5 Disturbing Hurricane Harvey and Irma Headlines

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There were numerous tales of heroism that emerged in the wake of Hurricane Harvey and Hurricane Irma. They didn’t negate all the stories of sorrow that surrounded these two devastating storms, but they were enough to give us optimism about the human spirit. Kind-hearted people reached out to help survivors, and many even risked their lives to save others. Unfortunately, at the other end of the spectrum were people who said or did things that defied all logic. Here are a few real headlines involving the storms.

Curiosity seekers watch Hurricane Irma approach the Florida coast. © Michael Seeley)

5. ‘Hurricane Irma Threatens Fantasy Football’

With millions of Floridians and Southeastern U.S. residents worried about their property and fleeing for their lives from Hurricane Irma, the NFL rightfully postponed the Miami-Tampa Bay game scheduled for Miami. Yet the Fox Business Network aired a cringe-worthy segment that included information on how the game’s postponement could affect fantasy football players. It included an interview with fantasy sports site FanDuel CEO Nigel Eccles. “If you’ve got a player in that game you want to take him out, because that game won’t be played,” Eccles said. The graphic on the screen said, “News Alert: Irma Threatens Fantasy.”


4. ‘Dozens of Dogs Abandoned, Left Unable to Escape as Irma Bears Down’

USA Today reported that Palm Beach County, Fla., animal care officers had rescued dozens of dogs abandoned by their evacuating owners ahead of Irma. Some were tied or chained and would have been unable to escape in the storm. Authorities said they may pursue felony animal cruelty charges against the dogs’ former owners.


3. ‘Bill Maher: Unfair for Texas to Request Aid’

The host of HBO’s Real Time with Bill Maher said on his show that it was “unfair” for Texas to expect federal aid after Harvey. “These places that got flooded, like Texas, OK, they have a low tax base. So, the federal government bails them out,” Maher said. “Their governors, their legislators they don’t believe in climate science. It seems like the responsible folks in this country, the people who pay a little more taxes and the people who believe in climate change are bailing out the people who hate government, except when they need government when they’re in trouble. That seems a little unfair.”

First, scientists overwhelmingly agree you can’t link climate change to specific storms. But even if you buy that flawed correlation, certainly many Texans do believe in climate change. Should they be penalized just because of where they live?


2. ‘Rush Limbaugh Argues Hurricane Forecasts Are Liberal Conspiracies’

As Irma moved through the Atlantic, the conservative talk show host said that liberal scientists and the media were hyping hurricane forecasts to promote a climate change agenda. “You have people in all of these government areas who believe man is causing climate change, and they’re hell-bent on proving it. … So here comes a hurricane that’s 10 to 12 days out and here come the initial model runs, and … if they are going to approach a hit on the U.S., you will note that early tracks always have them impacting a major population center. … Major population centers is where the major damage will take place and where we can demonstrate that these things are getting bigger and they’re getting more frequent and they’re getting worse. All because of climate change.” Two days after this rant, Limbaugh evacuated Palm Beach, Fla., where he records his show.


1. ‘Don’t Fire Guns at Hurricane Irma, Police Warn’

This sounds like a headline ripped straight from The Onion parody website, but it’s true. Seems a man named Ryon Edwards started a Facebook group entitled “Shoot At Hurricane Irma.” It attracted tens of thousands of members. The ill-conceived social media post led to law enforcement officials wasting valuable time and resources to tell the public that firing bullets into the air is a bad idea.


One More: ‘Jennifer Lawrence Suggests the Hurricanes are Revenge for Electing Donald Trump’

In an interview promoting her new film, Mother!, the Hunger Games star drew a parallel between President Donald Trump’s election and the recent hurricanes. “You know, you’re watching these hurricanes now, and it’s really hard, especially while promoting this movie, not to feel Mother Nature’s rage and wrath,” Lawrence said.

Our quick scientific analysis concludes storms of this nature occur during both Democratic and Republican presidential terms, so Mother Nature really doesn’t care who sits in the White House.


And Another: ‘Reporter Slammed For Alerting Police to Looters’

Tom Llamas, an anchor for ABC World News Tonight, went to Houston to report on Harvey. At one point he tweeted, “#Breaking We’re witnessing looting right now at a large supermarket in the NE part of Houston …” Social media users ripped him for reporting the looting. So many questions here: Should it be legal to take whatever you want from food stores in times of crisis? What if the stores are not abandoned? How about items such as alcohol, not an essential survival item? You can’t really blame Llamas for reporting what he had seen, namely, people taking items that did not belong to them (i.e. looting).


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