- The Progressive Pulse - http://pulse.ncpolicywatch.org -

Responding to Sandy: General Assembly plans session to ban coastal forecasts, news coverage


(Satire alert: Please note that, as believable as the following story may be, it is not to the author’s knowledge, true — at least at this point anyway). 

In a follow up to its bold action last spring [2] to ban scientists from predicting a significant sea-level rise along the North Carolina coast over the the course of the 21st Century, House and Senate leaders in the North Carolina General Assembly announced early this morning that they would take further action in the coming days to ban weather “forecasts” and news “reports” related to coastal weather events. 

Speaking at a hastily arranged press event in the offices of NC20 [3], the pro-development group that spearheaded the anti-sea level rise bill, House Speaker Thom Tillis and Senate President Pro Tem Phil Berger both described the move as “the next logical step” in their ongoing plan to forestall the “scare tactics” of “climate and weather alarmists” who are causing North Carolinians “unnecessary worry” regarding the future of coastal communities and investments therein.

According to Tillis (pictured above), the news media coverage devoted in recent days to Hurricane Sandy (a moniker that the Speaker refused to use) was the spur to this recent action.

“This was really the last straw,” said Tillis. “How many people in North Carolina were really impacted by this event of the last few days — whatever it was? I would submit to you that except for unconfirmed reports of a few misguided Brits on a movie prop, we have no indication that this so-called ‘storm’ really impacted anyone in our state. I know that no one in my district in Mecklenburg County would have even been aware of it had not members of the liberal media tried to make a mountain out of a molehill. And yet just consider the impact the out-of-proportion news coverage of recent days is likely to have on property values for thousands of entrepreneurs.”

[4]Senator Berger (at left) said that he and Tillis would be calling lawmakers back to Raleigh next week after the November 6 election for a special legislative session to consider a bill called “The Truth in Coastal Reporting Act.” He said the measure was modeled on a new Florida law drafted by staffers at the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) that forbids news media outlets in the Sunshine state (with the exception of those owned by Rupert Murdoch) from referring publicly to any “climactic event or alleged event” that would tend to cause any business or individual to have doubts about renting, purchasing or developing property in any county within 100 miles of the Atlantic Ocean.   

“This is really a no-brainer,” said Berger. “Someone has got to step up to the plate and prevent the tree huggers and socialists from undermining the capitalist system in the name of junk science.”

As further evidence of the need for the legislation, both Tillis and Berger called attention to the fact that the cable network known as The Weather Channel is owned by NBC. “This is the same company that employs Rachel Maddow and Chris Matthews,” said Tillis. “You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to connect the dots.” 

Under the proposed legislation described by the two men, most Weather Channel programs would be removed from North Carolina cable networks. “We’re okay with “Coast Guard Alaska” and the morning show with Al Roker,” said Berger, “but all of those so-called ‘scientists’ and ‘hurricane experts’ have got to go.”

The two men said the special session would be scheduled for 2:30 a.m. next Wednesday morning November 7.  

When contacted to seek their opinion on the new proposal, both major gubernatorial candidates voiced general support. 

GOP nominee Pat McCrory said that he strongly endorsed the measure. He  noted that he had, himself, filmed campaign commercials in a partially flooded warehouse and been no worse for the experience. “We need to get North Carolinians to stop worrying about getting their feet wet every now and then,” said McCrory.  “How are we going to unleash the private sector if people are scared of a little water?”

Democratic standard-bearer Walter Dalton was only slightly more cautious about the proposal. “I’ll need to study the details of the bill,” said Dalton. “I chaired a commission in 1996 that considered this very issue that brought all sides to the table. I’m confident we can do something similar over the next four years and, with any luck, this time maybe even issue a final report by the end of my first term as Governor.”