Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Did we all manage to survive what I heard one local weatherman call "the wrath of Alberto"?

For Pete's sake. Rant warning.

This is exactly why people do not leave when they should. The local and national news coverage of this rain event scared the ever living snot out of the newbies and irritated the ever living shit out of us veterans.

At one point, one of the national channels was calling it a hurricane when it wasn't. A strong tropical storm, yes, hurricane no.

The problem is two-fold. One, the nationals who just want ratings. They are drooling over the possibility of video feed involving flooding and traffic signals swaying in the breeze, hopefully falling. They want their reporters to be able to stand out in the wind and say, "Gosh I can barely stand up in this, so all you people at home: DON'T TRY THIS!" It is for ratings and hype, nothing more. Their claims at "educating the public" are crap.

The second part of this problem and the ones who should be the most ashamed of themselves are the local media. They should be providing the information we need without the hype and hysterics. I know it is the only time the poor ignored, much maligned weatherpeople get to have their mugs on camera for more than a minute, but for Pete's sake, get the gleam out of your eye, the saliva off your chin and the glee out of your voice. It IS noticed. We all see it.

You are directly contributing to hurricane warning fatigue. See, over the past several days, you have scared people who aren't used to this, made them anticipate huge problems and destruction with your dire warnings. rains. Oh MY GOD. It rained. It was windy. It was just like all those thunderstorms we've been having.


So now they all feel silly, those people who got so scared. And they blame you, Mr. and Ms. Chicken Little Local Weatherperson. And next time, they aren't going to listen to you. And next time maybe they should. But they won't. No more than we veterans of many hurricane seasons listen to you.

You justify the theatrics to yourselves by believing that you are providing valuable information for the public. And you would be doing that if you just provided information that is in direct line with the level of threat. But you don't. You must hype it all up to the worst case imaginable scenario, get your face on the screen as much as possible, and mislead the people who are depending on you to tell the truth. And you wonder why it is more and more difficult to convince people to leave?

Because they don't believe you anymore. And why should they?


Vera said...

I usually read about the storm on the web and listen to traffic reports.

I avoid the local news because they get hysterial. We need to be informed not unduly scared.

April said...

Amen sister!

I am one of the aforementioned newbies (transplant from San Diego, CA), and yes... the unending National Alert System warnings were scaring the poo out of me. Then I would step outside my front door, and gosh, it was raining. It was not windy at all. Eventually, I got really tired of it all and just turned off the TV.

Thank you for your words. Maybe if others see them, they will realize that Southerners who ride out storms aren't completely wacko given the hyperbole dished at them anytime a storm heads their way.


JanetLee said...

Vera - I agree, I love because you can get all the data and figure things out yourself.

April - don't ever listen to the local guys. Learn the hurricane terms and go on-line to get your information.