August 23, 2007

“And tell me where I’m wrong.”


I don’t have cable, so I don’t watch Glenn Beck’s show. But Ashley directed me to My Two Sense, who does watch Glenn Beck, and I see that Glenn Beck really does not like New Orleans:
New Orleans was a disaster waiting to happen, and it`s going to happen again. Two years after Katrina, I`m not sure still that we should bother rebuilding it. Here`s the point tonight.

As we see yet another deadly hurricane season, can we please ask the question, in the aftermath of Katrina, if we`re going to rebuild cities like New Orleans, can we at least do it right? And if not, I say we cut bait and not bother doing it at all, and here`s how I got there.

Category 5 storms are rare, but they do happen. There were five back in 2005, making it one of the deadliest hurricane seasons on record. New Orleans and a huge amount of America`s gulf region left in ruins. We all remember seeing the footage, and so many of us are -- have lived through it.
It seems his point is that he has seen some footage of a rare disaster on the Gulf Coast, therefore we should not rebuild New Orleans unless we rebuild it to his standard of "right."

Obviously, I do not agree with Mr. Beck. But that’s not my biggest problem with what I saw in the video on My Two Sense.

As Mr. Beck was interviewing Douglas Brinkley, these banners ran on the bottom of the screen:

New Orleans’ population is currently 484,000, half of its pre-Katrina total.

New Orleans is 15 feet below sea level and sinks one inch per year.
Both of those statistics are wrong.

New Orleans’ population before the storm in the 2000 census was, in fact, 484,000. It certainly is not right now. The 2006 census said New Orleans had 223,000 people, which is about half the estimated 2005 population (usually stated as 454,000), but not half of the 2000 census. I assume Beck’s producers were using US Census numbers. Current estimates put the New Orleans population at 273,000 to 300,000, which would be more than half of Glenn Beck’s number even if it were the correct pre-Katrina population.

The claim that New Orleans is 15 feet below sea level is ridiculous:
"LIDAR elevation data show that 51 percent of the terrestrial surface of the contiguous urbanized portions of Orleans, Jefferson, and St. Bernard parishes lie at or above sea level (with the highest neighborhoods at 10-12 feet above mean sea level), while 49 percent lies below sea level, in places to equivalent depths."
While a part of New Orleans may be 15 feet below sea level, by no means is the City of New Orleans 15 feet below sea level.

Also, the claim that New Orleans is sinking one inch per year is equally as ridiculous:
Most of New Orleans is sinking at an average rate of 6mm a year. In some areas, subsidence is occurring at a rate of as much as 29mm/year. That’s according to research published in this week’s edition of the journal Nature by scientists from the University of Miami Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science.
According to this widely publicized study, most of New Orleans is sinking 0.236 inches (6mm) a year. Not one inch.

It also states that “some areas” of New Orleans are sinking 29mm a year, which is 1.14 inches. Those areas are represented as red dots on this map:

Not a lot of red dots.

Glenn Beck is not a credible source of information about New Orleans.

I admit that I could not watch the entire interview. If he corrected those stats later on in the interview, please let me know.


Marco said...

You're lucky not to have cable and see morons like this spouting off. His voice is like fingernails on blackboard.

Pistolette said...

How disappointing. I actually liked him somewhat before I read that. For a neo-con I find him more liberal/flexible than most of the windbags out there. Bummer.

The German said...

Disappointing that any media that high-profile would make errors like that. I know that mistakes happen but those are two big ones in one show. That is some sloppy research, especially when they probably have access to Lexis/Nexis. Put in some work next time guys...

Clifton said...

Honestly, it really just makes you want to kick Glenn Beck's ass