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Chris Matthews and Science= Oil and Water

Posted on August 2 2010 9:00 am
David Forsmark is the owner and president of Winning Strategies, a full service political consulting firm in Michigan. David has been a regular columnist for Frontpage Magazine since 2006. For 20 years before that, he wrote book, movie and concert reviews as a stringer for the Flint Journal, a midsize daily newspaper.
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At the height of oil spill frenzy, no one was more hysterical than Chris Matthews, wailing and gnashing his teeth on a nightly basis with the most dire prophecies.

“We are destroying this North American continent that God gave us!”

Matthews showed maps of the oil spill eventually polluting the entire eastern seaboard of the United States.  But to give him credit (unlike when he was proved wrong about Congressman Gary Condit who he nightly all but accused of murder) Matthews’s Thursday coverage reflected the facts on the ground– for a few minutes, at least.

Matthews interviewed Time Magazine’s Matthew Grunwald who reported that scientists were reporting that the oil spill was amounting to a drop in the bucket.

MATTHEWS I must have been wrong, because I kept asking for weeks ever since this spill occurred, will this biodegrade?  And I was told over and over again it wouldn‘t biodegrade, that we would be stuck with this up to perhaps 60,000 barrels a day, accumulated up to about four million barrels, we would be stuck with it in perpetuity,

Of course, as anyone who does 3 minutes of research knows, pretty much everything in seawater biodergrades, if its a biological substance.

Just one more instance illustrating that the guy who thought we should send “frogmen” a mile underwater”soldering irons” to plug the leak slept through more than just the water pressure section of Physical Science in Catholic middle school.

But before we give Chris too much credit…

MATTHEWS:  What was it that led you to decide to put the lead in this positive fashion, Michael?  What led you to believe you would have to put a piece together?  What—what, on balance, led you to think that there‘s reasonable—reasonable plausibility that this is going to end up rather well, compared to what we thought it was going to be like?  What led you that way?

GRUNWALD:  Well, this wasn‘t the story I went to write.  I was actually reporting something very different.


GRUNWALD:  But, in fact, all the scientists I‘ve talked to, and he‘s wrong.  There were four scientists quoted in that pretty short article—talked a lot about how, you know, they showed me the data.  And they said that this wasn‘t the kind of impact they were expecting.

It‘s really funny now to hear everybody saying, like, well, we have no idea what‘s going to happen.  It‘s way too early to tell if this, you know, what kind of the impacts we‘re going to see.  What I keep saying is, now you tell us?  Because for the last three months, all I‘ve heard is that this is the worst environmental catastrophe in the history of the country.

MATTHEWS:  Well, the question I have is what we‘ve—is the question that has loomed now for all these weeks and months now is that, the Gulf of Mexico is pretty deep.  And that oil sinks.

Translation:  Hey, Mr. Journalist, what made you write a story based on fact when there is still a thread of wild speculation you could follow?

MATTHEWS:  Well, you know what?  I made a big deal about it.  I may continue to because I fear for it.  I haven‘t hyped it for any reason.  I got to tell you, I am worried about the damage to our environment, especially North America.  It‘s the only one we‘ve got.  This land mass of ours, these waterways, and I am worried about it.

Who cares about facts and science?  The end of the world is a better story– and it makes for better liberal policy initiatives.

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