Blame game reporting of Houston hurricane inappropriate and wrong

September 1st, 2017

The hurricane has passed in Houston Texas, but the resultant flooding has claimed more than 20 lives and thousands of people are facing at least temporary homelessness.

Social media is great for helping us keep informed about what is happening at such distressing times – and it is also a wonderful vehicle for giving us some ‘real time’ insights into the really positive humanity on display.

Take a look at the Twitter conversation #Harvey and what you will see are mostly inspiring videos and messages which demonstrate the best qualities in people – the extraordinary things ordinary people have been doing to help each other in a crisis.

Read the Sydney Morning Herald and what you will find is an example of opportunistic and factually questionable journalism.

That was the conclusion of senior political representatives from Labor and Liberal when discussing the  matter on television on Tuesday night this week. Stephen Conroy and Michael Kroger agreed it was inappropriate to indulge in a ‘blame game’ over what SMH reporter Peter Hannam said was the cause of the hurricane and how the citizens of Houston had brought it upon themselves.

The hurricane was the result of global warming, which was the consequence of burning of fossil fuels by companies operating in Texas, some headquartered in Houston, he said in an article headed ‘Houston you have a problem and some of it of your own making’.

Mr Conroy, till last year a senior Federal Labor figure, described the article as “absolutely pathetic”.

It was typical of the dogma of the activist left  and “it is what further discredits some of their arguments”, Mr Conroy said on Foxtel.

Mr Kroger, the President of the Victorian Liberal Party, said the article was “despicable”.

It  was a similar opportunism as was evident in Australia in the wake of Cyclone Yasi, in 2011, when “the Greens tried to blame the coal industry”.

This was shown to be both “unscientific and inhuman”, Mr Kroger said.

As we have reported previously, Australian authorities have confirmed that the number of cyclones has been decreasing over recent decades, not increasing.

The experience in hurricane-prone areas of the USA has been similar.

Data published by the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration shows that hurricane incidence has been trending downward since 1950. Each of the past six decades have recorded fewer numbers of hurricanes than the long run average, dating back to 1840.

This fact is the exact opposite of what was claimed in Hannam’s article.

Little wonder then that the SMH chose not to publish the letter we sent them, reproduced here.

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