Wednesday Crib Sheet: Alabama Weatherman Takes Diane Sawyer To Task Over Tornado Warning Flub

Ridiculous. The arrest of “journalists” at the Occupy movement has caused the US to drop in its ranking of press freedom.

Reporters Without Borders’ latest Press Freedom Index was released on Wednesday, and the list reflected some of the tumult that took place in the world in 2011, as well as the impact that those events had on journalists across the globe. Reporters became targets over and over again throughout the year, both in the Middle East and on the streets of New York.

I’m sure Reporters Without Borders didn’t bother delving into the habit many of these “journalists” had of blurring the lines between journalist and protester. No worries, we at Big Journalism did. When you cease acting like a professional during a protest and join in with the protesters, yes, you are subject to arrest if you break the law. Your media badge doesn’t give you special allowances under said law.

– Diane Sawyer’s reporting under fire for inaccurate remark on tornado warnings in Alabama:

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After being publicly criticized yesterday for a report stating Monday’s tornadoes hit Alabama residents with “no warning,” “World News” anchor Diane Sawyer backpedaled last night, saying the death toll “could have been far worse” without the tornado warning system.

That criticism?

ABC “World News” anchor Diane Sawyer reported that Alabamians had “no warning” of the tornadoes that struck Jan. 23, but Birmingham weatherman James Spann begs to differ.

Spann hits back on his blog:

NO WARNING? Get a clue. This event was forecast days in advance, and the average lead times for the entire event were 20 to 30 minutes. That is plenty of time to get to a safe place.

We were on the air non-stop from about midnight until almost 8 a.m. It has been our policy at ABC 33/40 to provide long form, uninterrupted severe weather coverage if ANY county in our market goes under a tornado warning.

No warning?

Spann called it “irresponsible journalism” and hit out on Twitter as well:

ABC reached out to Spann and did an interview with him about the incident. Spann has challenged her to a debate.

NBC really liked Obama’s speech.

Julian Assange getting his own television show, promises “controversy.”