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NBC’s Brian Williams tries to tie recent tornadoes to global warming … again

With a death toll of 319 and rising throughout six states after a run of severe weather over the past few days, some think there is something man is doing that is causing this destructive weather.

Politicians have tried to link the two. After a patch of rough weather devastated Georgia in February 2008, the 2004 Democratic presidential nominee, Massachusetts Sen. John Kerry offered the possibility more intense storms were ahead if “global warming” wasn’t addressed.

And on Thursday night’s broadcast of “NBC Nightly News,” anchor Brian Williams attempted to do the same thing and link anthropogenic climate change to the tornadic activity. He asked Greg Forbes of The Weather Channel if it was something “we have done” with the climate to cause this. (h/t Sean Sullivan, FM 106.5 in Mobile, Ala.)

“Let’s be candid here,” Williams said. “When you and I go home, you see friends, family, you get e-mail from people you know, people ask the same question, what’s going on here? Is this something we have done? What has happened to the climate, because it seems so much of what we cover is relentless weather-related tragedy?”

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But this isn’t the first time Williams has tried to tie these types of weather events to climate change. On his May 12, 2008 broadcast, Williams asked meteorologist Bill Karins a similar question – to settle the issue “once and for all.”

“[I] talked to three people, casual conversation today, all of them smart saying, ‘I don’t know, we must be doing something to our Earth.’ So, once and for all, what’s going on here?” Williams asked.

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Although that seems like a harmless-enough question, late last year it was reported General Electric (GE), a stakeholder in Williams’ parent company NBC Universal, received $24.9 million in grants, much of it tied to so-called green energy technology, from the $800-billion stimulus President Barack Obama signed into law in 2009. Therefore, establishing such a link could serve in in GE’s interest some argue.