Even the TV news community is asking if Irene was overhyped

There’s a newsgroup that just about everyone who’s in the television news reads daily called “Shoptalk” which is as old as the Internet. They have a host website called TVspy. Today they asked their own readers this question:

Was Hurricane Irene Overhyped?

By Andrew Gauthier on August 29, 2011 11:58 AM

Hurricane Irene dominated the airwaves over the weekend as many stations along the East Coast provided wall-to-wall coverage of the storm as it moved through the area. Since the hurricane proved to be less catastrophic than many had anticipated, we want to know what you think about how local stations handled the storm–leave your thoughts in the poll below…

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In the Telegraph, they sure seem to think so, this from today’s newspaper:

Perfect Storm Of Hype:

The Hurricane Irene Apocalypse That Never Was

Toby Harnden, The Daily Telegraph, 28 August 2011

The images summed up Hurricane Irene – the media and the United States federal government 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. The truth is that the dire warning beforehand suited both politicians and journalists. Irene became a huge story because it was where the media lived. For politicians, Irene was a chance to either make amends or appear in control. The White House sent out 25 Irene emails to the press on Saturday alone.

My thoughts on the Irene event are here. You can take the poll yourself at the TVspy website here, since the poll is open for anyone to participate.

 

 

91 thoughts on “Even the TV news community is asking if Irene was overhyped

  1. In New Jersey one of my sisters had her house flooded 8 miles from Manhattan. Everything in the basement was ruined. boiler, washer, dryer, air conditioners. Her first floor too, TV, radios, furniture. Everything! My other sister lost power and it won’t be back for a week.
    Multiply that by hundreds of thousands in NJ, upstate NY, PA, VT, etc.
    Don’t tell me it was hype!

  2. We had a bad one …Ike…that destroyed a condominium I owned and was occupied by my disabled son-in law. Hurricanes are nothing to fool with. When one is coming into the gulf, Carol and I get ready to head out if it aims for us. We have done that twice in recent years. My first wife and I fled to Austin to avoid Geraldo or whatever the G was ten or twelve years ago. Foolish to take chances when mother nature is on the warpath.

  3. Onion Imitates life here:
    Scientists Trace Heat Wave To Massive Star At Center Of Solar System
    August 8, 2011 | ISSUE 47•32
    According to scientists, the large star could be described as a tremendous ball of energy.
    http://www.theonion.com/articles/scientists-trace-heat-wave-to-massive-star-at-cent,21088/
    “PASADENA, CA—Groundbreaking new findings announced Monday suggest the record-setting heat wave plaguing much of the United States may be due to radiation emitted from an enormous star located in the center of the solar system.
    Scientists believe the star, which they have named G2V65, may in fact be the same bright yellow orb seen arcing over the sky day after day, and given its extreme heat and proximity to Earth, it is likely not only to have caused the heat wave, but to be responsible for every warm day in human history.
    “Our measurements indicate the massive amount of energy this thing gives off is able to travel 93 million miles and reach our planet is as little as eight and a half minutes,” said Professor Mitch Kivens, an astronomer at the California Institute of Technology. “While we can’t see them, we’re fairly certain these infrared rays strike Earth’s surface, become trapped by the atmosphere, and just heat everything up like a great big oven.”……”
    :<))

  4. Talk of Irene sucked all media oxygen out of all other stories, in particular international stories such as Libya and Syria. I heard quite a few people complain about this, so I’d say, yes it was over-hyped, particularly after it was obvious it would not maintain cat 3 or even cat 2 conditions..

  5. Although I’m a fan of some Fox News shows, I’m not a fan of its decision to cover Irene non-stop all weekend. Unless you were right in its path and didn’t know how to get news from the Internet, it was just a huge waste of airtime. The coverage itself was sensationalist to the point of being silly, and today’s efforts to walk back their decisions was lame. It’s shameful when politicians at all levels of government can prey upon the fears of citizens and the news media fails to point out when they might be serving their own interests more than the public’s.
    REPLY: I agree, Fox was just as OTT as the rest – Anthony

  6. A hurricane loses power as it moves into colder waters. If it had hit Georgia, Irene would have probably have been notable enough to go into the retired names pile (remember, Ike was only a Cat-2). However, it went far enough north to just not be a problem.
    The absolute stupidity of the on-the-scene, on the other hand is ridiculous. The number one way people get killed in Tropical Storms is that they go down to the beach to look at the waves, get caught in one, and then get washed out to sea. The media is just encouraging this sort of idiotic nonsense by their own reporters.

  7. I’m almost attempted to give the media a pass on this one. They were, after all, responding in their usual fashion to the official predictions of the forecasters. As Anthony noted elsewhere, while the forecast of Irene’s track was quite good, the wind speed predictions were flawed. Who knows if the mainstream media would have behaved differently if the dire weather predictions (and subsequent evacuations and other government actions based on those flawed predictions) were closer to what actually occurred.

  8. It’s the aftermath that is more amusing. Obama still thinks Irene is a threat even though it’s not a hurricane any longer and storms do not have a reverse gear.

