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HORIST: How the media invented the Alabama hurricane controversy

HORIST: How the media invented the Alabama hurricane controversy

In terms of media credibility, one of the more humiliating events is screwing up a “gotcha.”  A gotcha is the card the media plays when they think they got a person in what they believe to be an embarrassing situation in which the subject has no credible escape.  It is the equivalent of a checkmate in a game of chess.  This time, however, the gotcha is at the expense of the propaganda press.

This issue had its antecedents in an offhand comment President Trump made about Hurricane Dorian. As the monster hurricane steered toward the Florida coast, Trump expressed his concern for the people of the POTENTIALLY affected states – and he included Alabama in that list.

If you look at the earlier official map laying out the likely path of Dorian, the hurricane was predicted to cross over central Florida and travel on to the southern coastal regions of the United States – with a POSSIBLE hit on the Florida panhandle — and the Gulf coast of southern Georgia, Mississippi AND Alabama.  According to the experts, that was the direction Dorian was heading.

That is what the map showed and so did all those so-called spaghetti lines – at that time.  Of course, hurricanes do not follow predicted path, but if I were in Alabama looking at THAT map, I would be taking in my yard furniture – and you can bet that the governors of those states would be issuing dire warnings.  The fact that Dorian made a right turn is hindsight reporting – claiming that Trump needlessly scared the folks in Alabama.

By the time Trump made his comment, the meteorologists were suggesting a northward turn – but not when and where.  The bullseye kept changing from as far south as Cuba to a hit on northern Florida.  No one predicted Dorian’s eventual strength and it is sitting on the Bahamas for more than 40 hours. The fact that Dorian moved offshore as far as it did, when it did, was a surprise to the professional weather folks.   As is always the case, as Dorian traveled the predicted path was more accurate.

Someone – probably a staff member – used a Sharpie to show Trump how Dorian could have moved into Alabama if the current trajectory was maintained.  This was viewed by the Trump-haters in the media as an example of creating a fraudulent map.  Some even conjectured that he had committed a crime by showing an altered map.  You just cannot overstate the level of dishonest reporting.

The press hid the fact that the marking was more of an instructional aid – to make a point.  Something every one of those media reporters were doing when they would run their fingers to draw lines on their electronic touch-screen maps – advancing the path of Dorian on a what-if basis.  You will note that the photo at the top of the commentary shows a White House staff member explaining the meaning of the map to Trump.  And note carefully – this is VERY important — that the infamous added arch is NOT on the map.  It was obviously added later during the briefing.

If Trump was guilty of anything, it was being a bit behind on the last meteorological projections.  No big thing – unless you are a media that were hell-bent on inventing a negative narrative against the President – more than reporting the more significant stories of the day.  They saw it as a gotcha moment – or at least something they could hype into a gotcha story.

What was surprising – even knowing the motivations of the left-wing propaganda press – is the extent to which they distorted and hyped this non-story.  The entire east coast media made the map controversy the major lead-off story of the day — correction, of many days.

Even as Dorian was making landfall in North Carolina – and the scope of the disaster and humanitarian aid efforts were coming to light of the Bahamas – CNN and MSNBC and their New York Times, Washington Post and mouths-for-hire panelists were myopically focusing on THE GREAT MAP CONTROVERSY, which they had invented.

The first segment of MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” was devoted to spinning the map controversy.  The phoniness of the story was inversely proportionate to the intensity of their condemning rhetoric.

CNN’s Don Lemon is never to be outdone in advancing anti-Trump spin – whether justified or not, real or made up.  He seemed totally exasperated and lost for words (we should only be so lucky) in dramatizing and exaggerating the scope and meaning of Trump’s off-hand comment.  It reminded me of the Lemon of election night 2016 when the CNN personality virtually collapses in traumatized despair at the thought of a President-elect Trump.  He apparently has not recovered since.

FOX News resident Trump-hater, Shepard Smith, gave up news reporting to go off on a personal vindictive editorial rant over Trump’s concern for the people of Alabama.

This well-intended – but ultimately incorrect – concern about the future path of Dorian is being bantered about in the press as yet another lie told by Trump.  It was not an honest – and understandable – mistake.  No! No! No! It was a lie – and since Trump stuck to his story, some counted it as several lies.  More for the Washington Post’s dubious list of Trump lies.

If I were to apply the same retrospective standard, I would conclude that the meteorologist, the politicians and the press all lied to me when they suggested I take precaution because Dorian COULD reach landfall over my house.  I was so warned.  But outside of a bit of a breeze and a little rain – and an hour or so battening down the hatches — nothing.  How dare they needlessly scare me.

Make no mistake.  Trump may have told some whoppers – as my grandfather would call them.  But this was not one of them.  Conversely, the twisting and spinning of the issue by the elitist media has been designed to deceive and malign with malice of forethought.  As much as I tend to avoid the term “fake news,” these reports are well within the meaning of that term.

