The Emperor’s New Sharpie

September 9, 2019

It’s official, 2+2 really is 5.

After the President changed an official weather map with a sharpie pen, bureaucrats scurried to avoid embarrassing him. Summary above and below.

Washington Post:

Nearly a week before the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration publicly backed President Trump over its own scientists, a top NOAA official warned its staff against contradicting the president.
In an agencywide directive sent Sept. 1 to National Weather Service personnel, hours after Trump asserted, with no evidence, that Alabama “would most likely be hit (much) harder than anticipated,” staff was told to “only stick with official National Hurricane Center forecasts if questions arise from some national level social media posts which hit the news this afternoon.”
They were also told not to “provide any opinion,” according to a copy of the email obtained by The Washington Post.
A NOAA meteorologist who spoke on the condition of anonymity for fear of retribution said the note, understood internally to be referring to Trump, came after the National Weather Service office in Birmingham contradicted Trump by tweeting Alabama would “NOT see any impacts from the hurricane.”

The Birmingham office sent the tweet after receiving a flurry of phone calls from concerned residents following Trump’s message.
The agency sent a similar message warning scientists and meteorologists not to speak out on Sept. 4, after Trump showed a hurricane map from Aug. 29 modified with a hand-drawn, half-circle in black Sharpie around Alabama.

The real shock was when NOAA leadership sent out an unsigned warning to scientists, instructing them not to contradict the President.

Associated Press:

WASHINGTON (AP) — Former top officials of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration are assailing the agency for undermining its weather forecasters as it defends President Donald Trump’s statement from days ago that Hurricane Dorian threatened Alabama.
They say NOAA’s action risks the credibility of the nation’s weather and science agency and may even risk lives.
Dismay came from those who served under Republican and Democratic presidents alike as leaders in meteorology and disaster response sized up a sustained effort by Trump and his aides to justify his warning that Alabama, among other states, was “most likely” to be hit hard by Dorian, contrary to forecasts showing Alabama was clear.
That effort led NOAA to repudiate a tweet from the National Weather Service the previous weekend assuring Alabamans — accurately — that they had nothing to fear from the hurricane. The weather service is part of NOAA and the tweet came from its Birmingham, Alabama, office.
“This rewriting history to satisfy an ego diminishes NOAA,” Elbert “Joe” Friday, former Republican-appointed director of the National Weather Service, said on Facebook. He told The Associated Press on Saturday: “We don’t want to get the point where science is determined by politics rather than science and facts. And I’m afraid this is an example where this is beginning to occur.”

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6 Responses to “The Emperor’s New Sharpie”

  1. dumboldguy Says:

    “Where will this end?” A great question—–either in a massive Blue Wave that puts the country back on the path to sanity OR in some Brave New World that leads to its destruction.

    Article in the WashPost today about how many (white) folks are complaining that the tours at Mount Vernon and Monticello and other southern “plantations” are spending too much time talking about slavery and slaves.

  2. jimbills Says:

    More to the story:
    The New York Times: Commerce Chief Threatened Firings at NOAA After Trump’s Dorian Tweets, Sources Say.

  3. rhymeswithgoalie Says:

    Let me repeat this: GET THE FRAMING RIGHT!

    Do not let Trumpistas control the framing.
    Do not let wishy-washy news coverage buy into the framing.
    If it’s demented, call it demented. If it’s dangerous, call it dangerous.
    If it’s a blatant lie, call it a blatant lie

    I swear if I hear another news commentator conducting an interview as if there might have been some hidden strategy to Trump’s behavior, I might just go down there and —Geneva Convention be damned—force them to eat my cooking…or worse.

  4. rhymeswithgoalie Says:

    Regarding whether Trump can read a map…maybe he didn’t know which state was Alabama. Gah!

  5. mboli Says:

    Best jokes so far:
    — It seems there IS somebody who needs a weatherman to know which way the wind blows.
    — Trump is no sharpie, but he knows his marks.


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