  9. Here in UK the BBC Radio news on Saturday morning were talking about Irene saying that 2,000,000 people along the east coast were going to be evacuated. Gloomberg had ordered all public transport to grind to a halt, and we were told to expect huge damage to NYC. The BBC is the mouthpiece for AGW and loves to exaggerate weather events that are triggered by heat and downplaying those triggered by cold.
    This whole AGW is turning into a series of real life fairy tales, we have the Emperors New Clothes, where the majority of the general public wonder what Gore and co are banging on about,. We can see that sea levels aren’t rising, that the weather is not hotter, that storms are on average no worse than they were 40 years ago. Chicken Licken goes without saying, but the real potential tragedy is the Boy Who Cried Wolf. Two or three doom laden warnings about hurricanes, where there is no real threat and the next one ignored could lead to tragedy. Just had a little smile to myself, I thought of Al Gore as Humpty Dumpty LOL!!

  10. I guess it is damned if you do and damned if you don’t. However, I did enjoy all the reporters doing their best imitation of Dan Rather in Galveston?

  11. Actually, through the weekend I kept flipping over to CNN and a few other stations for pure entertainment. Not to belittle the areas that really did get pounded, because there were some and with tragic results, but for the most part it wasn’t a lot different than the thunderstorms that wash through this area all summer. In fact, this year we even had a fatality in Calgary when someone was overtaken by a small flood and stuck under a vehicle, where he drowned.
    Meanwhile, reporters standing in the best open space they could find, braving the onslaught of wind and rain, squinting into the camera lights, describing in breathless detail how it felt, watching the occasional bit of siding or roofing material flying past, showing trees that had fallen in the wind or other relatively normal damage… it was enteraining to watch and a bit pathetic.
    I say it’s definitely a lot of crying “Wolf”. Whatever would happen if a Cat4 or 5 really DID hit the same areas? Probably a lot of people would be out endangering themselves, thinking “Oh, it’ll be like Irene”… and hey, there’s some doofus in brand new rain gear outside, why can’t I be?

  12. After the beating Bush took on Katrina, no potential disaster will ever go unhyped by politicians or the news. There was substantial flooding in a number of areas, the coast was just lucky the tidal surge and winds didn’t hit just right as they did with Katrina. Other weather conditions conspired to cut the lets out from under the storm as well, so it weakened pretty quicky.
    When dealing with millions of people and a hurricane, better safe than sorry is a pretty good bet.

  13. .
    >>>JMS
    You see, the biblical prediction of Armageddon was TRUE!!! You have seen the testimony here, with your very own eyes – a washer and dryer were destroyed during the storm!!
    Praise the Lord (or not, as the case may be)……
    /sarc
    .

  14. >>>Ralph,
    My sister won’t be able to live in her house for months. Maybe it might even be condemned but thanks for caring. Just FYI, lack of empathy is the sign of psychopathy.

  15. Just how do you “overhype” the potential for a major hurricane to make landfall in NYC?
    And the fact that “TV media” – which is constantly derided at WUWT as being completely untrustworthy (i.e., doesn’t fit with Anthony’s agenda) – is asking whether Irene was overhyped proves that Irene was overhyped.
    And if you needed any more proof, well, there’s an online poll.
    REPLY: “Just how do you “overhype” the potential for a major hurricane to make landfall in NYC?” Well if you are Bill McKibben, you simply open your mouth and speak. In the media, wall to wall coverage with nothing to cover and goofy liveshots is the way. I worked in television for over 20 years, I know hype and how they do it, and I’ve had many an argument with producers over the value of such things. One time I got chewed out for disagreeing with a news anchor live on air that what we had that day was a “freak storm”. She asked ahead of time if it was accurate to say “freak storm” and I said no, and they used it anyway. Idiots. The weekend was full of hype like that.
    – Anthony

  16. The BBC, both radio and TV, overhyped it. I think they were hoping for a New Orleans type disaster that they could blame on “climate change”, since they blame everything else out of the ordinary on “climate change”.

  17. Oh yea, Krugman has a big scary AGW piece in the NYT quoting the “97 percent of all climate scientists agree” number. That quote has more lives than Felix the Cat. Assuming he wrote it when he was still under the assumption NYC would be swept away in Day After Tormorrow like convulsions.

  18. In the battle for ratings, viewers and individual advancement, it’s easy to see networks and reporters get wound up in a game of one-upmanship, particularly with several days lead-in. Weather reporters aren’t really reporters anyway and are regarded as a nice piece of living room furniture, but they love the focus and attention like anybody else and they had it for a few days to make the most of it. They lost me on the day the storm was tracking north from east of Florida.

  19. Hudson says:
    August 29, 2011 at 10:28 am
    that was the silver lining around our somewhat irritating dark cloud. we lost all electric power… along with it the TV. I am very thankful. I got my several days’ worth of sleep this weekend.

