Did Major Media Overdo Coverage of Hurricane Irene?
posted at 2:45 pm on August 28, 2011 by Howard Portnoy
Hurricane Irene has not quite left the New York City area, but you’d never know it had arrived by looking out my Manhattan window. Both vehicular and pedestrian travel is pretty normal for a Sunday.
New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who shut down the transportation system and mandatorily evacuated an estimated 2 million city residents, declared, “We did the right thing.” I am not a huge fan of the mayor, but this time I think he is right. There was no telling in advance what path the storm might take, nor was there any way of knowing whether power lines would go down.
As it is, there was some flooding, as expected, though fortunately not the worst-case scenario in which the Hudson River overflowed its banks, pouring torrents of brackish water down the city’s concrete canyons and into its subways.
So the question is why do some commentators seem—there is no other word for it—disappointed instead of relieved? Toby Harnden, writing in the UK newspaper The Telegraph, grumbles:
The media and the United States federal government [are] trying to live up to their own doom-laden warnings and predictions while a sizeable number of ordinary Americans just carried on as normal and even made gentle fun of all the fuss.
Harnden describes CNN’s Anderson Cooper as looking crestfallen at the news that the rain, which comprised much of the New York Irene experience, was not going to get any worse. He quotes Cooper as saying, “Wow, because this isn’t so bad. It’s an annoying rain but it isn’t even a sideways rain.”
Granted, the hurricane was not the apocalypse that the media makers were told it would be by the experts. I’m just not sure why that’s such a bad thing.
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