Hype.

Last night I said to Mr. Bookworm, “I bet this Irene story is hype.”  I knew that there was a hurricane heading towards land, but I didn’t believe the stories.  As it turned out, I was probably right.  Irene will bring a ton of water and some wind, and there will be destruction, but it won’t be the “storm of the century.”

I’m not prescient.  I’m not more insightful than others.  What I am, to a worrying degree, is cynical about the media.  It’s come to the point where I no longer trust anything the media says.

The MSM has cried wolf once too often.  Between the nature of the 24 hour medium, which encourages non-stop hysteria, and the bias of its members, who lean so far to the Left I’m surprised my TV is still upright after watching a news show, I ignore what the media says.  When it’s forced on my attention, I tone it down in my own mind.  If the talking head is screaming “rivers of blood,” my brain whispers “trickles, if that much.”

You’ll note that I said “to a worrying degree.”  The media does still convey facts that a functional human being ought to know.  If I had the time and the energy, I would bend my efforts to separating wheat from chaff, rather than dismissing everything I hear.  My concern is that, one day, there’ll be a real story there and I’ll miss it.  Aesop knew that was a risk.  As you recall from his fable, one day a real wolf showed up and the villagers ignored the boy’s cries, having heard them once too often.  In Aesop’s telling, only the boy gets eaten.  I’m worried, though, that one day a real wolf will show up and eat us all.

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Comments

  1. dianemadeline says

    I so disbelieved all the hype that I spent yesterday morning doing research on Hurricane Gloria (1985) which hit when I was living on Long Island and Hurricane Isabel (2003) which hit while I was living here in NoVA so I can compare it to current info about Irene. (As if I am some sort of meteorologist.) After some time in, I concluded that my house may suffer as much as 2 days of power outage due to Irene. (I guess I’ll have to post to let you know how my prediction was.)
     
    This morning i went out to get a couple of things. People are pretty calm, just loading up on the basics. Listening to the local news only brought me information about sites east of here where the storm will cause more potentially dramatic damage on the shore rather than do anything to help me know what to expect in terms of winds and potential flooding. Old Town Alexandria always floods in a big storm, but there is hardly any info on that yet. I guess they are waiting for the waters to rise.
     
    Anyway, in terms of the media, I really am suffering from crisis fatigue.

  2. SADIE says

    My mother used to say that the meteorologists and supermarkets were in cahoots. It didn’t matter much if it was the storm in winter or a storm in summer – in both seasons the supermarkets and hardware stores made out well.
     
    The hype will be costly. NYC and Philly will be shutting down mass transit by tonight or tomorrow (I was only partially paying attention). 8300 flights are cancelled and Amtrack will cancel trains south of DC. Atlantic City has closed all of their casinos, sent the guests packing and stores fronts have been boarded up since Friday.
     
    Why do I have the creepy feeling that this is worse than hype and that it’s a big advert for Obama – “I am not Katrina” and “never let a crisis go to waste.”
     
    p.s. I’m worried, though, that one day a real wolf will show up and eat us all.
    Who says he hasn’t?

  3. Oldflyer says

    Wife and I just had a discussion.  I believe that she spends too much time on the Weather Channel which has become something of a parody of reality/disaster shows.
    We are concerned about Irene because we have many friends in and around Virginia Beach.  A couple of the oldest, in terms of friendship as well as age, considered evacuating to our place here in NOVA, but decided to ride it out.  So, we have been tuned in.  I just saw film of one reporter standing on a street along the beach front, with the wind blowing the shrubs, and rain falling.  He was warning people not to go out, even as traffic flowed sedately to and fro behind him.  There was another reporter- idiot standing on the beach at Nag’s Head, where the wind was truly buffeting him.  He was warning people to stay indoors.  I believe the Weather Channel needs to look up the definition of oxymoron.  Or maybe simply moron.
    My wife said he was just doing his job; much like I did when I flew from aircraft carriers.  That analogy came very close to making me angry.
    If someone should have a serious traffic accident in the process of an evacuation, I would love to see them sue the Media for creating a climate of hysteria; and the authorities who bullied them into evacuating.

  4. Gringo says

    While I roll my eyes at all the storm hype, the media has a case. The media do not want to be accused of under-emphasizing a storm’s potential damage. Their role is to warn. So, the media will present the worst-case scenario.
     
    Here in  this part of TX where snow storms and ice storms are few and far between, the local TV stations will go into overdrive. From the emphasis that is placed on a few patches of ice on the road, one would have guessed the Bomb had just dropped. Another case of hyping is summer weather, which one could mail in: hot and dry. But the TV weathermen will go into hyper mode: we can see there is a cloud a hundred miles away! This might, just MIGHT (like 5%) lead to rain in the next few days.
     
    One can no more take hype away from TV Weather forecasting than one can take the purr out of a cat.
    Roll your eyes and move on.

  5. says

    Oh, my! I’m afraid you are all looking at this wrong. Hurricane Irene truly was going to be the storm of the century causing catastrophic harm to the entire east coast. But then Gaia was shown Obama’s preparations and reminded of his prophesy – “this is the moment when the rise of the oceans began to slow and our planet began to heal” – and decided there was no fighting the mighty powers of Obama the One.

  6. Mike Devx says

    I think the hype this time is that Irene has a bullseye on New York City, and that makes it super-duper-extra-uber important for the entire WORLD!  At least, you would think that, based on the coverage.  A hurricane bouncing along the Eastern Seaboard coastline, where our major media are, is always going to get 100X the attention it would get anywhere else.  It’s going to affect THEM, not people somewhere else.