  20. And let’s not forget Pat Michael’s evidence that it was “overhyped.”

    It is doubtful that Irene will even cough up eight bodies

    Now if it had “coughed up” significantly more than 8 bodies,it might be a different matter entirely.
    [snip – This is in poor taste to put a list of victims by full names, we get your point without making families have these names spewed all over the net simply because you don’t like Pat Michaels and are too much of a coward to put your own full name to posts- Yes he made a gaffe, then corrected it, now move on. – Anthony]

  21. PaulH says:
    August 29, 2011 at 10:36 am
    I’m almost attempted to give the media a pass on this one. They were, after all, responding in their usual fashion to the official predictions of the forecasters. As Anthony noted elsewhere, while the forecast of Irene’s track was quite good, the wind speed predictions were flawed.

    In addition, some of the NHC’s Advisories seemed worded to avoid suggesting that non-core wind speeds were less than hurricane strength and that the core was disintegrating.
    Over-reactions by politicians, especially warmists like Bloomberg, also played a part in encouraging media alarmism.

  22. We use the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Intensity Scale and ACE to quantify Hurricanes.
    I think we need a new scale, the “MSM Hysterical Fear Mongering Hurricane Driven Scale” and the AAR . . the Accumulated Advertising Revenues to measure the degree of ridiculous media coverage.

  23. Hey, I’m an AGW catastrophist and I agree that Irene was overhyped. The question is: by whom? By scientists or by the media?

  24. There is a difference between ‘being prepared for the worst’ and ‘predicting the future.’
    The emphasis was necessary given the uncertainty of the exact consequences of the storm. To paraphrase Louis Pasteur, ‘Survival favors the prepared man.’
    He who hopes for the best and prepares for the worst is never disappointed.
    I’m guessing that after decades of AGW hype, the press just sort of got into the habit – alarmism sells papers.
    The old observation that ‘the only thing in common among all those who predict doomsday is that thay are all exactly wrong’ seems to hold.

  25. Meteorologists need to decide what the facts of a hurricane are. Then they need to deliver only the facts. The size of the cloud system as seen from satellite is not a fact of the hurricane. As I discovered decades ago, the cloud system can cover the entire state of Florida yet the hurricane can do a tiny bit of damage.
    The only time that an eyewitness on-the-scene report is justified is when that report could actually aid people to flee. Obviously, that is never.
    People complaining about flooding, loss of power, and similar phenomena were born yesterday. If a hurricane of any magnitude is barreling down on you, expect to have flooding, loss of power, and so on. In fact, expect it from a tropical storm. However, flooding and such items should not be the topics of TV news broadcasts unless the region has not seen a hurricane or tropical storm in decades.
    I will make exceptions for the Katrinas and Camilles. However, because every hurricane is treated as a Katrina or Camille on TV, no one watching TV warnings would know that the hurricane under discussion is something special, namely, a Katrina or Camille.
    Your new motto: Do Not Frighten the Viewing Audience Unless You Want Them to Be Frightened.
    So, the broadcast decision is this: Do we want our viewing audience to be frightened?

  26. That poll feels a bit biased, options are like “bad, bad, bad, other”. Funny thing how few people take the “other” choice, though. Maybe they’re afraid to take the option with no description?

  27. Over the Top Disorder – OTD
    Yes, hurricanes are serious business. However the news media seem to have been trained to perform in concert when anything climate-related may occur (weather and climate are confounded). Maybe they actually believe their own propaganda. And now they have to backtrack in an effort to regain lost credibility in order to make people hyperventilate reliably over AGW. All of these episodes make people less gullible and more skeptical over time.

  28. Hudson: You know Fox News is overreaching when Geraldo Rivera is standing in the rain in front of the News Corp building in a rain slicker babbling about the immense intensity of the storm.

  29. [snip – Way off topic – politcs not media – Anthony]

    Anthony – it is on the subject of whose “overhyping’ you choose to highlight. Is saying a hurricane is a message from god not “overhyping?”
    In addition, there are a constant stream of comments here about “communists” and the like – political comments that are tangentially related to topics of posts.
    For example:.
    Please explain why my comment was any more “off-topic” or “politics not media” than the following that you allowed:

    It’s the aftermath that is more amusing. Obama still thinks Irene is a threat even though it’s not a hurricane any longer and storms do not have a reverse gear.

    REPLY: Because your comment was not only offtopic, but intended to threadjack, and no matter who was saying it “was a message from God” I’d delete it because we have a policy on the issue, along with discussing HAARP, bigfoot, UFO’s and other such garbage. Get over it. -Anthony

  30. The media managed to frighten the Mayor of New York City. He is a tough old bird. But he closed the subway system. Does anyone know what that means to people who live in Manhattan? It means that the vast majority of the public has no transportation for the time that the subways are closed. Closing the subway system in Manhattan is comparable to forbidding, under penalty of law, driving in St. Louis.

  31. Lots of flooding going on. A good number of my coworkers who work from home not working today because of the damage. I don’t know.. can you really overhype a hurricane? I’ve been through a couple in my life, seen the damage caused and probably not a good idea to treat this as a ho-hum event. I’m just assuming people are upset there wasn’t more gore (no pun intended) and destruction or perceived, but those affected greatly probably are thinking much different.

