When reporters gin up the hurricane drama

Anderson Cooper, the CNN host, is pushing back against those who are saying he didn’t cover the conditions of Hurricane Florence.

Donald Trump Jr., used an old photograph of Cooper covering flooding by ratcheting up the drama in a most TV reporter way — standing in water.

True, Cooper wouldn’t be in this situation if he didn’t participate in the nonsense back then, but he struck back last evening anyway.

Cooper’s got nobody to blame but himself. The loss of credibility rears its head when you need someone to believe something that’s actually true. It’s the price of standing in water.

Not that reporters aren’t still ginning up the drama, mind you.

Cooper said he was amazed anyone would think he’d overly dramatize a disaster. But, though the picture is old, that’s what TV reporters are doing for the sake of “the shot.”

And it happened during Florence, too.

All of this ignores a particular reality: Reporters don’t need to stand in water. The hurricane’s damage spoke for itself and viewers are fully capable of seeing it.

“It’s important to note that the two individuals in the background are walking on concrete, and Mike Seidel is trying to maintain his footing on wet grass, after reporting on-air until 1:00 a.m. ET this morning and is undoubtedly exhausted,” the Weather Channel said in response, requiring the question: “why didn’t he stand on concrete?”

Because: drama.

Related: The indispensable appeal of local TV weather reporters (Columbia Journalism Review)

  • Gary F

    I don’t watch TV weather, nationally or locally. I have a phone app that doesn’t give me the hype.

  • Rob

    Anderson Cooper taking a knee? The mind reels.

  • Guest

    Lets add the late evening shot standing outside the white house to report on an issue. AS IF they just walked out instead of gathered everything up and drove to the location of the “report”

    • RBHolb

      Television is a visual medium, and things like standing in front of the White House put the recitation of a story into context in a visual manner.

      I don’t think anyone suspects those shots are spontaneous.

      • Guest

        Aside from a rare true understanding given with the visual shot, MOST of TV new is much like a radio broadcast.

  • Ben Chorn

    Weather channel did a great job with graphics, without having to stand in a ditch (jump to 45 seconds): https://twitter.com/BeardedGenius/status/1040346339610124288

    • Gary F

      Now I know why I don’t watch.

    • As I mentioned in another thread, people there could REALLY use that anti-flooding grey dot technology.

  • Erick

    Of course you don’t need a hurricane to have weather hype. I have lost count of the forecasted apoplectic blizzards that ultimately produce an inch or two…. And yes, MPR is just as guilty of crying wolf.

    • OK, but for the record, a blizzard isn’t necessarily about the amount of snow. It’s about the wind and visibility. The NWS defines it as ” blowing snow, with winds in excess of 35 mph and visibilities of less than 1/4 mile for an extended period of time (at least 3 hours). Mostly outside of the Twin Cities proper.

      • >>Mostly outside of the Twin Cities proper.<<

        And one has to take into account that MPR reaches the WHOLE state.

        • crystals

          Classic “if it isn’t true for me, it must not be true for thee” (and the 2018 version that therefore the media cannot be trusted because what they are saying does now match MY experience) example.

    • jon

      Forecasting a blizzard that doesn’t happen is a bit different than fighting to stand up against a non-existent wind.

      If we can’t understand the difference between a forecast and current reality (exaggerated or not) then perhaps we have our answer for why the news media feels it can lie with impunity… because no one is going to bother to understand reality anyhow.

  • Jim in RF

    There’s a lot of over reaction to this. I can’t imagine any viewer doesn’t know that things aren’t a little dramatized for the sake of clicks. Conflict sells, even if its man v weather.

    • Clicks on TV? How’s that work. :*)

      • Jim in RF

        Viewers, readers, listeners, browsers. You know what I mean.

  • kevins

    Our local weather guys and gals hype the summer storms to their fullest potential. I suspect they have to pay for the storm tracker vehicles they race around in.

    Let me think…The Donald worrynig about other people lying…hummm. Of course he did provide paper products for Puerto Rico. What a guy.

  • BJ

    #Florence video -> They, background guys, are also walking (against/with the wind) and not trying to hold still. You can actually see them stumble a bit (have resistance) at one point as they turn against the wind.

    • i think the guy leaning into the wind is also leaning the wrong way

  • John O.

    I still follow local weather, along with my NOAA app. I gave up on the Weather Channel, Headline News, CNN, etc. in the 90s.

  • The Resistance

    Stop watching so much cable TV. Turn off Twitter. Use social media only to share cat videos and pictures of your grandkids.

    Life will be better.