01 June 2006

Why Does the Media Have to Make Everything About Effing New York City?

God, I am hating the "national" news media more and more. And this is coming from a professor of it. In retrospect, this complaint didn't exactly come out of left field. I knew it was coming all along. But it still makes me unbelievably angry.

The media have found a goldmine with hurricane coverage. But there's one problem. Everyone has "Katrina fatigue." Bay Buchanan says she doesn't want to hear about it anymore. The country as a whole is tired of us. But the media can still get lots of ratings scaring the entire nation with hurricane coverage. So how do they reposition the story so that it can be "fresh," and impact a larger segment of their audience.

It's simple: make hurricane stories about New York City.

And that's exactly what they've done.

Go to MSNBC.com, and enter the keywords "hurricane 'new york,'" and see what you get.

My personal favorite is the May 22 transcript from "Scarborough Country":

Now, for the next 60 minutes, we will tell you what the government‘s predictions for this year‘s hurricane season means for Mississippi, New Orleans, and yes, New York City.

Yes, New York City, Joe. Not Florida. Not Texas. Not Alabama. Not the Carolinas and Georgia.

And of course, Sean, you talk about the 64 percent, I believe you said, possibility of hitting the East Coast. Some, of course, are talking about the possibility of a category three hurricane or above actually hitting around New York City. The Weather Channel series, “It Could Happen Tomorrow,” actually shows us what a hurricane in New York might look like.
Talk about that. Talk about the possibility of a hurricane in New York or in other East Coast cities, and what people in the Northeast should be doing to be prepared for these type of—these killer storms.

There they go again. Throw out the undocumented "some people say" to legitimize your assertions. If you don't know what I'm talking about, watch the documentary "Outfoxed." And, to be exact, what I've read says that the "64 percent" number is misleading. There's a 9 percent chance of one hitting between New York and Boston. And of that 9 percent, Long Island, Connecticut, Rhode Island and Massachusetts have a significantly greater chance of being affected than the Five Boroughs because of geography.

But can you imagine a hurricane coming out in the Caribbean and holding together long enough to make it up into the New York City area? And again, statistics show that it is a possibility in the Northeast. It‘s been due. It‘s been several decades since a major hurricane has caused damage in the Northeast. We‘re just going to have to wait and see, Joe.

Oh, I see. New York is "due." Just like the Chicago Cubs are "due" to win a World Series. And during those "several decades" where New York hasn't even come close to a hurricane, how many hurricanes have affected the Gulf Coast and the Atlantic Coast up to the Carolinas?

Look, I don't want to see any city or state to be affected by a hurricane. And New Orleans is still getting a lot of headlines. But give the New York angle a rest. We still need help, but you're busy scaring the country with a hypothetical that will probably not happen this year--at least category 3 or higher?

It's just like the way the AP framed the Homeland Security money story today. Now, in the story, it points out that the money is supposed to go to cities especially vulnerable to terror attacks and natural disasters like hurricanes (although the story is sure to point out that natural disaster areas get a lesser percentage of the money) But later the story, there is the colorful quote from the New York congressman, voicing his "outrage" that his city only gets 124 MILLION DOLLARS.

Later in the story, it is briefly mentioned that New Orleans gets 4.6 MILLION DOLLARS. Gee. I guess you were right. Natural disaster areas do indeed get less consideration. But where's the "outrage" there? Where are the colorful quotes from New Orleans officials or state congresspeople? Where's the outrage that New York gets MORE THAN 25 TIMES the money that we do? I guess that angle would have made too many East Coast people angry.

TAGS: Katrina, New Orleans, NOLA, New York City, Hurricane, DHS


At June 01, 2006 8:13 PM, Anonymous Marco said...

I live in upstate NY. We love NYC and NO. But give me a break with these inundations of Wall St. I'm a little tired of it. Though I was raised in Westerly, RI and felt the Hurricane Carol and saw the aftermath the next day with my father. Vivid 50+ years later.


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