Don Lemon has egg on his face
All across Florida, electricity was out. Televisions were mute here and afar, but not our city officials. Elected spokepersons wanted to get the word out we were okay, and went on major media blitz from CNN to Fox News post-Irma. But the message wasn’t exactly what the mainstream networks were looking for…wait, what? The Keys weren’t washed away with the storm? As City Manager Jim Scholl told Anderson Cooper of CNN, “Just because you wrote it and read it aloud doesn’t make it true.”
Rewatch County Commissioner Heather Carruthers put CNN’s Don Lemon in his place, now available on YouTube. Lemon starts off the interview saying, “25 percent of homes were destroyed and 65 percent damaged.” Carruthers immediately stops him by saying that was a premature assessment, since FEMA had only just gotten there. Lemon asks if FEMA Director Brock Long is wrong. Carruthers pushes back: “I take exception to 90 percent.” Lemon gets defensive and says he didn’t say 90 percent. Then Carruthers brings it home with, “In my math, 25 plus 65 is 90 percent, Don.” Boom, mic drop.
“It was a long day and I had done a lot of interviews,” said a surprised Carruthers when told about the video. “They weren’t looking at the whole Keys, all 120 miles of it. These folks wanted to sell a headline. I didn’t want to hear statistics misused and others writing off our economy; it would be destructive in the long run.”
Rep. Carlos Curbelo endured Fox Business anchor Liz Clamen calling the Keys “a serial money sucker” as she paraphrased an article from Forbes Magazine. Chicago writer Omri Ben Shahar called for the Keys not to be rebuilt since “50,000 homes were destroyed.” Curbelo went to bat against Clamen’s gross paraphrasing and Shahar’s ridiculous notion and false statistics.
“That’s an absolute slap in the face to the Florida Keys,” Curbelo said to Clamen, “The Keys are an economic driver for Florida and the entire country. It’s insensitive and disrespectful.” Again, thanks, YouTube.
Body count appeared to be another theme. “There are so many bodies everywhere,” cooed Clamen to Curbelo, who quickly said there was no evidence. Mayor Craig Cates’s interview with Fox’s Neil Cavuto started in the same tone. “This is too gruesome a question,” said Cavuto “They are discovering bodies and seeing very tough things.”
“I can tell you that’s not the case,” said Cates. “So far, eight deaths in Monroe County, three in Key West and two from natural causes. Your figures are not correct.” Oh, snap!
“The media is a necessary animal but just not always an accurate one.” – Heather Carruthers, county commissioner.