How Hype Hurts

God did indeed answer our prayers as Gustav turned out to be more of a bust than a tremendous gust. This is not to minimize those who suffered and continue to suffer in this storm. I am just thankful that the predictions of another Katrina-like hurricane did not happen. But it seems like we have only just begun- with Hanna, Ike and more to follow. I am sure that you saw at least some of the news coverage on Gustav. This is what this post addresses.

I never do get the deal where the weather reporters stand out in the gale force winds during a hurricane. Just what are they trying to prove? Is this how they have to get their “bona-fides” as a reporter? Is there some secret journalism medal of courage that is earned this way? Or could it fall under the catagory of sensationalism?

Hurricanes these days- for news and weather broadcasters- seem to be all about the hype. Now I certainly understand the need for raising the alarm, encouraging prepardness and evacuations for those in harm’s way. Living in the Florida panhandle, I am well acquainted with all of this. But- is it just me- or did the coverage of Gustav just go a tad bit overboard?

I am sure part of this had to do with the epic  failures associated with Katrina, but even so, I think all of this hype with Gustav will hurt us in the long run.

Before Ivan, Katrina and Rita did a triple whammy along the Gulf Coast numerous people just (pardon the pun) blew hurricanes off. Evacuate? Are you kidding! And many of these folks paid with their lives. Now, as we saw with Gustav, people are getting out of Dodge.

But if the media keeps hyping up every storm that comes along to the point of hysteria and then these storms fizzle out (relatively speaking) like Gustav, I believe this sense of urgency will fizzle too.

“Hey look, there is Jim Cantore and Geraldo Rivera!!”

“So, they just want to find a wind gust to stand in.”

Hype will hurt us like the boy crying wolf.

C’mon networks- report the news, don’t try to manufacture it.

Check out John Dobb’s latest post. He is another hurricane veteran with similar thoughts to share.

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6 Responses to How Hype Hurts

  1. Preacherman says:

    I am so glad that God does care and listen to the cries of his children. Thank you God for acting. I want you to know I am praying for Florida and that Hurricane Hanna won’t be bad.

  2. c3andp says:

    I secretly long to be a hurricane reporter.
    C3

  3. TLC says:

    One of the most brilliant things I’ve ever seen on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart is Stephen Colbert’s report on devastating hurricane coverage. Here he’s talking about Hurricane Dennis in July 2005. Enjoy!

    http://www.thedailyshow.com/video/index.jhtml?videoId=114513&title=Hurricane-Coverage

  4. Glenn Jarrett says:

    Hey Danny,
    I waved at you Friday, but you probably didn’t notice me. I mean, I mentally waved at the sign that read “Pensacola 128 miles.” Hope you have a good week.
    Glenn

  5. delighted that Gustav was a dud …

  6. Danny Holman says:

    Glad Gustav was somewhat a dud. However, driving back from Conway, Ar. last night, in the aftermath wind and rain, gave me a better appreciation of Hurricanes. I do agree with your article and the whole media “oversale.” Look at my blog from May 2008, I have an article there “Hoopla Survivor.” Sometimes I feel like a kid who thinks cartoons are real… “thank goodness we survived our weekly crisis threatening to destroy the world.”
    Danny

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