    If there are to be terrible effects, it will be due to storm surge along the ultra-developed coastlines.  I don’t want to bail out California, Illinois, Michigan and Nevada due to poor economic decisions, and I don’t want to bail out coastline development due to hurricane destruction either.  Fools fools fools, in both cases.  

     

  7. suek says

    I think it’s pretty funny to see all the jokes online about God trying to send Obama a message…first the earthquake, then the hurricane. What’s next???

  8. jj says

    Myself, as an old east coast islander and member of more than one volunteer fire department in my time, I have indeed seen houses vanish into the waves; boats get torn apart and sink; cars and houses with trees and power lines dropped on them, and have even had the lovely experience of picking up a couple of empty shells that used to be people.  Those of you who haven’t explored the New York area in any detail are possibly not aware that southern Manhattan, much of coastal Brooklyn, the Rockaways, Long Beach, Fire Island etc. are about five feet above the high water line at the best of times.  A new moon high tide aided by a 4 to 8 foot storm surge creates a real opportunity for these places to be five or so feet beneath it.  Long Beach and Fire Island are essentially sand bars.  Long Island itself is a sand bar. And tThe last time Manhattan was inside the eye-wall of a hurricane was in, I believe, 1821; so it may indeed be the storm of the century.  One thing everybody forgets about cities and high buildings in general is that the wind travels slowest at ground level.  If you’re in the lobby of your apartment building it’s a category 1 storm.  Above the sixth or seventh floor it’s a category 2.  If your apartment’s on the 45th floor, you’ve got a 3 to 4 going on outside – and it’s anybody’s guess whether or not your windows will stand up to that.  120+ mph winds pissing through the narrow canyons of Manhattan create a hell of a lot of suction.
     
    In the emergency services we always oversold everything, because people are so blase they no longer bother to listen if you calmly tell them that what they’re contemplating is really stupid, and may result in them not being here tomorrow.  Yes, turpentine-soaked rags left in a pile in the corner after a day’s painting damn well can spontaneously combust at three in the morning, and burn your f****** house down!  I know this because I have been there at 3:30 AM trying to put them out on more than one occasion.  And if you live “on” the water, close enough to it that on bad days you run the risk of being “in” it – you’re an ass if you don’t leave when a high tide’s coming.

  9. Mike Devx says

    I probably sounded too cold-hearted, jj?  I left a post earlier about the storm surge and breadth of the storm being the big problem.

    On coastal development, anyone is free to buy and build there.  But carry your own full insurance.  I don’t want to *subsidize* anyone’s risk with taxpayer money, is all.  Why should I?  To those who want ‘the coast': Pay all the needed insurance, if you want to build on the coast and handle the risk of hurricane damage or other damage, yourselves…
     

  10. Michael Adams says

    Yes, Sadie.  It would be wrong, very, very, very wrong. And a bad influence, and nowhere as realistic as peasants with pitchforks.  And neither would be a effective as the Post-It note campaign.

  11. gpc31 says

    Things that make you go “hmmm…”:  Dan Rather started it all back in 1961 when he lashed himself to a post on live TV while reporting Hurricane Carla in Galveston.

  12. Leah says

    My best introduction to natural medicine was on a trip to Burma, our guide gave us endless examples of how to use the local vegetation for medicinal purposes. Even cancer cures – that’s when it hit me. In a country where government has taken everything away from the populace – there is no medicine other than herbal lore. A very sad place and sad situation indeed.
     

  13. Mike Devx says

    Methinks it is time for the post-mortem analysis to begin, of the overblown media hype surrounding Hurricane Irene.
     
    I especially liked the account of the, er, intrepid reporter on a coastal beach talking about how dangerous conditions were… while behind him within the camera angle, closer to the shoreline, people were strolling, one wag pranced backward, apparently making fun of the reporter; on the boardwalk people on bicycles rolled casually by.  The reporter was so intent on fulfilling his planned narrative that he… lied?  Self-deceived?  Refused to see the truth AND report the truth despite it being completely obvious?  And doesn’t this all seem eerily like how the media reports on Obama?
     

  14. Cheesestick says

    I saw a few of those scenes also on the weather channel.  A reporter was out trying to report how absolutely awful the conditions were and people were running all around him in the rain, running between him and the camera and such.  Hilarious!

  15. bizcor says

     
    It is such a relief this storm has come and gone. The hype was really a bit much. It was almost like the news people were rooting for death destruction and mayhem and disappointed that all they have to report is some flooding in areas that flood if you get a spring rain. 6 to 10 inches of rain is going cause rivers to swell and overflow their banks. By Tuesday we should be back to bashing the Republicans for obstructing progress.
    Fortunately Comcast On Demand has “An Inconvenient Truth” playing this month so I was able to escape the hype and watch something informative.

  16. SADIE says

     
    Television makes me pine for the days of “test patterns” and 5 channels, which said goodnight by midnight. The 24 hour “snooze” cycle is insulting. If I didn’t own a computer, I wouldn’t know what the hell was  going on in the world. I used to enjoy the National Geographic specials once upon a time .. you know in the days before we are regularly accused of murdering entire species. I eagerly await the grand special one day, when they carefully explain to me that the demise of  dinosaurs was due to our insatiable need to eat meat.
     

  17. bizcor says

    No Sadie we didn’t kill the dinosaurs. They killed themselves. The emitted too much CO2 from one end and too much methane gas from the other. Hence global warming and kerpow just like that bye bye dino. Really its true. Just ask Al Gore. It was global warming.

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