Monday, September 7, 2020

New York Times' Ignorance about Lake Travis is kinda funny

"He who sits in the heavens shall laugh;
The Lord shall hold them in derision."
Psalm 2:4

Apparently, there was some pro-Trump boat rally on Lake Travis this past weekend. Doesn't sound like our idea of a good time, but whatever. Free country, etc.

Nevertheless, by Saturday afternoon, the New York Times thought it had found a "MAJOR" story:

Looks bad, doesn't it?!?

Until you read the story:
The Sheriff’s Office in Travis County received “multiple” calls of boats in distress starting at 12:15 p.m. local time, a spokeswoman, Kristen Dark, said.

Christa Stedman, a spokeswoman for Austin-Travis County Emergency Medical Services, said no injuries had been reported.

Firefighters pulled “numerous” people out of the water, said Braden Frame, president of the Lake Travis Fire Fighters Association. It was not clear how many had needed rescuing, he said.

The number of boats participating in the gathering was not immediately clear. Ms. Dark said there were “too many variables” to say for sure what exactly happened.
Soo...nobody can "say for sure what exactly happened. Yet they published the story with the most sensationalistic, narrative-driven, headline possible. Got it.

Except that our friends at Travis Tracker decided to do actual journalism:
But according to eye-witnesses and Austin-Travis County EMS, one confirmed sinking this afternoon was not associated with the parade and with no serious injuries reported.


An Austin American-Statesman photographer reported at least three vessels appearing to have been "swamped" in the somewhat choppy waters following rainfall in the area over the week, but these incidents appear to have been at the onset of the event and not en route and easily mitigated.
So, the only "sinking" on Lake Travis last saturday had nothing to do with the Trump event. Meanwhile, three boats associated with the Trump event had very minor mechanical challenges. All this at an event 1200+ boats.

In other words, nothingburger.

That being said, here's what's really funny: This is Lake Travis. Sketchy stuff happenes there every single weekend. It's background noise.

Try running the phrase "Alcohol related accidents lake travis" though any search engine:
The reason you have over 500,000 hits on that search is because people get drunk and stupid on Lake Travis EVERY. SINGLE. WEEKEND.

Bottom Line: What makes this story so funny isn't just that the New York Times was wrong. Although that's certainly true. No, what makes this REALLY funny is that the activity in question was completely normal for Lake Travis at this time of year.

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