  32. This is in poor taste to put a list of victims by full names,

    Ok, fair enough. I could just re-post without the names, but let’s just let that go.

    …simply because you don’t like Pat Michaels and are too much of a coward to put your own full name to posts- Yes he made a gaffe, then corrected it, now move on.

    OK. Pat Michaels isn’t a “coward” because he uses his own name when he writes a comment about only 8 bodies being “coughed up?”
    Gaffe? Really? You call that a “gaffe?”
    And I think that “scrubbed” is more accurate than “correction.” Did he make a statement about his original phrasing, or was his post just silently edited?
    REPLY: Scrubbed would imply removal. Correction is changing words/spelling. Now if you have something to discuss about TV media, then discuss it, otherwise take a hike. I get tired of your thread jackings here. Note the policy page. Note there I state WUWT has a low tolerance level for people using taxpayer funded resources to spout snark from the comfort of anonymity. – Anthony

  33. I feel for those who have had losses due to Irene. However, the media and the weather elites have a responsibility to state clearly what they know and to qualify statements or projections about which they do not know with a great deal of precision.
    It’s not good to ignore any hurricane, but neither is it helpful to claim that something is the ‘biggest, baddest, worst’ when it simply is not.
    Our family had a chuckle when a Weather Channel reporter in Virgina Beach was outside, but stressed he was under a hotel awning for safety reasons, blathered on about “safety, stay inside, only professionals should be out, etc…” when a group of about 6 young guys in nothing but swim trunks danced behind him! Quickly followed by an SUV that stopped, rolled down the passenger window and calmly took a cellphone pic of the reporter who was zipped up and covered head to toe!
    Hilarious! I love regular Americans!

  34. Yes, it was over-hyped. If you build your town on a floodplain then floods will happen.
    In Texas my mom had to be pulled out of a flash flood that was trying to sweep her away by my granddad but there was no 24/7 cable news industry back then to go nuts over everything that might affect them in the slightest like that “great” 5.8 earthquake they just had.

  35. My brother in Columbia, Maryland: “The devastation. There are leaves down on my lawn. There are also leaves on my deck”. My sister in Va. Beach, a block away from the ocean, ignored the media.
    I think some well deserved ridicule is in order.
    Thousands in the Midwest have homes flooded every Spring. And did anyone on the East Coast hear of Joplin, Missouri?
    It is my hope that adults take back science and the media, but it might take a number of generations.

  36. JMS says:
    August 29, 2011 at 11:03 am
    >>>Ralph,
    My sister won’t be able to live in her house for months. Maybe it might even be condemned but thanks for caring. Just FYI, lack of empathy is the sign of psychopathy.
    ==============================================================
    JMS, I can’t speak for Ralph, but we all do care, and I hope your sister’s home is redeemable. So, yes, there are examples of personal loss and tragedy related to this storm. That said, did the flooding of your sister’s home warrant shutting down the entire eastern shore? Wouldn’t it had been better if we had concentrated on the areas that may have had significant difficulties?
    One of the problems with sensationalizing these storms is that it will cause people to become immune to the warnings. As many can testify, in the area I live, tornado sirens are so frequent no one pays attention to them any more. I really don’t think we want that in the case of hurricanes.
    Now, if you guys really need help, just ask, we’ll be there just as soon as we get this little mess in Joplin cleaned up.
    James

  37. In the media, wall to wall coverage with nothing to cover and goofy liveshots is the way.

    People love to watch those live shots, and that’s why they do it – because it attracts viewers. Are you really so elitist that you’d pass judgement on the viewing public for enjoying “goofy” liveshots? Hey – it’s the free market, giving the public what it wants so that widgets can be sold. Is the media responsible for what people enjoy watching? How about “personal responsibility?”
    But much of the argument being made is that it was “overhyped” in the sense that the potential for more significant damage was discussed, repeatedly, and the eventual outcome was less serious in terms of the strength of the hurricane.
    From your original post:

    …but as this storm moves in the Washington-Baltimore and NYC areas, it just doesn’t seem all that bad as it was advertised to be.

    Not as bad as “advertised?” Is reporting on the potential strength of the storm equivalent to “advertisement?” “Goofy liveshots” were real time – not relevant to the question of whether the potential danger of the storm was “overhyped.”
    So I’ll ask again – how do you “overhype” the potential of a major hurricane making landfall in New York City? “Goofy” liveshots don’t cause the mayor of New York to close the subways.
    REPLY:Elitist? No, I’m experienced in TV news, you aren’t. No amount of explaining would suffice for you I’m afraid, so I won’t bother. If the TV news industry asking the question of themselves isn’t enough for you, I don’t know what would be. – Anthony

  38. Joshua says:
    August 29, 2011 at 11:45 am
    Anthony – it is on the subject of whose “overhyping’ you choose to highlight. Is saying a hurricane is a message from god not “overhyping?”
    Joshua, this is a kind of stupid question. Look, if there is a crackpot going around saying “hurricane is a message from god”, we learn to ignore that drivel, and we get on with life. neither do the pols make decisions based on that. That is not worth commenting on.
    But based on this overhype, Bloomberg shut off subway. I don’t know where you live. But in NYC, that is like you just lost all mobility. That certainly deserves a demerit for the TV gangs.

