Monday, August 29, 2005

Hurricane Coverage

As a resident of south Louisiana for eighteen years, I feel compelled to write about the ludicrous coverage of Hurricane Katrina.

First of all Katrina is (was) a very powerful storm -- one of the strongest in recorded history. If such a storm were to hit New Orleans directly under certain circumstances it could be catastrophic for the city...

But once the eye of the hurricane started to turn east toward Gulfport and Biloxi, MS, I must say that I detected disappointment amongst the cables news anchors this morning. It's as if they were excited about wanton death and destruction and are disappointed that they won't be able to report for the next few weeks and months about the long process of rebuilding New Orleans. Forget the fact that Gulfport, Biloxi and probably Mobile, AL are being hit hardest by the hurricane. Once it was clear that New Orleans would be spared, it's as if the storm was over and that the Mississippi and Alabama coastal cities don't matter as much as an evacuated New Orleans. That's pretty stupid if you ask me.

I have ridden out two strong hurricanes while I was growing up in Lafayette, LA. My first was Danny in 1985 which was very weak by comparison to Katrina, but I was only eight years old, so it was both a scary and exciting experience. My second was Andrew in 1992 and that was much more comparable to Katrina in it's power and potency. We were out of school for a week while the cities in Southwest Louisiana were being cleaned up.

My point is that, hurricanes are just a fact of life to the Gulf Coast. We have seen them before and will survive them, but in the time of twenty-four hour cable news, they are treated as entertainment. Why do news men and women have to go stand in the wind and rain to tell us that it is windy and raining? Did they think that it wasn't going to be like what the text books say? I was flipping through some of the channels this morning and they were all saying the same stupid stuff about how windy it is and no one should be outside in this kind of weather. This coverage isn't doing any good for anyone who could actually use it. Affected areas are without power and would be lucky to pick up national weather radio broadcasts. Cable news hurricane coverage is just a pointless exercise hoping for the worst case to score some great ratings. Meanwhile, residents have to actually clean up the mess and rebuild after the news crews leave as soon as the sun comes out.

1 comment:

Bubba said...

That is how Dan Rather got famous, he stood out in Hurricane Carla on the Texas Gulf Coast. From a fellow Gulf Coast Boy, (Texas Gulf Coast) who has ridden out some storms, one biggie, Alicia in '83 and a bunch of small ones we didn't even miss school for, yes it is a fact of life. The sparing of New Orleans is good, but they need to cover all the areas. New Orleans has some sort of vodoo thing where they never get hit dead on.