Quotes of the Day

posted at 9:00 pm on August 28, 2011 by Ed Morrissey

Someone has to say it: Cable news was utterly swept away by the notion that Irene would turn out to be Armageddon. National news organizations morphed into local eyewitness-news operations, going wall-to-wall for days with dire warnings about what would turn out to be a Category 1 hurricane, the lowest possible ranking. “Cable news is scaring the crap out of me, and I WORK in cable news,” Bloomberg correspondent Lizzie O’Leary tweeted.

I say this with all due respect to the millions who were left without power, to those communities facing flooding problems, and of course to the families of the 11 people (at last count) who lost their lives in storm-related accidents.

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Now, hurricanes are not jokes, and neither was this one. Let’s just get that fact up top where it belongs. As she barreled up the coast over these past few days, Irene took 14 lives and caused an estimated “tens of billions” of dollars in damage, reports the AP.

But, that said, as the air clears and the winds die down, as they had done by about 2 p.m. here in Central Massachusetts, the apocalyptic scenarios and complete drowning of Manhattan under an unrelenting tide that 24-hour news outlets like CNN and others would have had you believe were an inevitable fact had all vanished like a fart in a brisk 65 mph wind. We were not immune to its effect, of course, having fired off a warning of our own in the swell before the storm. Lucky for everyone in the East, the storm did not “eff everyone up.” We’re grateful for that! But we can also sense when it’s time for a proper mea culpa.

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“People are saying they’ve dodged a bullet … [but] people have lost lives. I don’t think you can say we dodged a bullet.”

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The monster storm also provided a perfect opportunity for TV reporters to brave the winds and serve up a lot of hype before the hurricane hit and again when the torrential downpours began to drench streets and highways.

Not to mention the great photo opps [sic] for politicians like New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

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And even after the storm passes in the Northeast, the danger will persist. Rivers could crest after the skies the clear, and the ground in most of the region is saturated from a summer of persistent rain. In Rhode Island, thick with bays, inlets and coastline, authorities were worried about coastal flooding at Sunday evening’s high tide.

In upstate New York, rising waters at a dam on a creek sounded sirens and officials urged residents to seek higher ground. They did not believe the dam was in danger of imminent failure.

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“I want people to understand that this is not over. The impacts of this storm will be felt for some time, and the recovery effort will last for weeks or longer.”

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