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Hurricane hype?

August 29, 2011

Media critic Howard Kurtz writes that “cable news was utterly swept away by the notion that Irene would turn out to be Armageddon.”

Many others have weighed in on the topic — and on Kurtz. What do you think?

8 Comments leave one →
  1. Paige Lukert permalink
    August 29, 2011 4:08 pm

    Hurricane Irene has been a huge topic since the news stations started tracking it, and I think the only way to keep it a topic that everyone would be interested in, would be to exaggerate some. I don’t really agree with the way that the news stations made the storm out to be. If they knew it wasn’t going to be as bad as they thought, they should have told people! People in the upper east United States thought they were going to be blown away by this storm. They went out and bought nonperishable items and prepared for the worst. When, in all reality it was only a Category 1/ Tropical Storm.

  2. August 29, 2011 4:27 pm

    Hurricane Irene was definitely taken way out of proportion. With this said, I believe the news had a good reason for doing this. As hurricane Irene headed up the east coast many people were not taking the storm serious. While the population of people that live in this area of the United States are not used to these types of storms and the damages they cause, the news had to scare people too show the severity of what was coming. With this being done I believe many lives were saved and more preparation for the storm took place. Although the storm was not a category 1 or 2 like predicted, it still made huge damage and took to many lives. Many people that live on the east coast are thanking the news for the help they gave and the close look they keep on the storm as it passed by. We have to keep in mind that those on the east coast do not have storm shutters, underground shelters, sirens to alert them, exc. So when storms come that many may think are nothing to worry about, it’s a whole different story for this part of the United States.

  3. Arcadia permalink
    August 29, 2011 5:40 pm

    I agree whole-heartedly with Kurt. The media blew this WAY out of proportion. I was talking with a friend about the Hurricane and she was saying how bad everyone was saying it was going to be and the devestation it would reek. I was surprised becasue last I knew it was going to be a Cat.1 and those dont reek devestation. When I asked her what she had heard on the Cat. level I started laughing when she said a Cat.1. I couldnt believe what a big fuss the media was making about Irene until I actaully started thinking about it and discovered I could believe it. Every year since we had Wilma, Charlie, Jeanne, Ivan and Katrina the news is constantly blowing Hurricanes (or lower) out of proportion. The slightest breeze that comes off Africa and suddenly it’s this huge event that needs constant updating despite the fact it has no form, is MILES away, and is at leat a week from hitting anything. The news over-exaderates all of it. It pisses me off when the weather comes on and the weather man is pointing at a tiny whisp of red and saying “we’re keeping a very close eye on this band of activity” in that dramatic tone that gets your attention. Why? It’s nothing yet, so why scare everyone? I dont think the news, or anyone should be worried about a storm until it atleast has form to it. I think most Floridians are use to the news constantly over-dramaticizing tropical anythings but it is unfair to do the same to people who have never been through one. All that is doing is needlessly scaring people and thats not safe.

  4. nickburdick permalink
    August 29, 2011 6:39 pm

    While I understand and respect what Kurtz is saying in this article, it comes down to the fact that hurricanes and weather in general are, to a degree, unpredictable. If the hurricane had in fact turned out to be a monster of a storm, people would expect and want the type of coverage that the media (Not just cable news, but local radio stations also got a bit swept up over the storm) had given them. It’s hard to judge the media for being sensationalist in a scenario that is fairly unpredictable I feel.

  5. Ashley Abraham permalink
    August 29, 2011 8:36 pm

    I think the news was stretching for a story by broadcasting the worse for the NE. The news did not relay the factual knowledge of the storm being more or less a category 1 hurricane or even tropical storm, as opposed to the suggested category 5. It is as if NY wanted a storm and was disappointed by the outcome. I talked to my friend in Queens today, and she said she expected worse and was actually wondering if I was okay. She thought the west coast of FL had damage in the days prior. Once again the news gets it wrong.

  6. marywoz15 permalink
    August 29, 2011 8:48 pm

    A quick FYI. At 9 p.m. on CNN’s Piers Morgan show, the topic is whether Hurricane Irene was over-hyped. See below.

    Hurricane Irene coverage: hype or legit? And Mark Cuban, live on “Piers Morgan Tonight”
    Was the Hurricane Irene coverage hype or legitimate? We’ll host a debate on a live “Piers Morgan Tonight” – guests include New York City Speaker Christine Quinn, Brian Stelter of the New York Times and Joe Curl of Drudge Report. Also on the show is Newark Mayor Cory Booker and CNN’s Chad Myers and Gary Tuchman with the latest from Vermont.

  7. August 30, 2011 3:39 pm

    It’s impossible to look at the towns wiped out in Vermont and upstate New York and state that Irene was all hype. There are over 600,000 families still without power in Connecticut, 38 people dead, floods continue in New Jersey and Vermont, homes were destroyed on the coast and many inland homes where flooded and some even destroyed. I don’t see the hype in all of this. So far Hurricane Irene ranks as the 10th-deadliest storm since 1980 and to date, it ranks as the 8th most destructive storm economically.The Royal Wedding was hype, this is news.

  8. andrewfriedgen permalink
    August 31, 2011 9:25 pm

    Kurtz nails it right in the article–networks would lose viewers if they stopped coverage. Certain topics in media have been inflated to sobering sizes (Tiger Woods, Casey Anthony) due to the rush to have the latest facts. This leads to a spiraling effect that causes a lot of sensation. Maybe Hurricane Irene’s bloated coverage was made with pure intentions, in other words, maybe news outlets wanted to prepare the public for the worst that could happen but then that grew out of hand. It could be looked at like this: Would the news outlets rather downplay Irene and she ends up being Katrina 2.0 (causing credibility loss), or would they rather build her up and quietly ignore their folly? It’s easier for the public to forgive sensationalism than it is for the public to forgive not enough coverage on a storm that causes massive damage.

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