Remember what used to be called “spring” and “summer?” Remember that “spring” used to be a time to expect strong storms and “summer” was a time when it became what we used to recognize as “hot.” This was normal, it happened without fail every year, and it tended not to lead network newscasts as I was growing up.
The days of weather nonchalance are over. Now the storms of spring and the heat of summer, still as predictable as ever, have risen to red-alert, team-coverage panic attacks designed to— well, what? What are the forces that have led network TV to absurdly sensationalize what God put in place at the Creation and what man has noticed ever since the first meteorologists drew maps on cave walls?
If you’ve missed it, the phenomenon rolls out like this: at various times in the spring, the networks will find some example of torrential rain, with video of someone’s house or pickup or dog floating downstream. In a nation of nearly 4 million square miles, footage of this type will be easy to find any week from March to June. But a breathless anchor will wrap it in a panicked tone as if an asteroid is hurtling toward the Earth, turning immediately to the chief meteorologist, who will show us maps and more footage, all based on a basic truth down through the ages: It is spring, and in some places, it is raining like hell.
Every network does this, but ABC comes at it with extra gusto on “World News Tonight,” where anchor David Muir tells us on days where many states might see rain that “40 million are in the storm zone!”
Good Lord, “the storm zone?” Isn’t a “storm zone” a likelihood on dozens and dozens of days across America during most of spring?
Of course it is. But why let a good line rest idly in the summer? This week, a whole lot of the country is hot. For my entire lifetime, this has been called “July.”
But no such indifference at ABC, where Monday night they threw up a map featuring much of the East enduring the 90s (which it has done for most of summer since the dinosaurs), and told us— don’t get ahead of me— that “70 million people are in the ‘Hot Zone!’”
God in heaven, it’s “The Hot Zone,” where I seem to remember living from June to September in my Maryland youth, and where I now spend far longer now that my summers are in Texas. If the ABC editors ever fly down here when it’s 108 on some August afternoon, their heads may explode.
On the Monday night newscast, a thoroughly worthy reporter, Gio Benitez, was tasked with interviewing a city official on the streets of Philadelphia, asking him about the dire concerns of local citizens on a day in the 90s, which were likely the conditions as our Founding Fathers pounded out the Declaration of Independence in an un-air-conditioned room around the corner 239 years ago, and they did it in wigs, long coats and panty hose.
So what is with all of this nonsense? There are two plausible theories, and they may both apply.
The first is that this is all part of the dominant media campaign to jam into our brains images of weather gone wild, a false narrative that we have never had so many hurricanes, so much rain, so much heat, blah blah blah. The cause for this in the manuals of the left is man-made global warming, which most reasonable people doubt on its face.
But if they can bury us in constant images of what was once considered ordinary, maybe some people will say, “Dang, it does seem like the weather has gone nuts,” when in fact the only thing that has gone off the rails is the political agendas of the people bringing us most network TV news.
The second theory is even more likely. The reason the networks throw panicky weather coverage at us is that we are drawn to it like moths to a ratings-driven flame. Research shows that locally and nationally, breaking weather news is a stop-down viewing phenomenon, which is why every winter our local Dallas-Ft. Worth affiliates send armies of reporters to area bridges to get closeups of sleet.
So whether it’s a political agenda or good, old-fashioned market forces driving things, this will not change. Spring will be wet, weather will be hot, and both will be portrayed as shock-worthy on TV newscasts. Take it all in stride. Autumn will be here soon, where the only shock will be favorable coverage of the Republican debates.Read More
U.S. Representative Jeb Hensarling (TX-5)
Marcus Luttrell, former United States Navy SEALRead More
Evaluating the damage of Donald Trump’s “war hero” moment is like weighing how much Benghazi hurts Hillary Clinton. There is one vital question: How many votes are actually lost?
Benghazi infuriates millions of Americans who have no intention of supporting her. If at some future moment, actual Hillary supporters slap their foreheads and proclaim the last straw, then there will be an actual toll.
It will take some time to determine the extent of Trump’s unforced error at the weekend Family Leadership Summit in Iowa. There is no great additional wound from pundits and rivals who have been on his back for weeks. The only way he starts bleeding poll numbers is if a large chunk of people who have been loving his bluntness say the McCain moment was simply too much and they are now headed off in search of an alternative.
That won’t be happening immediately.
First, it should be noted what Trump actually said. The headlines and tweets nailing him for saying McCain is not a war hero are questionable. As he launched his first reply to Frank Luntz’s mention of McCain’s heroism, he stammered over the words, “He’s not— a war hero,” but then pivoted and said multiple times that he IS a war hero, but for being captured, adding the thoroughly Trump-esque: “I like people who weren’t captured, okay?”
So, if accuracy means anything, it is better to say that Trump mocked or belittled McCain’s war hero status, not that he doubted it.
This distinction means nothing to most people looking for the GOP’s actual nominee. And this is why this weekend was not the end of the Trump phenomenon. Most of the people piling on— and he largely deserved it, by the way— were people with a vested interest in hounding him from the race— either analysts who feel dirty at having to cover him or rivals who are frankly concerned about hm and his ability to siphon off their potential voters.
Defenders circled the wagons almost immediately, many taking their own potshots at McCain for more valid reasons— his spotty conservatism and his own unkind references to Trump followers. It is useful to note that Trump’s sin is viewed as suicide but McCain gets to call a candidate’s entire fan base “crazies” and that’s just fine.
So did this weekend change anything? Sure. It ended the suspense over when Trump would say something that amounts to evidence of a temperament unsuited for the Oval Office. Even his supporters should have known this day would come. Now that it has, they should begin their search for a Plan B.
But that won’t happen right away. Gaffe or no gaffe, Trump remains singular in his boldness, honesty and refusal to wrap himself in the numbing glaze that envelops most other candidates.
He may have another moment or two like the McCain land mine, and it still may not matter much. There is a segment of America that has too long watched donors, handlers and elites castrate the conservative message in the form of underwhelming, under-inspiring nominees. Trump is so different and so energizing that even his sudden and probably opportunistic pivot to some conservative positions does not matter to them, and nor will the occasional size 12 Gucci he occasionally extracts from his mouth.
And once again, his enemies should know that if they are particularly shrill or unnerved in their attacks on him, it will only help him, thus delaying the day when his campaign ends.
That day will surely come. But it will not be when his media tormentors and his competition prefer, and that’s before the first debate, now a mere seventeen days away.Read More