Posted on | August 29, 2011 | 9 Comments
“I want people to understand that this is not over,” President Barack Obama said Sunday evening from Washington. “The impacts of this storm will be felt for some time, and the recovery effort will last for weeks or longer.”
Wait — “not over”? But by the time it finally came ashore in New Jersey, it wasn’t even a hurricane anymore:
It was raining in Manhattan on Sunday morning, and the dogged correspondents in their brightly colored windbreakers were getting wet.
But the apocalypse that cable television had been trumpeting had failed to materialize. And at 9 a.m., you could almost hear the air come out of the media’s hot-air balloon of constant coverage when Hurricane Irene was downgraded to a tropical storm.
Not everyone was willing to accept this turn of events. When the Weather Channel’s Brian Norcross told MSNBC that forecasters had been expecting the first hurricane to make landfall in New York City since 1893 — “and it didn’t happen” — anchor Alex Witt was openly skeptical.
“Really, Brian?” she asked. Hadn’t Irene technically still been a hurricane when it came ashore in New York an hour earlier? “Can’t we still go with that?”
No, Norcross said.
Now do you see what all that TV hurricane hype was about? Global warming causes a hurricane to hit New York City — a horrific, historic disaster — and then Obama triumphantly leads the relief effort. It was a Hollywood-perfect narrative arc.
Unfortunately, the storm didn’t cooperate:
The three-day count of deaths related to the storm rose to at least 16 in six states . . .
The category “storm-related deaths” is quite flexible — at least one of them was a guy who had a heart attack while working to nail boards over his windows. And then there was that Florida surfer . . .
Well, dead is dead. But 16 deaths? Every year, more than 30,000 Americans are killed in auto accidents — nearly 100 a day on average. And the world-historic cataclysm requiring a “recovery effort [that] will last for weeks or longer”? Give me a freaking break.
- Aug. 28: Storm Center Commander-in-Chief?
- Aug. 27: Global Warming Kills Florida Surfer UPDATE: Thousands Without Electricity or WiFi; Bloggers Hardest Hit by Storm UPDATE: New York Braces for Irene; Women, Minorites, NFL Fans Hardest Hit
- Aug. 27: More Predictable Than the Weather
- Aug. 26: StormWatch 2011: Mass Hysteria!