Irene: Overhyped? Not for millions in New England UPDATE: ratings driven?

More than 750,000 people lost power in Connecticut alone. In Vermont flooding is washing away homes … while in Connecticut, rivers are over their banks and rising. And yet the narrative now is politicians overplayed this out of fear they would look week. Video included. Your comments please.

First here’s some video from NBC last night:


Seem over-hyped to you? But George Will sees it as so much bluster:


No, it was not Katrina … could have been worse. But to people getting flooded out here and with more than 700,000 in Connecticut without power for days if not weeks ,,, some losing homes … no, its not over-hyped Safe than sorry?

 UPDATE: Howard Kurtz …. a hurricane of hype:

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.

And I take nothing away from the journalists who worked around the clock, many braving the elements, to cover a hurricane that was sweeping its way from North Carolina to New England.

But the tsunami of hype on this story was relentless, a Category 5 performance that was driven in large measure by ratings.

I wonder, would Howard write this, if he were living here?

17 replies
  1. SoundOffSister
    SoundOffSister says:

    Over-hyped?? Are you kidding me?? As someone who has lived thru several hurricanes and tropical storms in Florida, it is the media’s duty to explain to its listeners and viewers what the possibilities are and and how to prepare.? This is particularly true for regions of the country that do not have experience preparing for and dealing with storms such as this.? A definite hat-tip to WTIC for fulfilling this duty.

    Shame on you George Will…”synthetic hysteria”?? Would you have preferred we have fewer people who are self-sufficient after the storm, and more deaths because of the storm??

  2. Plainvillian
    Plainvillian says:

    Over-hyped or not, the very fact that we ask the question indicates a basic distrust of all things disseminated from government and trumpeted by the media lackeys.? Isn’t that distrust based on experience?

  3. JamesD
    JamesD says:

    The coverage is not either overhyped or not overhyped.? You have to separate the media event from the storm itself. The TV media event, much like a TV show, Jumped the Shark. That’s what people who feel the coverage was overhyped are expressing. All Irene, all the time, radio, tv, cable, newpapers. Most stations were constantly one upping each other. For example, a weather guy on WTIC talked about how the NY high rise buildings would create a huge wind tunnel adding to already hurricane force winds.
    So please acknowledge that the media itself went catagory 3 and folks who noticed it are not “Hurricane?deniers”

  4. leeve
    leeve says:

    Look what the other hand of the media and government are doing during all this Irene hype.? Trust in media and government? ?We lost it long ago.? Now, as it always should have been,?my trust in?the individual.? I trust Jim but not on this.? He is advocating for the hype by hyping the numbers.? We lost more people and?operating functions?in the 2010-2011 winter.? This was a storm like any other that should have told the people of common sense,(which used to be the US citizen), Not to venture out and to be prepared.? Common sense use to rule and should have always ruled.? Ok so now this proves?4 things.? Do not trust politicians.? Do not trust media.? Do not trust government.? Trust Yourself.? The media has gone to far from the facts.? They are a speculative organization who’s truth rely’s on ratings.? TRUST?? We lost that long ago, time for the media to earn it back or forfeit it”s?special status.

  5. SeeingRed
    SeeingRed says:

    Overhyped?? GOD YES.

    Look – anyone with 19th century communications knew a storm was coming.? Cat 1, 3, 5 or a Tropical Storm – we were going to get water from the sky and some wind.? Storm surge if you live on the coast and small stream and river flooding goes with living near such and seeing a 6+” rainfall in a 24 hour period.? ?

    That there’s now coastal erosion, downed power lines and flooding?is NO surprise.? There is also nothing you can do about it but?MOVE ON.? All of the flashlight?batteries, generators and granola bars cannot change history.? I’m sorry that people have to go through what they are (and will be) going through.? So donate to good local charities, help your neighbor if you are able, etc.? But?OVER HYPED??

    Yes. ?

  6. sammy22
    sammy22 says:

    Should be thankful it was not worse. Taking swipes at Pres. Obama, the media and the government is just for the ratings (like every other media outlet).

