Tuesday, January 24, 2012

ABC World News Poor Reporting

1 PM Tuesday Update... ABC World News responds to widespread criticism of their coverage Monday night.  Read it by CLICKING HERE


It's tough writing this since this is Channel 7's parent network.  The misinformation on the Monday, January 23rd edition of ABC's World News needs to be corrected as soon as possible.  There were two very inaccurate statements made within the first few seconds of the broadcast Monday night.

More than likely, Diane Sawyer didn't write this script.  There are producers who do that for her.  However, it's also her responsibility to proof read it before going on the air.

Let's look at the first statement... "Something terrifying took the south by surprise last night.  No warning..."

The Storm Prediction Center out of Norman, OK issued slight and moderate risks for severe weather days in advance warning this area of the country for the possibility for severe weather.  Once the event unfolded, the local National Weather Service office in North Little Rock and other offices in the south did a spectacular job issuing warnings well in advance of the national average lead time.  Local stations, including ABC affiliates like KATV, stayed on the air for hours covering up their network programing to save lives and property.  In my opinion, the warnings delivered by the NWS and local media saved MANY lives!  Also, I wrote a blog post almost a week in advance talking about the possibility for severe weather.  You can read it for yourself.  CLICK HERE

The second statement that was inaccurate...

"We know that tornadoes peak in May or June so no one can believe this is happening in winter."

As many of you know, we have said over and over to expect an early and active severe weather season due to the effects of a La Nina pattern.  This is nothing new.  One of the worst outbreaks in Arkansas history occurred in January of 1999 which was a La Nina year.  In 2008, another La Nina year, the tornado season started on January 8th when a tornado hit Appleton.   There was another outbreak on Feb. 5, 2008 when an EF4 tracked for 122 miles through the state.  The longest tornado track in state history.

Last year, another La Nina year, a tornado killed 3 people of New Years Eve in Cincinnati, AR.  While January was cold and snowy, we had more tornadoes in February right in the heart of winter.

While I have the highest respect for veteran journalists who work tirelessly to bring you the news.  I think it's also their responsibility to get it right.  Once mistakes are made, they should correct them.

Meteorologist James Spann with our sister station in Birmingham, Alabama has more on this if you would like to read his thoughts on the situation.  CLICK HERE

Here's the video...

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Tony said...

But it doesn't make for good dramatic "doom and gloom" headlines when you say a storm hit, yet everyone was prepared and lives were saved because of meteorologists who were Johnny on the spot with the warnings and information.

I think it's a good example of people running their head about things they have no idea about in the first place

Doug in HS said...


I understand the Ms. Sawyer is trying to sell a news package, but this crosses the line, even beyond sensationalistic journalism.

KATV and the ABC network are very fortunate to have professionals like you and Barry on their team. As my dad would have said, you guys "toted the mail" Sunday night. Friends were calling me and complaining about other stations' coverage; I told them to put it on 7.

Arkansans know the truth; keep up the good work, Todd.

Brandon Ryan said...

Also, I thought it was fema.GOV, not fema.COM.

Rupses said...

Never let facts stand in the way of a good story. That seems to be the rule in network journalism these days. It's all about drama and reaction (and hype).

Nancy said...

James Spann is an awesome meterologist, I lived in Birmingham for a while and ALWAYS could count on him to provide accurate weather statements and keep on top of severe weather.

Kristin said...

Thank you! I thought I was crazy when I heard that on ALL the national news shows! They kept saying it was rare to have storms this time of year and I was taken aback. It is NOT unusual for tornado watches in December and January. I always know tornado season is around the corner once Christmas passes.

NOAA Winter Guidance