood behind Trump when he asked whether we could nuke a hurricane. And then there was the time that he described North Carolina’s Hurricane Florence in 2018 as “a tough hurricane. One of the wettest we’ve ever seen from the standpoint of water.” Both Florence and Ian were classified as Category 4. But maybe Trump declassified Florence with his mind, saving untold lives.
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