Hurricane Dorian: Government agencies struggle with Trump falsehood

In a move to protect the agency’s legitimacy, the National Weather Service director defended his forecasters who refuted President Donald Trump’s assertion that hurricane Dorian was a threat to Alabama. Without knowing the source of the assertion, the forecasters stepped up to defend the public and prevent panic and rumors. The director lauded them for promoting public safety. (PBS, September 9, 2019, by Jay Reeves of The Associated Press)

National Weather Service staff were instructed to ignore “national level social media posts” and concentrate on its official forecasts about Dorian. (CNN, September 8, 2019, by Jim Acosta and Devan Cole)

The head of the weather service umbrella agency, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), walked back its earlier statement backing Trump by dressing down the weather forecasters. Acting administrator Neil Jacobs said he understood the importance of calming fears under the threat of a hurricane. In the meantime, the NOAA chief scientist said he would investigate the agency’s statement about the forecasters as a possible violation of scientific integrity guidelines. (CBS News, September 10, 2019)

For related FAC coverage, click here and here.

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