  39. What irks me somewhat isn’t the question of over-hype (yes it was) – it is the attitude of those who maintain Irene reporting wasn’t overhyped because there was flooding and flood damage and power failures, and therefore no-one should criticise this hype.
    Would less hyped-up reports really have led to more flood damage? Or would even more hype have prevented such damage?
    And what about next time – will people not tend to disregard such warnings, on the boy-cries-wolf principle? Isn’t that the danger of such quite irresponsible -and often even faked – reporting?
    Btw – have the media now become a part of the nanny state? I saw some videos where the reporters, kitted out with goggles, were either warning people to stay indoors because it was so dangerous, or were even cross with people running around in swimsuits or driving in their cars, as if only the intrepid reporters had the right to ‘brave’ the elements in their ridiculous get-ups.

  40. While Hurricane and even Tropical Storms are serious business (we call them Pineapple Express when they hit California), there is a line that gets crossed.
    That line is between serious warnings in a timely fashion… and wholesale fearmongering, leading to mass hysteria and panic.
    It has been demonstrated that, in a disaster/incident, those who panic have the least chance of survival, and next up are those unfortunate enough to become entangled with the panic stricken.
    With that, the MSM was between the line and erring on the wrong side.
    In times of emergency, the wrong people are getting air time.

  41. Rick K said:
    “Our family had a chuckle when a Weather Channel reporter in Virgina Beach was outside, but stressed he was under a hotel awning for safety reasons, blathered on about “safety, stay inside, only professionals should be out, etc…” when a group of about 6 young guys in nothing but swim trunks danced behind him! Quickly followed by an SUV that stopped, rolled down the passenger window and calmly took a cellphone pic of the reporter who was zipped up and covered head to toe!”
    Similar thing happened with Al Roker, who was bundled up tight in his yellow rain slicker with hood, etc etc, with the ocean churning behind him. As he was blathering on, a couple of guys walked by in T-shirts. What a laugh.
    No, I don’t mind the coverage, but just don’t make it seem worse than it is. Be honest. Clearly say that the winds aren’t as strong as expected or whatever. Keep down the hype.

  42. Joshua doesn’t understand “goofy live shots”, so he probably won’t understand this one either:

    Actually, let me qualify this one, it wasn’t just goofy, it was stupid, and put others at risk too.

  43. If you want to read about real cyclonic stroms, Google “Columbus Day Storm” (1962) and “Typhoon Freda.”
    For example, of the 4,000 homes within the city limits of Lake Oswego, OR. 70% were damaged in the 1962 storm. Hundreds of thousands of acres of fully stocked forest lands, much of it old growth, suffered severe blow-down that was estimated to be 15 billion board feet of standing trees in northern CA, OR and WA. Wind speeds reached 145mph on the OR coast.
    These sub-tropical typhoons are fairly common in the fall-winter season in the Pacific NW irrespective of CO2 emissions. We get a big one every decade or so on average.
    I get PO’d when the Druids, that seem to predominate in the news media along the eastern seaboard, whine and pollute the airways with 24 hour coverage of their severe weather. Severe weather occurs all over the globe. And it is part of natural climate variability rather than an exception to it.
    I have a suggestion regarding avoidance of power outages. Inventory and remove all “danger” trees that threaten power lines if they topple. We do this in the Puget Sound Basin where I reside. Another choice is to put your utility wires underground. I know it is difficult for Druids to cut down a single tree. If you won’t, shut up and live with your power outages.
    No one has the absolute right to build and rebuild in danger zones such as flood zones and ocean fronts that are periodically exposed to hurricane damage. Why should taxpayers subsidize repeated rebuilding through mandatory public flood insurance that is recklessly under priced and mismanaged by the federal government?

  44. Some European says:
    August 29, 2011 at 11:22 am
    “Hey, I’m an AGW catastrophist and I agree that Irene was overhyped. The question is: by whom? By scientists or by the media?”
    Condolences, this worked out badly for your side. Romm and McKibben had already announced the megadisaster, amplified by CO2, and now this. And, well, yes, it was your media that overhyped it – remember, they have been on the warmist side for a decade or longer now.

  45. However, the media and the weather elites have a responsibility to state clearly what they know and to qualify statements or projections about which they do not know with a great deal of precision.

