Monday, August 29, 2011

And Now, The Next Windstorm...

Coming home from work this evening, I heard Jeffrey Kuhner of The Washington Times -- filling in for Michael Savage -- rip into "the media" for its Hurricane Irene coverage, griping about how it turned out to be tropical storm instead of a hurricane. And it gets better: he then accuses "the media" of overhyping the storm to "prop up" President Obama. Somehow, I knew the president was going to get blamed here.

And, no surprise, Rush Limbaugh gets his word in, calling it a "national embarrassment:"
It was a rainstorm and there was a lot of flooding and there were deaths associated with it, but the hype, folks, I'll tell you what this was. It was a lesson, if you pay any attention to this, the hype, the desire for chaos, I mean literally, the media desire for chaos was a great learning tool, this was a great illustration of how all of the rest of the media in news, in sports, has templates and narratives and exaggerates beyond reality, creating fear so as to create interest.
And yes, you guessed it, he finds a way to chide the president:
The media, the government are out there peddling fear when facts and calm would make for much better investments and would result in much more credibility for these people reporting this stuff. I'm gonna tell you something, Hurricane Obama -- whatever Irene's gonna cost us, it pales in comparison to the hurricane of the Obama administration.
As Nikki Finke would say, "Oh barf."

Elected officials, emergency workers and evacuees will tell you the same thing when a hurricane is barreling down on their communities. You hope and pray for the best, but you prepare for the worst. As I write this, cities in Vermont, Massachusetts, and New Jersey are all dealing with massive flooding. More than 30 people have lost their lives, and that number could go higher. Imagine the death toll had the media listened to talk radio and told us to shrug off the storm.

Meteorology is not an exact science, even though our forecasting and computer models are better than they were three decades ago. The people at the National Hurricane Center freely admit this. That's why the "forecast cone," as it's called, stretches for hundreds of miles on either side of a hurricane's predicted path. All weekend long, the NHC repeatedly warned us not to take this storm lightly. A Category 1 Hurricane and a strong tropical storm aren't that much different, and they're both destructive. Let us also remember these kinds of systems rarely hit so far north. A lot of folks aren't used to preparing for them. They need to know what's coming.

People also confuse the concept of "Continuing Coverage" with hype. Media outlets provide this kind of coverage on major events simply because a large number of people want to know just what in tarnation is going on now, not at the top and bottom of the hour. If your network doesn't provide it, somebody else will, or viewers will go to the Internet and get it there. Even in national emergencies, news is still competitive.

Consider this: Would you rather be in a relief shelter or a pine box? Would you rather be griping about your loused-up weekend at the beach or swept away by the tide? In life-or-death situations, I would rather be over-warned than under-prepared. I would be grateful that my house was still standing than shocked because nobody told me it could be blown away.

Talk radio show hosts never miss a chance to blame the media for everything they can because that is what brings in the ears and the ad dollars. Far be it from them to ever be thankful that the storm wasn't as bad as feared... or thank GOD that it wasn't. Irene weakening from a major hurricane to a tropical storm before it hit New York City isn't the fault of forecasters or media or hype. I prefer to see it as proof that GOD answers prayers and is watching over us in the middle of a spiritual battle. My words to the media haters out there ironically echo the words of Darth Vader: "I find your lack of faith disturbing."

How about this: let's just give all the talk show hosts and partisan gawkers their own conservative weather channel. They can gab for hours about how the media and the NHC is getting it wrong and how every major tropical system is overhyped by "the media" and the forecasters -- who all believe in bogus global climate change anyway -- and how we shouldn't change our plans or evacuate because it's just gonna be a really long rainstorm.

And oh yeah, it's all President Obama's fault.

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