Meet Shep Smith. He’s a Fox News anchor with absolutely no meteorological credentials that we could find. That didn’t stop him from filling his Floridian viewers with a message of hope about the impending Hurricane Matthew: “This [storm] moves 20 miles to the west and you and everyone you know are dead. All of you.”
Matthew has already wrecked havoc in the Caribbean and caused around two million people in the US to evacuate their homes. Is this already disastrous storm projected to move 20 miles inland? It is, at this point, unlikely. (The National Hurricane Center updates advisories every three hours here.) But if it did, Shep wants his viewership to know, “You can’t survive it. It’s just not possible, unless you’re very, very lucky.” He then looks back cheerily towards the camera and adds, “And your kids die too.” Thanks bud!
There’s nothing laudable about spreading mass panic, but exercising caution is decidedly safer than assuming a destructive weather system is actually a government conspiracy.