I was having trouble sleeping last night when the hum of my TV caught my attention with two little words. Sharpie-Gate.
More than one channel blabbered on about President Trump’s claim that Hurricane Dorian might hit Alabama.
In fact, Don Lemon had a full-on rant over the situation.
“You know, I hear the president’s apologists saying, ‘Oh, it’s petty. You shouldn’t be focusing on it.’ No, this is a news story,” Lemon began. “This is the president of the United States and if you can’t trust what’s coming out of the president of the United States’ mouth, then where are we? Who are we, especially as journalists? Why wouldn’t we cover that? You’re supposed to be able to trust the president. … Accurate information should be coming from the highest office in the land instead of doubling down on what, quite frankly, is not the truth.”
I tried changing the channel, but this story just wouldn’t go away. The ridiculousness prompted me to read up on weather forecast accuracy.
Here’s what I found:
A seven-day forecast can accurately predict the weather about 80 percent of the time and a five-day forecast can accurately predict the weather approximately 90 percent of the time. However, a 10-day—or longer—forecast is only right about half the time.
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Of course, I grew up close to the Texas coast, and I’ve learned a thing or two about hurricanes in my lifetime. For example, hurricanes can easily change paths, or move back out to sea and rebuild their strength.
Thus, I found myself asking specifically about the challenges tracking Hurricane Dorian. I ended up in a Forbes article, where scientific explanations completely satisfied my curiosity on the matter. My final assessment is this: a weather forecast blunder isn’t worthy of the nightly news or a CNN rant. It’s a part of life, as any meteorologist can attest to.
While the mainstream media focused on Sharpie Gate, a much bigger fish wasn’t fried.
What did we miss?
As it turns out, the same news cycle obsessed with Sharpie Gate missed a pretty important story involving a Muslim and a sabotaged airplane.
According to the Miami Herald:
An American Airlines mechanic was arrested Thursday on a sabotage charge accusing him of disabling a navigation system on a flight with 150 people aboard before it was scheduled to take off from Miami International Airport earlier this summer.
The reason, according to a criminal complaint affidavit filed in Miami federal court: Abdul-Majeed Marouf Ahmed Alani, a veteran employee, was upset over stalled union contract negotiations.
None of the passengers and crew on the flight to Nassau were injured because the tampering with the so-called air data module caused an error alert as the pilots powered up the plane’s engines on the runway July 17, according to the complaint affidavit.
As a result, flight No. 2834 was aborted and taken out of service for routine maintenance at American’s hangar at MIA. This is when the tampering with the ADM system was discovered during an inspection. An AA mechanic found a loosely connected tube in front of the nose gear underneath the cockpit that had been deliberately obstructed with some sort of hard foam material.
Station after station focused on a black squiggly line on a weather map.