Found this old blog post last night, when something else reminded me of it. I was blogging on another website at the time, when I originally wrote this. It seemed worth a reprise here on WordPress, since I still feel the same disdain for sensationalized and over-hyped News Media reporting, and the whole “If it bleeds, it leads!” TV news mentality.
Whether this type of “news” aberration comes from NBC, CNN, ABC or Fox, or the local minor league TV news stations, it makes no difference to me, and for me, this is not about politics, but all about professional journalistic standards and ethics. Which seem to be standards that the best professional journalists in the print, radio, and television news media genuinely cared about in the past, but seldom care as much about now.
It’s ironic to me that now in our instant information age, and during the never ending 24/7 news cycle, we so often get a lot of crap instead of well reported and presented news and information that we can use to stay well informed.
August 28, 2011
It Really WAS Getting DEEP Out There!!!
During the TV news coverage of our dear and now departed Hurricane Irene, often the “on the scene” TV reporters seemed to be trying to find the worst possible place to stand, to show just how bad things really were out there. It was often very difficult for TV reporters to find a place where they could impress their viewers with video images of just how bad things really were, out there in the middle of the hurricane’s fury, since during most of Irene’s path up the East Coast, things weren’t that bad out there at all.
The sensationalized storm of TV news media hype in advance of Irene’s arrival, gave many viewers a fearful impression of Irene as a monstrously huge killer hurricane capable of causing a holocaust of death and destruction all along the East Coast of the US. This is just what the TV news media biz wanted, because fearful news viewers are more likely to keep on watching, so fear mongering is good for higher ratings, which is good for more advertising dollars.
But Irene’s landfall looked no worse than a bad day at the beach, all along its East Coastal path, all day long, and well into the evening. There was lots of wind and heavy rain under grey overcast skies, but seldom anything worse than that. Even the surf wasn’t that bad, relatively speaking, and I’ve seen much worse wave conditions while I was there on the beach in person.
There was no severe flooding in New York City, and the Big Apple didn’t become New Orleans after Katrina, like some news people had spent much air time speculating about how it could happen.
A hurricane that wasn’t nearly as bad as its advance billing was a very good thing for the people in its path. But this was bad news for the TV news, so the “on the scene” TV news reporters began their scramble to find the worst possible place to stand, to make things look really bad out there, as they tried to get the video that would lessen the damage to their news station’s credibility.
The winner of the “Worst Possible Place to Stand” contest goes to Fox 5 TV reporter Tucker Barnes, who while “on the scene” in Ocean City, Maryland, managed to get completely covered by a mysterious brown and foamy substance.
Barnes went to great lengths to describe this smelly brown stuff that he was getting covered with, since he didn’t have a clue what it was.
Apparently, it was raw sewage… Check it out:
9/9/2011 – Postscript: I couldn’t help but be amused when I just noticed that the YouTube link I posted has been removed, and this is the reason given:
“Fox reporter Tucker Barnes …”
“This video is no longer available due to a copyright claim by WNYW Fox 5.”
My comment: With all that fecal matter flying around, the copyright claim by Fox News must be for Intellectual Property. Because they’ve been slinging around this type of “Intellectual Property” for years.
Now don’t get mad, Fox News fans… because it could have been just as likely to have been a guy from any of the other TV news media outlets, and if so, whichever one it was, would get a similarly sharp and barbed reaction from me.
But this time, it was your guy… and hey, those are the breaks. So let’s not get all culture war-ish about it, okay? Life is too short and stressful enough as it is, to waste getting all in a lather about something small and ultimately trivial like this.
I mentioned something about “irony” earlier, and the real story of Hurricane Irene, is that after all the blowing winds and waves of advance media hype made Irene seem like an oncoming Ultimate East Coast Hurricane From Hell, Irene refused to put out for her East Coast date… (she was such a tease!) In the height of irony, Irene pulled a move that no one in the news media, or even the meteorologists ever predicted, even during the height of all the hype about the storm.
After heading north off the shore of my home state of Massachusetts, and blowing by us with some gusts of wind, and some heavy rain that was mostly gone by late afternoon, my wife and I felt safe and unconcerned enough about the weather to go for a woodland hike in our favorite woodland reservation. There was almost no damage or disturbance, and not even a brief loss of electrical power for us here.
But then Irene unexpectedly veered to the west, leaving the Atlantic coast and moving inland into Northern New Hampshire, where she dumped torrential rains for many hours, and caused some of the worst and most destructive flooding in that region in many years. Numerous paved roadways were washed out with great gaping gouges that made these roads impassable for over three weeks until road crews could get them fixed.
The raging flood waters picked up parked cars and swept them away long distances to other locations. Many building and homes were flooded halfway up the walls of the first floors. But fortunately, casualties and fatalities were few and rare.
But Irene wasn’t done yet, and then she pulled a move not seen in New England by a hurricane since the 1930s. She moved northwest all the way into Vermont, where she dumped even more torrential rains for even longer, and caused even worse flooding and flood related destruction in Vermont than what happened in New Hampshire. Again, casualties and fatalities in Vermont were rare, but more roads were washed out and cars were swept away by the furious flood waters that flooded more homes and commercial buildings, and the damage was extensive.
It almost seemed like all that sensational media hype and speculation in advance about the potential for great damage and loss of life that Hurricane Irene could cause along the East Coast, caused her to come to life with a devious and diabolical personality, and she resented her intentions being made to seem so predictable. So she pulled a major misdirection to make all the media hype masters and fear mongers look foolish, and saved the real demonstration of her fierce and formidable power for places no one ever expected it would happen.
I even heard a story about an old man in Vermont who said that as the winds gusted in the skies above him, and the rain fell down hard in sheets too thick to see through, as the boiling fury of rising flood waters raged… he could hear the loud but unmistakable sound of a woman hysterically laughing. The old man added that the laughter of the woman he heard laughing so wildly, gave him a cold chill and then an icy shiver crawled up his spine, as he felt an immensely massive presence, and the realization came to him that the woman’s wild laughter was coming from very high above him, within the great grey storm clouds churning in the sky.
Irene was having the last laugh, and greatly enjoying her laughter as she laughed with delighted scorn at the foolishness and folly of feeble humans who had presumed to know her so well, when they knew nothing. She was a massively enormous primal force of nature, and they were nothing. She had power far beyond their comprehension and they were powerless to stop her. The winds picked up and the rains fell down even more torrential as they fed the mighty flood waters, while Irene laughed wildly again, as her laughter rose ever higher, echoing upward towards the infinity of forever.
The old man would speak no more of her laughter… but he trembled as he remembered.