    Here you go, Anthony. No mention of “goofy liveshots.” Here’s a reader who feels that the “overhype” was due to statements and/or projections about the likely severity of the storm. There are many other, similar comments.
    Where is there evidence of statements or projections being made that weren’t appropriately qualified? Where were “the media” making statements that mislead in terms of the precision of their forecasts? That would be the definition of “overhyping,” as I see it, not “goofy liveshots.” Provide us with some of those and maybe your argument would hold up. Complaining about reporters in raincoats doesn’t quite meet the bar, IMO.
    REPLY: Scroll up, watch the video. Defend that sort of stupidity, go ahead, make my day. – Anthony

  46. Joshua doesn’t understand “goofy live shots”, so he probably won’t understand this one either:

    So Anthony, what is your argument about the damage caused by that liveshot? What harm was caused by that “overhyping?” Did people evacuate because they watched that clip? Did NY stop running the subways because they watched that clip? Are you upset because a reporter’s life was put in danger? What is the actual nature of your objection? You know, something deeper than the analysis that the clip was “goofy.”
    REPLY: Joshua, your threadjack is over. All further posts go to the troll bin – Anthony

  47. This hurricane was taking aim at the most populated section of this country, and though storms are a threat every year on the east coast, this one had the potential to have an impact (and did to one degree or another) on nearly every population center here. Media coverage of such an event is important to inform residents of impending danger so that they can protect their own lives and property. If the media’s job is to inform, they went completely over the top.
    Personally I have a general disdain for the MSM as their integrity continues to decline proportionally to the amount of hyperbole they propagate. I believe the reason they do this is because the news is no longer about information as much as it is about entertainment. There are so many sources of information available now that perhaps they fear they are losing relevance. In any case, it seems there was absolutely nothing else going on anywhere in the last 5 days. The president was on vacation and the state department approved the Keystone pipeline on Friday (truly nothing at all for those in the media).The hurricane was the only thing happening, and the MSM milked that one completely dry.

  48. “REPLY: Scrubbed would imply removal. Correction is changing words/spelling. Now if you have something to discuss about TV media, then discuss it, otherwise take a hike. I get tired of your thread jackings here. Note the policy page. Note there I state WUWT has a low tolerance level for people using taxpayer funded resources to spout snark from the comfort of anonymity. – Anthony”
    You are being far too kind. Ban him/her/it.

  49. Not just in the U.S was there hype,the BBC had coverage on its 24hr news channel for what seemed like all day sunday,even had Bloombergs press release live!
    and today they are still still giving a fair bit of coverage,though you can almost feel the disappointment that it was not as bad as predicted.

  50. For a basically unpredictable event like this, more scare is better than less scare.
    I thought the index-card business was an especially good way to scare one specific group. Who are the hardest to evacuate? Older women. And who still has 3×5 index cards? Older women.
    The only thing I’d call wrong is the failure to distinguish between tragic deaths and Darwin Awards. Half of the deaths were tragic: trees coming through the roof while a kid sleeps. Half were Darwin Awards: Surfers and drivers. If you go out in a car or sailboat or surfboard under these conditions, you need to die.

  51. paddylol says:
    August 29, 2011 at 12:30 pm
    “I have a suggestion regarding avoidance of power outages. Inventory and remove all “danger” trees that threaten power lines if they topple. We do this in the Puget Sound Basin where I reside. Another choice is to put your utility wires underground. I know it is difficult for Druids to cut down a single tree. If you won’t, shut up and live with your power outages.”
    Excellent post. Excellent advice. I was in Richmond when Isabel hit in 2005 or so. Richmond had not experienced a direct hit from a hurricane in decades. The streets were lined with trees that were at least 75 years old. Hurricane Isabel had sustained winds at 55 and gusts to 65. Half the trees came down. It was a spectacular sight as a tree would fall across the powerlines running down the median and bounce on them for several minutes. If the winds had reached 80, all the trees would have come down. And we had flooding. My sump pump burned up and my basement stood in three feet of water. Others suffered worse flooding. It took the power company about a week to restore power. This too was exciting, as twice they replaced the blown transformers, turned on the power, and heard the new transformers exploding one after another.
    But folks, all of this is normal. That is what a mild hurricane does. I hope that it is obvious that what one needs to do when a hurricane is heading your way is to depart for another city.
    Maybe what the news media needs to do is to post a brief statement, as above, describing what to expect from a mild hurricane.

  52. I think the media, with the help of the NHC (National Hurricane Center) did over hype the wind threat from Irene. Not sure why National Hurricane Center keep it as a Cat 1 for as long as it did!
    ‘No regular weather station or buoy, however, has measured sustained hurricane force winds in Irene, with the highest winds being 67 mph at the Cape Lookout, North Carolina buoy.’
    From: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hurricane_Irene_(2011)

  53. It makes it really hard to tell people to evacuate and how dangerous it is….
    …when you have a news reporter, standing on some boardwalk, leaning sideways….
    …and over her right shoulder, off in the distance, actually on the beach
    there’s a woman walking her dog

  54. It was overhyped in that the doom bells kept ringing even after the max sustained winds dropped below hurricane strength. The MSM can’t seem to be able to back down from a position of hype. That’s a problem very familiar to readers of this blog.
    However, as far as a tropical storm goes, it will be long remembered here in Vermont. My town (Fairfield) was spared the worst thanks to shadowing by Mount Mansfield which reduced the amount of rainfall by a rather decent amount. The southern part of the state got hammered.
    I’m grateful of the coverage, especially here on WUWT, and since I never watch the talking heads TV news the overhype didn’t bother me a bit. My NPR weatherpeople (VPR) were calm, accurate, and very un-hyped.
    (Note to Anthony, this didn’t post the first time so I am trying again. If it double posts instead, my sincere apologies)

  55. The biggest problem was that the forecasters got the predicted strength so wrong. The media circus followed from there, as they made fools of themselves by trying to show things to be worse than they really were. Of course, there was still plenty of damage, and we actually had some very significant flooding here in parts of NH, with some places in and around the White Mts. receiving as much as a foot or more of rain.
    The bottom line is that people will tend to take projections of the strength of future storms with a grain or two of salt, which could prove very costly or even deadly if the projections turn out to be true.

