I have tried to hold my tongue- er, typing about this for a while. But the spectacle is too much. I am truly sorry to those who have lost loved ones and their homes in the hurricanes. It is painful to watch and my heart and prayers go out to them. However, watching the news outlets the past week or so is making me sick. I believe that some of them are exploiting the situation for their own gain.
Didn't you find it somewhat curious that last year the big cable news outlets started cutting into what was once Weather Channel Territory? Round the clock storm coverage used to be the Weather Channel's hallmark. It was a bit much at the time- but at least you could rely on them for information and accurate reporting in a somewhat calm manner. Jim Cantore notwithstanding. I like Jim- in fact I think his "stand in the middle of the street during wind gusts of 75 miles per hour" routine has yet to be duplicated. Oh- Anderson Cooper has tried. Matt Lauer has been there. But it all started with Jim.
And that's what I'm getting at. Where did all these reporters come from? It is a Holiday Inn boon. Previously, people were checking out early prior to the storm. Now, this mass of reporters has swooped down trying to get the room near the aluminum sign - that you just know will blow over. A sign coming apart is high drama.
This year the major networks got in on the act. NBC, CBS, ABC, and the cable networks apparently have wondered why summertime ratings have slipped over to the Weather Channel in August and September. It couldn't be that people turned up their collective noses at the less-than-palatable summer fare they dished up for us. Heavens no! And it couldn't be the fall schedule is more of the same. Heavens forbid!
That's when the "Man" decided that the Weather Channel should monopolize the weather game. It's almost as if they thought they could just name the channel after the weather and people would tune in because they thought they could learn about - get this- the weather. Sheesh.
Why do I rant? Simple- it's precisely because these same networks have taken a serious topic of great concern and have done what they have usually done to topics of great concern. They have turned a tragedy into political hay, a ratings worthy scandal, and a circus free-for-all resembling a game of one-up-manship. They have pretty much taken a vestige of actual news and crapped on it. Sorry, mom, for the language.
The day after Hurricane Rita, CNN posted an article on the effects of Rita :
"Rita failed, however, to significantly damage the nation's largest oil refinery and about 200 other facilities near Houston, Texas, according to an official who monitors the region."
Failed? Which correspondent was it that sent Rita out on a mission? It is as if he was either weeping or bitterly disappointed when he wrote about Rita's failure. The pundits are acting like some kind of throw-back Bond villain. It's almost as if they have some sort of underwater CNN base that they plan these world domination schemes from. You know what I'm talking about- the weirdly futuristic, yet still kind of retro looking fortress where some guy named Brassmonkey or Silverpuss or something is watching the giant viewfinder looking thing with his minions.
Minions: Sir, Rita didn't turn into Houston- she missed the refineries!
Platinumnuts: Curses! I thought we had it this time. All that money we paid the Japanese Mafia for their cursed machine! Well, boys- looks like we'll have to cripple the economy for our radical environment policies and therefore our political gain next week.
Minions: Murmur, murmur.
Oh, yes- I went there.
Please, don't get me started on the Idaho weather guy and his "theories". Can you really imagine the Mafia in America using a weather machine, much less the Japanese? Are store owners being threatened with this thing?: "If you don't pay up, Big Tony here will be sending a Hailstorm to break out all the windows!"
Last week, anticipating Rita's arrival, Hardball's Chris Matthews was interviewing a meteorologist on his show. Chris asked the guy "Does Rita stem from Katrina?" The guy kind of stared at the screen for a minute - not sure if he really heard what he just heard, I think. Chris re-worded the question, "Did Katrina cause Rita?" 10 points to the weather guy for reminding Chris that, though products of nature Hurricanes be, they "don't know nothin' about birthin' no babies". I'm not sure if Chris got that during science class back in middle school, but then again he may have been too busy yelling over the teacher and badgering him about how the class elections weren't fair! You know what, Chris? Go ahead and take your Hardballs home - we'll find another game to play.
And what rock did all of these meteorology professionals crawl out from under all of the sudden? Do these guys have agents now? I haven't heard this much to do from Meteorologists since... well, never. I imagine a typical call from his agent went out to Meteorologist Brad the week of the Hurricane.
Brad: (Answering phone with Dy-no-mite coolness) Chello?
Phil: Brad-o..... this is Phil. I just got off the phone with MSNBC? We are talking huge here, Brad baby. H-U-G-E. They want to sign you for the week with a potential week pick-up contingent on the ratings and aftermath.
Brad: Phil, Phil, Phil. You know what I want to hear...
Phil: Whoa, Brad I couldn't get Prime Time. You know they got that babe from the East Coast under contract. But I got a primo deal, Brad. We are talking magazine article and full color maps.
Brad: What?!!?!! I'm hot now, Phil! They need to bump that Florida hack and put me under contract! And no magazine- I want a book deal!
Phil: Brad baby- take it easy. They won't budge on East Coast - the Florida gal has been primo with them since two years ago. Got the director under wraps. She's the now girl. You may be hot - but we gotta work up to 5 figures. Besides- the magazine is good. No one is buying the weather books yet, maybe next year.
Brad: Did you at least tell them about the counter-offers from CNN and FOX?
Phil: Of course I did.
Phil: They were willing to match - the maps were the topper. Hey, at least you aren't going on Hardball!
Brad: Do I at least get to do on-the-scene?
Phil: Heh- Brad, come on. You've been in this game too long to know that they don't send the weather people out to where the weather is happening. That's what the anchors and hot-shot reporters are for. Nobody wants experts in the field when the actions is going down!
Brad: I should've took Larry King up on his deal when he offered at the Emmy party!
Seriously- what the heck is Anderson Cooper doing on the beach at Galveston showing us how the tide is actually an inch above where it was on the rock the day before? Why is it necessary for us to watch a reporter follow a celebrity on a boat so we can see him or her shake his head at the devastation? What good does it do? You may say it raises awareness- I say malarkey. If it raises awareness, why was New Orleans the topic de jur during and after Rita? I haven't seen too many commercials about helping out the victims of Rita. They tell us night after night that something stinks, and you know as well as I do- he who smelt it, dealt it.
yeah, hold on...I forgot to put in the crystals