So, there ‘tis.

About The Author

Larry Horist

So,there‘tis… The opinions, perspectives and analyses of Larry Horist Larry Horist is a businessman, conservative writer and political strategist with an extensive background in economics and public policy. Clients of his consulting firm have included such conservative icons as Steve Forbes and Milton Friedman. He has served as a consultant to the Nixon White House and travelled the country as a spokesman for President Reagan’s economic reforms. He has testified as an expert witness before numerous legislative bodies, including the U. S. Congress. Horist has lectured and taught courses at numerous colleges and universities, including Harvard, Northwestern, DePaul universities, Hope College and his alma mater, Knox College. He has been a guest on hundreds of public affairs talk shows, and hosted his own program, “Chicago In Sight,” on WIND radio. Horist was a one-time candidate for mayor of Chicago and served as Executive Director of the City Club of Chicago, where he led a successful two-year campaign to save the historic Chicago Theatre from the wrecking ball. An award-winning debater, his insightful and sometimes controversial commentaries appear frequently on the editorial pages of newspapers across the nation. He is praised by readers for his style, substance and sense of humor. According to one reader, Horist is the “new Charles Krauthammer.” He is actively semi-retired in Boca Raton, Florida where he devotes his time to writing. So, there ‘tis is Horist’s signature sign off.


  1. Roland Golz

    Bring this sityuation to a screetching halt! Prointo

    P;ease bring this situation to a screeching halt.


  2. R.F. HORKA


  3. Mike Foley

    Your comments are total bull shit! As of Sunday September 1, the official weather prediction was for the hurricane to stay off-shore from Florida and travel north. Why are you lying to protect Trump? Your credibility has just gone down with his, so much easier to simply say “I made a mistake”.

    • Dave B

      Hay Mike, do Hurricanes follow rules, do they go where the news media and so called meteorologists say they will go? Is weather a week out even 3 or 4 days out so predictable that we are 100% sure what and when it will happen? I have been a pilot for over 55 years, a trained NOAA Weather observer and visibility observer. I teach the stuff. NOBODY can accurately predict a tornado, a Hurricane, or typhoon. They move in unpredictable ways. This one could have crossed Florida, hit Alabama and Mississippi, moved to the Georgia, Tennessee and into Virginia or it could have moved out into the Atlantic circled back around and covered its tracks all over again. NOBODY can accurately predict exactly where they will go, we use science to say where they are and what direction they are going and use atmospheric pressure or fronts as steering currents but a monster like this one trumps all. So don’t get so democratically cocky and think your so darn smart. You never had any credibility to begin with and now your in the hole. Predictions are guesses, guesses can not be wrong as they were guesses. Would you accept responsibility if they Hurricane went where you did not guess and people died for it or would you tell everyone to baton the hatches and hunker down a little more?

      • Marvin Williams

        That is just fake mike foley doing what he does best critize Trump.
        Trump is the best thing that has happened to America when Trump was
        elected. He will in office another 5 years foley.

  4. Christiaan Overgaard

    From AOL to the MSM propaganda news outlets, I gave them two links to the original maps that did show that track into Alabama. I never heard any comments from that time forward. The left hates the truth.

    • Mike Foley

      The truth is that the maps that were available to the public (and the President) on September 1 showed the Hurricane staying offshore from Florida and heading north, which is why the national weather service in Alabama immediately informed the public that the President had misinformed people with his tweet. We are not quarreling that earlier weather reports showed the storm with a potential to head ashore in Florida, just that was not the forecast as of September 1 (or August 31 or August 30). The left loves the truth, which is why Trump gets so much grief for lying.

  5. Mike Foley

    Hay Dave! I am not so dam smart as you say, but I can read and look at a chart. The President should report facts (as should Horist) as best they are known. All available data on September 1 pointed to the hurricane staying offshore from Florida and heading north, which is why the National Weather Service immediately stated that the hurricane would not strike Alabama. Trump misspoke, pure and simple, either based on old data, or who knows what. He should provide the most accurate information that he can, but he did not. Then, instead of stating that he made an error, he did what he always does, and keeps lying, which is why this is still the subject of media attention.

  6. timothy

    politicians always rely on the polls or their focus group to see witch way the wind is blowing and they don’t want there snowflakes to wet all over them selves, so if he followed those rules the hurricane would of well past that point headed for N.C. President Trump is not a politician he is a builder and this country needs to be rebuilt after the last eight years of democrat rule.So all you libs.,sit down, shut up, and hang on.This country will prosper and it will be good for everybody in spite of you.Stupid liberals think if President Trump fails they will get back in power but I am afraid they will start something that we don’t even want to talk about. God bless America