For days, the president of the United States has been obsessed with proving that somehow, he wasn’t actually completely in the wrong when he claimed Alabama could feel effects from Hurricane Dorian despite the state remaining significantly outside impact forecasts at the time. Now, there’s another unsettling development in the debacle, with the reveal from CNN White House correspondent Jim Acosta of a memo sent from leadership at the National Weather Service (NWS) admonishing staffers against countering Donald Trump’s false statements about Dorian’s impact. In other words, something as basic as weather forecasts have now been infected with the politics of Trump’s utter belligerence and the desire of some to fall in line behind that.
The memo that Acosta shared included a directive for lower-level staffers to “only stick with official [National Hurricane Center] forecasts if questions arise some national level social media posts this afternoon.” The apparently emailed directive included that “staff should not provide any opinion about the national level posts” — no matter, apparently, if those “national level” Twitter posts from the president of the United States are completely and utterly wrong.
CNN has obtained the message from a National Weather Service Sept 1 email that was sent to NWS staffers after Trump’s Alabama tweet and the Birmingham NWS tweet. It advised staff “should not provide any opinion about the national level posts…” pic.twitter.com/Kz2fcrG0mM
— Jim Acosta (@Acosta) September 8, 2019
This past Friday, following Trump’s initial claims about Alabama feeling Dorian’s wrath and that internal NWS effort to squash any attempt to counter him, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) released a public statement throwing an Alabama NWS office under the bus that had countered Trump. That NOAA statement claimed that the office “spoke in absolute terms that were inconsistent with probabilities from the best forecast products available at the time” — so just because it’s technically possible that Dorian could have impacted Alabama, the team should have kept quiet about a claim unsupported by the majority of information? It’s also technically possible that the storm hit Texas… California… Alaska.. who knows where the boundary is if this is what we’re going with!
In response to the public NOAA statement, Elbert “Joe” Friday — former Republican-appointed director of the National Weather Service — was among a number of former officials to speak out, sharing on Facebook:
‘This rewriting history to satisfy an ego diminishes NOAA. 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.’
Trump has a knack for infecting otherwise duly proceeding political processes with his belligerence. Just ask the Department of Justice and those concerned with the Russia investigation.
Check out Twitter’s response to Acosta…
Featured Image via screenshot