Right now, the lead story on the Sun-Sentinel's web site is Hurricane Dean, which it blares "was still in position to easily attack the U.S. East Coast as it plowed west across the Atlantic."
Easily? Well it's going to defy the laws of meteorology by plowing through a high-pressure area to its north to get here. And it's also going to have to beat every forecaster's prediction in the world at this point. The Miami Herald, to the south of the Sentinel's Broward base, didn't employ such scare tactics.
Here's what Fort Lauderdale activist Cal Deal wrote to the Sentinel's Online Editor Sherry Skalko about the "alarmist" coverage:
Stop with the unnecessary hurricane scare stuff already!! Dean is "still
in position to easily attack the U.S. East Coast," you say? Really???? Well, I suppose ... if you count doing a Wilma-style loop-de-loop and whacking the panhandle from the West. We're not even in the Cone of Error. All the computer models come up with the same prediction, for gosh sakes. I suppose it's also "in position" to go through the Panama Canal, if it can afford the fees.
And is "aims for south of Cuba" an attempt to get a local angle? None of the maps show that. It is "aiming" for Jamaica and the Yucatan.
Hurricanes are anxiety-producing enough without this kind of alarmist reporting. I saw this lead and immediately went to the NHC web site to get the straight scoop, which was much more reassuring.
To be fair to Skalko, the offending phrase was in Ken Kaye's 1A story this morning and still contained within the web story. Hilariously, the next graph reads:
"On the other hand, the forecast track was being steadily adjusted to the south, and the storm was predicted to pass south of Cuba. If so, it would remain about 500 miles from Florida."
A classic "on the other hand, what I just wrote is probably sheer bullshit" moment.
So Skalko's mistake was believing her own newspaper. I wonder how many thousands of poor gullible people are walking around out there believing the same thing.