    • JollyRoger
      JollyRoger says:

      If the media had any compunction for taking swipes at Barry, at all, they would have been reporting about Obama’s Uncle Oyango and his DUI in Framingham MA…? We sure heard about Bush & Cheney’s DUIs, Laura Bush’s vehicular homicide, and every tawdry detail about the mischievous Bush daughters…? Did you know they once flashed the TX longhorn hand signal and everyone in Europe thought they were “Devil Worshipers”??

  7. pauldow
    pauldow says:

    Since I don’t have cable TV, I only have local stations where 1/2 of my screen is taken up by the same closings over and over again. When I looked at the CL&P outage site shortly after the storm, it showed Suffield with only about 7% out. That was third best in the state. My power didn’t even blink. My basement only had a small puddle. My rain gauge showed about 7″, so I was expecting at least 1/2″ of water. At least I accomplished getting my garage cleaned out so I could get the car in ?before the storm.

  8. essneff
    essneff says:

    Let Will & Kurtz go to the shoreline towns of?East Haven?& West?Haven on their way to the state of Vermont?and explain the difference between a hurricane and a tropical storm to those that lost their homes & businesses. Two?know it all elitists!!

  9. ricbee
    ricbee says:

    ?I didn’t even turn on the TV,but had TIC on for the simple facts. It’s getting to be the “boy who cried,”wolf” syndrome”…nobody pays any heed anymore.

  10. ricbee
    ricbee says:

    ?There was a tree man the radio on who said he only found 3 downed trees in all of Wethersfield,so why all the power lost? I bet NEU has all kinds of “safeguards” built in click off at the slightest disturbance.

  11. RIAP27
    RIAP27 says:

    From our point of view here in Oakville near Sylvan Lake-it seemed over hyped. The storm was a cat 3 when it hit NC. BUT and I STRESS this—anyone who understands how hurricanes act, the very fact that Irene hugged the coast so close and was half over land told me that by time she reached here she’d be a weak cat 1 or LESS! And so it was. She was not a cat 2 or 3 with 90-100+ mph winds as they insisted would slam us and rip apart Long island.? We never prepped so much as we had this time. Tying down stuff and bringing stuff in, and expecting howling winds and power off.

    We were lucky-no power loss and the winds were never stronger than a normal Nor’easter here. If that storm lived up to its hype and was a cat 2-3 when it hit here- it would not have been the hit or miss nature of these outages and damages.? A cat 2-3 Hurricane would have probably put the entire state in the dark, and caused more home and property destruction inland even? away from flood prone areas. The 1989 tornados here were far far worse from our point of view in overall destruction.
    On eastern Long Island where my sister lives-they never lost power nor were they evacuated and they are mere…

    • RIAP27
      RIAP27 says:

      dang my post was cut short- so here is the rest– mere minutes from Smith Point beach.

      We expected worse we got less, and though it is awful for those who got the worst of it, overall, the Media did overblow how bad this thing was going to be. That said-its NOT right that the national Media is ignoring CT and, always best to be over prepared than under prepared!

  12. pauldow
    pauldow says:

    I saw this point made on another blog. The media has only two modes: Ignore, or catastrophe. They don’t know how to turn it down a notch. We get the local reporters on the scene LIVE! LIVE! LIVE!??They have only one thing on their mind: How impressive can they make this look for their demo tape when they apply for a network job? My favorite is the early morning news shows where they have a reporter on the scene of an event the night before. There’s absolutely nothing going on at 6 AM, but they have to be there “Live!” repeating the same information every 15 minutes. Instead they could have filed a report, then cover a second story.

  13. BEA
    BEA says:

    I have to agree with pauldow. The information is necessary, but the delivery is excessive. And the reporters being blown about and pelted with rain is just dangerous,?foolish, and unnecessary. Plus, all of the technology that makes us (and everything else) available 24/7 can make it all seem overwhelming.
    Personally, even with all the rain and wind, if it weren’t for losing our power for 12 hours I really wouldn’t have known we had a hurricane. So, when I went to bed Sunday evening I did actually think it was all over-hyped and had only caused mass hysteria. But when I woke up on Monday and listened to the news reports of the flooding, houses being washed away, and even deaths…I felt horrible and very fortunate.

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