Tucker Carlson and whales
We aren’t whaleologists — actually, the term is cetologist; we just looked it up — but neither is Tucker Carlson. So take it with all the grains of salt in the ocean when the Fox News gasbag blames Joe Biden for an elevated rate of whale deaths off the Atlantic Coast. Carlson’s rant, “The Biden Whale Extinction,” claims an uptick in offshore wind exploration for a die-off. That exploration involves some targeted sound mapping that may be upsetting whales’ navigation systems.
As pure PR strategy, Carlson’s theory floats: Everyone loves whales, so if something can be blamed for killing whales, everyone will hate that thing. Twelve Jersey Shore mayors — with plenty of other reasons to oppose offshore wind — are calling for an offshore wind moratorium, as are other pols.
But as science, it stinks, and sinks.
Start with data. In the last two months, two sperm whales and eight humpbacks have beached, five of them on the Jersey Shore. One just washed ashore on Long Island’s Lido Beach. That’s not good, but it’s out of context. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration reported 19 humpback whale strandings along the coast in 2022 and 10 in 2021 — far less than the 33 that died in 2020, the 27 in 2019, 25 in 2018 and 34 in 2017. Why was Carlson not then howling about Donald Trump’s mass slaughter of gentle, majestic marine mammals? The question answers itself.
Another question that answers itself: Why has Carlson never aired a segment sounding alarms about the sounds produced during offshore oil exploration, which an expert at the federal government’s Center for Marine Acoustics says are much more intense than anything from wind development?
There are a range of reasons whales might be dying; commercial shipping is a chief culprit. Arrive at an answer first, guided by science — then determine how to curb it. Give no credence to a freakout from the same people who have thrown lie after lie at wind power. They’re shooting hot air out their blowholes.