  56. The hurricane-track coverage was great and pretty much spot on, but the shows I viewed stayed on the wind speeds far too long after Irene was obviously fizzling out.
    I thought they were w-a-a-y slow switching over to the flooding aspects. And I noticed in comments upthread that some flooded places always flood, hurricane or no. Also, NY already had flood coverage from the Spring that looked worse than what Irene dumped on certain areas. The Northeast had a very wet – certainly newsworthy – Spring. Irene? Not so much after the winds died.

  57. I for one am glad it didn’t quite live up to the hype. We lost power for over 12 hours (and feel lucky as some may not get it back until next weekend, we are told.) We were also told that the death toll is up to at least 20. Isn’t that bad enough? Many streets around me were either flooded or blocked by downed trees. Or both. And we got off relatively easily compared to many. Who would have thought that a Tropical Weather Event (hey, I should work for the Government!) would cause extreme flooding up in Vermont? This WAS a big storm. Hindsight is, of course, 20-20. Much of the coverage was over-the-top but I am glad it was there. They could have toned it down but also I should have been better prepared.
    After all, there WILL be a next time.

  58. My first hurricane was Donna (1960) and that one still holds some records I think. I have seen many since then and Charley went right over me in Orlando. That one followed the track of Donna — right up I-4.
    These storms are not to be sneezed at, but there is a whale of a difference between a cat 3 or cat 4, and a cat 1 or tropical storm. It should have been obvious to professionals that the hurricane would rapidly lose strength as it went north; they do that. After landfall in NC as a barely cat 1 storm, the hype should have come down several notches.
    It is OK to warn folks in advance that even weak storms are to be respected — but don’t pretend that a cat 1 is a cat 3.

  59. We had a very similar situation here in North Queensland this year with TC Yasi, which admittedly was enormous in area and persisted for a long time, but was, and is still, claimed to be Cat 5 with 300kph winds, when James Cook University engineers estimated from ground damage that it was 220-240 kph, borderline Cat 3-Cat4 (as I estimated) – which is no comfort for victims in the firing line who lost everything. Howver, I agree that overhyping leads to overconfidence next time. Dangerous practice.

  60. Yes, overhyped but typically so. Never mind though, over here we’re onto the next armageddon scenario now (thanks, BBC) – bird flu is back and it’s a lot meaner than before. IT’S WORSE THAN WE THOUGHT! We’ve got to stay afraid, otherwise we might start questioning our rulers’ motives and methods.

  61. I knew this was the perfect storm of hype when it passed Myrtle Beach with less than an inch of rain. When it weakened on Friday I decided to visit a friend on an island in the Chesapeake 70 miles closer to the track because he is on high ground with drainage to the bay in two directions and a back-up generator. We laughed all weekend about how disappointed the media was that there wasn’t more drama. My decision was very good in retrospect because there was more rain, wind, tree damage, and power outages in Richmond than on the island.
    They were evacuating the Gloucester hospital by helicopter all Friday and it never even lost power. I went shopping at Walmart during the “peak” of the storm on Saturday.
    Bloomberg ordering evacuation and shutting down the transit was moronic and he should be shamed out of office for overreacting and using the power of government to override people’s own common sense to prepare and then wait to see if it is necessary.

  62. I think the accusations that the media overhyped Irene are themselves overhyped.
    My take comes from the perspective of 2001 T.S. Allison that cleaned Houston’s clock. This storm swung south of Houston, stalled, then doubled back and sat over Houston for a day where it dropped 12 to 40 inches of rain in a day. The bayous backed up and flooded the underground tunnels and machine rooms of the downtown and Medical Center skyscrapers. 70,000 homes flooded. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tropical_Storm_Allison
    Now we fast forward to Irene where the models are in great agreement that Irene will approach NYC Sunday morning during a high spring tide. The stakes were quite high. As I told a fried on Friday, “If they keep the water out of the NY underground, it will be all over inside of 48 hours. But, if salt water gets into the subways and high rise basement, it won’t be over in 48 days.
    From a different perspective, Irene was not a Tropical storm that makes landfall and 50 miles of shoreline are hurt. Irene was the worst kind of storm making dozens of “landfalls” along 400 miles of coastline, never quite leaving its food supply, but making life messy for millions.
    Finally, if you still think it was overhyped… who held the gun to your head so that you kept watching it?

