Tuesday, August 30, 2005
The News Channels
A "Toxic Gumbo" of Coverage
You could almost see the disappointment in the faces of the talking heads on the news channels this morning. New Orleans, battered for sure, was still standing and its much hyped destruction and resulting toxic gumbo didn't come to pass. But someone please buy these people a clue.
The coverage of the hurricane amounted to the annual parade of wanna-be 'journalists' vying for that local news Emmy, by repeatedly standing in the raging winds of the hurricane while reminding me (as if I just had a lobotomy) that doing this very stupid act is actually quite dangerous. One intrepid Fox reported even crouched behind a mail box and threw various items into the wind to show how they become 'lethal projectiles.' (Oh how I was praying that the metal shards he was throwing into the air would circle back and impale him!). The best, as is being reported on numerous blogs, was when Fox's Shepard Smith was walking the streets in the height of the storm and came across a man walking his dog.
SHEPARD SMITH: YouÂ?re live on FOX News Channel, what are you doing?
MAN: Walking my dogs.
SMITH: Why are you still here? IÂ?m just
MAN: None of your f#cking business.
SMITH: Oh that was a good answer, wasnÂ?t it? That was live on international television. Thanks so much for that. You know we apologize.[snip]
SMITH: "I'm watching two dogs drink
out of a glass of ice water, and it's none of my business why they are still
He, he! Good for the guy walking his dog!
Other excesses included the repeated fact that New Orleans is below sea level (seemingly mentioned every ten seconds) and the often referenced "Toxic Gumbo" of flood waters, raw sewage and poisonous swamp animals that was soon to descend on the fabled Big Easy. And don't get me started on the comment that "This is our Tsunami!", umm no it's really not. Katrina is a terrible disaster for those in its path. But unlike the Tsunami, which sent 70 foot tall waves miles inland in Asia without warning killing a quarter of a million people, Katrina's death toll (while still tragic to be sure) is likely to be quite low and unlike the Tsunami, we had at least three days notice that the hurricane was coming.
I feel for the victims of Katrina, I really do. But I regret that their personal tragedies will be boiled down to the lamest metaphors smiliesies that the talking heads on the 24/7 news channels think are pithy and moving.
The mini-drama unfolded this week on a Colorado Climate Center weblog and illustrates the volatile nature of the climate- change debate.
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