Is it any wonder we are nowhere in this country when it comes to dealing with global warming? When our highly-paid primetime newscasters can't make even the most obvious connection between extreme weather patterns and global warming, how is the public supposed to?
Last week on the NBC Nightly News, anchor Brian Williams tossed to a story by reporter Mike Taibbi about the glut of what Williams called "strange goings on meteorologically speaking." Amongst these strange happenings: unseasonably warm temperatures in New York (the trees are so confused they have already started budding), record rainfall in the Northwest, the extreme heat and drought that has led to hundreds of wildfires in Texas and Oklahoma, and freak ocean tornados forming off the Florida Coast. Not to mention the extreme snowfalls in Japan and China. Come on, it really doesn't take a genius to figure out what's going on -- but it sure didn't occur to either Williams or Taibbi. Or to NBC weather expert Jeff Raineri, who offered this head-scratching assessment: "I wouldn't say that this is a long-term pattern that we're stuck in. It's just -- it's Mother Nature, and it's just how it's working in the beginning of January."
Taibbi then tried to put an upbeat, feel-good button on what had been a depressing report by taking advantage of the warm New York weather -- "a perfect day to hit a bucket of [golf] balls and ask teaching pro Jim McMahon about your backswing". Let's go to the trafscript:
TAIBBI: ...up on the range, Jim said I was locked in.
McMAHON: You're ready for the tour, baby!
TAIBBI: So I hustled over to my favorite course, only to find "Closed"! I guess it's a good thing. I might not have come back to the office. Mike Taibbi, NBC News, New York.
WILLIAMS: We're glad to have him.
So there you have it -- a global weather crisis reduced to Nightly News happy talk. Good work, boys.