September 11, 2017 Last Updated 8:30 am

Hurricane Irma reporting turns controversial; Spanish media remains sharply critical of Catalan independence efforts

Morning Brief: Fox News melodrama turns tragic as son of show host dies a day after his father is fired in the latest incidence of sexual harassment by on-air talent

The US media on Sunday morning turned massive Hurricane Irma into a television drama, complete with reporters swaying in the wind in a rather dumb display of daring. The lights off, the reporters generally retreated to their dry and covered areas. Irma put on quite a show, but it is likely that once 1pm ET arrived many turned away for the first week of NFL games.

Irma’s slight wobble to the west spared Florida’s east coast of worse damage and flooding, and newspapers in Miami and Fort Lauderdale realized their luck. Just how bad it was on the west coast, however, will have to be discovered on Monday.

Irma newspapers

Even Catalonia’s largest newspaper, La Vanguardia, took time from its coverage of the referendum crisis in Spain to cover Irma, displaying a dramatic shot of Miami on its front page, just below news of the independence vote still scheduled for October 1.

The New York Times, Sopan Deb:

As Irma’s Winds Rise, So Does a Debate Over TV Storm Reporting:

The tradition of television crews standing in the middle of a dangerous storm goes back decades, reflecting the hunger to be on the scene for a nationally significant event. But the news value of dangerous stand-ups — in which a correspondent is seen in the field talking to the camera — is increasingly being questioned, particularly with the rise of social media. Some critics wondered whether they are unnecessary and overly sensational spectacles, especially in cases where correspondents are struggling to deliver information.

But those same field reporters insist that the visuals from the storms are essential in persuading people to take hurricane threats seriously and getting them to leave the area. At the same time, veteran reporters say they take every precaution to stay out of life-threatening situations. On CNN, John Berman, in Miami, described flying debris nearby and took pains to say that he didn’t believe he was in serious danger.

Today is September 11, which Americans will remember being the day in 2001 when Al Qaeda attacked the Twin Towers and the Pentagon. But today is also Diada Nacional de Catalunya, the national day of Catalonia. It is a day that usually features massive demonstrations in favor of Catalonian independence.

September 11 is an odd day to celebrate national identity. It was, in 1714, the day commemorates the fall of Barcelona after a siege that had lasted thirteen months during the War of the Spanish Succession. It was a war over conflicting claims to the throne of Spain, and Catalonia picked the losing side.

Now that Irma has moved on and been downgraded, the US media will return to the covering and (it appears) normalizing the White House, but at some point the media will turn its attention to what is happening in Spain and this may become the big story of the fall.

Diada, Marta Rovira-Martínez:

Our September 11th (1714):

This is an excerpt from Liz Castro’s book ‘What’s up with Catalonia?: The causes which impel them to the separation’

Until 1714, the Crown of Aragon (Catalonia, the Kingdoms of Valencia, Mallorca, and Aragon), together with the Crown of Castile formed a confederacy borne of the marriage in 1469 between Ferdinand and Isabella, the Catholic Monarchs. Catalonia and the other lands of the Crown of Aragon maintained their own Constitutions and their own political systems based on the idea of a pact between the monarch and the representatives of the people. In virtue of this pact, the king had to swear loyalty to the Constitutions in order to be recognized. When Charles II of Spain died in 1700 without an heir, the European monarchies declared war on each other to determine a successor. While Castile sided with Philip V, grandson of Louis XVI of France, Catalonia and the other territories of the Crown of Aragon threw their support behind Charles, Archduke of Austria (later Charles VI, Holy Roman Emperor).

The loss of the war by Charles of Austria’s allies led to the Treaty of Utrecht of 1713, in virtue of which the Bourbon Phillip V was proclaimed King of Spain. But the Catalans, who had initially received support from England and who believed they might still count on such aid, decided to continue the resistance against a monarchy that had no intention of respecting its Constitutions and liberties. Barcelona lasted thirteen months under a relentless, infernal siege. To try to imagine it, remember that more than 30,000 bombs fell on a city of less than 35,000 inhabitants.

El País, John Carlin:

The Brexit and the Catalan mess

What do Brexit and the Catalan mess have in common? A preliminary list would include the nationalist desire to “regain control”; the rejection of the perceived economic subsidy of the neighbors, for which some feel disdain; and that in command there are journalists turned politicians: in the case of the Brexit, Boris Johnson; in the case of Catalan independence, Carles Puigdemont…

…The idea of ​​Catalan independence, like that of English independence, seems primitive, capricious, petty, and, I suspect, economically catastrophic. I’m not even going to disguise that I’m objective. My opinions are, like those of the whole world, the fruit of my circumstances. But I think that what is not debatable if one looks for similarities between Brexit and the Catalan mess is the following: how unnecessary that has turned out to be the tremendous problem in which Spain / Catalonia and United Kingdom / England have gotten themselves into.