  63. Holden Magroin says:
    August 29, 2011 at 2:43 pm
    I for one am glad it didn’t quite live up to the hype.I
    The only ones sorry it didn’t are the anti-carbon cultists. They need more and bigger disasters to try to hang their CAGW/CC religion on.
    The issue here is the credibility of the forecasters, which has been damaged by this, and that could have serious consequences next time an actual cat 3 or higher hits.

  64. Stephen Rasey says:
    ” if you still think it was overhyped… who held the gun to your head so that you kept watching it?”
    How the hell could you avoid it?? Every TV channel, every radio station, all over the internet, every newspaper reported Irene 24/7. That’s pretty much the definition of overhyping.

  65. Stephen Rasey says:
    August 29, 2011 at 6:24 pm
    ——————————
    Depends on your perspective, I guess. With my best friend living in central Jersey, I’m with Stephen on this.
    I was hanging on the news reports. Her power was out – no TV, no CNN, no nothing. Texts and calls were her only outside communication with what was going on.
    I didn’t give a sh!t about Libya, or Manchester United scoring 8 against Arsenal.

  66. Maybe if it was less hyped, the death toll could be higher?
    4th deadliest storm in 30 years — and the potential to be far worse.

  67. It certainly was over hyped here in the Australians MSM, who are now back pedalling like there is no tomorrow and sweeping the whole event under the carpet. No shame!

  68. I would image that the reporter who stood in that sea foam of raw sewage would have something to say about the story being overhyped … except that he’s probably still gargling to get the taste out of his mouth while he’s taking yet another hot shower.
    The element of the storm I heard about least, until the storm was winding down, was the potential for flooding. Now that the storm is history, the dangers from flooding are still increasing. Lives can still be lost.

  69. I have officially given up listening to the mass media on weather related events. When the Dalton Minimum starts and it is snowmaggeddon in Los Angeles, then I may pay attention to the mass media. The ocean temperatures are not warm enough for hurricanes to maintain their strength over the East coast of the US. I am sure the quiet sun may also be a factor in the low number of hurricanes this year.

  70. Irene was a storm and obviously caused plenty of grief for many people but it wasn’t an epic disaster. The media loves to hype and create drama but exaggerating the risks is not helpful. I remember reading the account of a German couple who decided to not evacuate during Andrew. They said they knew what an “Orkan” was like and they’d be fine. Well, a German “Orkan” is quite a step milder than hurricane Andrew was and although they survived, they said they’d never not evacuate again. We need to have good information to make good choices about preparation. Over the top panic stories for a weakened storm will only cause more problems in the future when a serious storm hits.

  71. Irene wasn’t hyped. But there were some pretty amusing “hypes” among the news crews that had to get up close a personal with Little Old Irene. But what can you do? People are human and you can’t take that away from them, usually.
    Time to move on and get ready for the next wave. There always seems to be something else new in the news, doesn’t there? Wonder why?

  72. Did TV overhype Irene? Of course they did. That’s what they do. IMHO, anyone who gets their news from TV is virtually guaranteed to be spectacularly misinformed on a wide variety of subjects. TVs almost always come with an on/off switch, and I’d suggest that it should be used when the news comes on. The print media is somewhat better.
    =====
    IMO those who criticize Bloomberg for his handling of the situation really are mostly demonstrating themselves to be mindless dolts. The storm could easily have been significantly stronger with the loss of tens or hundreds or thousands of lives and the problem of extracting passengers and trains from a flooded subway system had Bloomberg not shut things down. Furthermore, Bloomberg had the good grace to treat New Yorkers like intelligent adults who were going to make their own decisions.
    =====
    Finally, the storm turned out to be much worse than expected in Vermont. National TV did its usual mediocre job of reporting, but the destruction really is widespread and serious. A lot of roads are washed out, bridges gone, some towns are cut off, some houses gone, others damaged, a number of downtowns were flooded including those of several fairly substantial towns, lots of folks without power. There were fatalities. If you are curious check the homepage of the Burlington Free Press ( http://www.burlingtonfreepress.com)

  73. Growing up where 70 mph windstorms were not an uncommon event (and where I have gone without power for 10 days at one point), the pictures of devastation around are not that surprising to me. I’ve gone through it before, several times. Even had a tree graze our house. Even had a tree knock out power for three days just last weekend from a mild wind storm. The danger is not a shock.
    I think why it’s so sensationalized is people on the east coast aren’t used to such events at such a scale. So it’s raw and dramatic. I’ve also been through a 6.9 earthquake (that was wild) and a 5.4. Thus a 5.8 really sensationalized the eastern seaboard again due to its rarity. Don’t get such national news reaction to events up in Washington State! Why? Because we’re used to it, we deal with it, it’s a known quantity of life. Not so much for the east.

  74. Down on the corner, out in the street,
    Willy’s getin windblown and newboy’s got wet feet,
    If you want the ratings, lay your money down,
    Do it on the corner and all around the town.
    Please excuse me, CCR.

  75. The reason why FOX went to 24 hour coverage are clear and have a lot more to do with politics than the weather. I expect they were hoping to help Irene do to Obama what Katrina did to Bush.

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