Join Date: Sep 2007
Thanked 20 Times in 20 Posts
Rep Power: 10
Thankfully, Irene didn't deliver the massive KO punch all along the eastern seaboard that many predicted was likely. There was catastrophic damage in several places, and lives were lost, but by and large it could have been much, much worse. My heartfelt condolences go out to those who have suffered loses.
As far as the media coverage goes, my initial reaction is one of minor annoyance. That said, we should recognize that as sailors we probably know more about weather than 90% of the folks we see on TV.
The reporting was by and large NYC centrist, meaning that all of the other reporting was simply playing a supporting role. I got the feeling that the "newsies" side of the team was eagerly awaiting being able to show footage of subways flooding, streets in NYC awash, etc. The "weather geek" side of the reporting was trying to do their best to influence folks to heed warnings and evac orders. Combined, they led to expectations which were well above the actual outcome.
As a one time instance, this isn't a bad thing.
However, IMHO it is reflective of a significant shift in the tenor of reporting from fact-based to emotion based. In the long run, this will NOT serve us well -- as others have mentioned, in the future many will evaluate future reporting as "overblown" or "alarmist" and may ignore a significant threat to their own ultimate peril. To hedge against that possibility, the media will have to "overpredict" the dangers to get people to take the prudent measures that should be taken. It becomes a viscious circle, with credibility of the reporting continuing to erode.
Our media is not serving us well, and we only have ourselves to blame. I applaud the weather guys for taking the conservative path and giving us the worst-case possibilities -- that's info that is useful and helps us to help ourselves. The news folks -- from the idiot reporters who decide that they have to be "at the spot" to report in dangerous conditions, to the producers/directors who push them to be there, to copy writers who are trying to find new and creative hyperbole to grab and keep our attention, the insurance underwriters who don't throw the BS flag at the networks for placing their people in unnecessarily dangerous situations -- should seriously review how they are really serving the public good.
Just my $0.02 --
Last edited by PorFin; 08-29-2011 at 09:57 AM.