The English (not the Scots) have dug their own grave but there is reason to think that both the Catalan independentistas and the political establishment of Madrid share the fault of the coming train crash.

The National, George Kerevan:

The treatment of Catalonia shows the spirit of Franco still lives on in Spain

Democracy is dying in Spain. Perhaps it was never really there. Under the thin veneer of European-style respect for democratic rights and popular sovereignty, the heirs of Franco are attempting to crush once again the desire of the people of Catalonia to run their own affairs and speak their own unique tongue without dictation from Madrid. As in 1936, when army officers rose in rebellion against the elected Republican administration and the autonomous Generalitat government in Barcelona, Spain’s right-wing Popular Party government is using force to block the Catalan independence referendum scheduled for Sunday October 1.

On Friday, Spain’s deeply-conservative attorney general, José Manuel Maza, ordered security forces to intervene and prevent any preparations for organizing the referendum, which has the democratic mandate of the Catalan electorate following the 2015 regional election which produced a pro-independence majority…

…Today, September 11, is Catalonia’s National Day. A huge pro-independence march is planned for Barcelona. Already, more than 360,000 people have registered to demonstrate. Some 1800 coaches will transport people from around Catalonia to the capital. In response to this outpouring of national determination, the head of Spain’s minority administration, Mariano Rajoy, proclaimed (without any sense of irony): “There won’t be a self-determination referendum. I will do whatever is needed to prevent it.”

El País, Miquel Noguer:

Most Catalans consider referendum neither valid nor legal, says new poll

A majority of Catalans, 56%, feel that the independence referendum announced by the regional government for October 1 is neither valid nor legal, considering the voting conditions and the way lawmakers got the referendum law passed.

A new survey by polling firm Metroscopia for EL PAÍS shows that the same percentage of citizens supports a shift in strategy toward a negotiated solution, mirroring Basque nationalism. Proponents of negotiation edge out supporters of a unilateral referendum by nearly 20 points.

The continued mess at Fox News turned tragic this weekend when shortly after Eric Bolling, co-host of a show called “The Specialists” was fired and his show cancelled following allegations that Bolling sent nude pictures to colleagues at the cable channel. This weekend, Bolling’s son was found dead, apparently of a suicide.

The story of the text messages was first broken by HuffPost’s Yashar Ali, and was but the latest incidence of sexual harassment at the network, which has lost much of its on-air talent this year.

HuffPost (8-4-17), Yashar Ali:

Fox News Host Sent Unsolicited Lewd Text Messages To Colleagues, Sources Say

Eric Bolling, a longtime Fox News host, sent an unsolicited photo of male genitalia via text message to at least two colleagues at Fox Business and one colleague at Fox News, a dozen sources told HuffPost.

Recipients of the photo confirmed its contents to HuffPost, which is not revealing their identities. The women, who are Bolling’s current and former Fox colleagues, concluded the message was from him because they recognized his number from previous work-related and informal interactions. The messages were sent several years ago, on separate occasions.

The women did not solicit the messages, which they told colleagues were deeply upsetting and offensive.

HuffPost (9-8-17), Yashar Ali:

Eric Bolling Out At Fox News

Fox News has parted ways with host Eric Bolling, the network confirmed Friday, just over a month after an exclusive HuffPost report revealed Bolling sent inappropriate text messages to current and former female colleagues.

News of the departure comes after two HuffPost reports revealed a pattern of inappropriate behavior by Bolling, who co-hosts “Fox News Specialists.” Fox News will cancel the program, it said in a statement.

“Eric Bolling and Fox have agreed to part ways amicably,” the network said. “We thank Eric for his ten years of service to our loyal viewers and wish him the best of luck.”

NY Post (9-9-17), Dean Balsamini:

Eric Bolling’s son found dead

The 19-year-old son of former Fox News Channel anchor Eric Bolling was found dead Friday night, according to reports. Eric Chase Bolling Jr. apparently took his life Friday evening in Boulder, CO, where he attended the University of Colorado, multiple reports said.

The elder Bolling confirmed the death Saturday in a statement on his Twitter account: “Adrienne and I are devastated by the loss of our beloved son Eric Chase last night. Details still unclear. Thoughts, prayers appreciated.”

Photo: Diada by Ajuntament de Sant Llorenç d’Hortons, used under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic

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