I have this thing about the news media and hurricane coverage. Irrespective of the fact that The Big Stinky (New Orleans) is currently in the process of being washed out to sea, I still can't believe the way cable TV news conducts itself during these fiascoes.

Hurricanes have always been gold for the media. They’re slow (guaranteeing several days of fill), they’re destructive (guaranteeing good video), and generally considered to be terrifying. But not only is hurricane coverage unbearable in its quantity, the awful part is that it’s always the same; every channel, every year, every hurricane.

Blow-dried, pensive anchor in studio: “How’s it looking out there?”

Live shot of storm-addled and soaking wet correspondent (with obligatory background debris flying about): “It’s really really windy!

Anchor: “OK, thanks for that report. We’ll have another live update in 15.”

From there, they cut to a meteorologist who will spend a few minutes pointing at a flashing, luminous satellite image of the storm moving towards the coast. Finally, the cycle ends with some stock footage of harried citizens buying jugs of water in grocery stores and boarding up windows or fleeing the area on gridlocked highways.

Cut to the human interest story about the retards intent on riding out the storm on their front porch, flashlight in one hand and Old Fashioned in the other. Cue the montage about past hurricanes (remember that wacky Andrew? Good times. Good times.) and bring out that clip of a wrinkled Asian scientist explaining the NOAA hurricane rating system. Did you know that a Category 4 has sustained winds of 131-155 mph? Well it's a goddamn fact.

Any force of man or nature that can level thousands of square miles of Florida or the deep south is a-o-fuckin'-k in my book. Have you seen rural Mississippi? The hurricanes can't come fast enough. Christ, let's drop a daisy cutter or two and help ol' Katrina out.

In closing, hurricanes and tornadoes are not random. They form when moist air masses from the Gulf of Mexico mix with NASCAR collectibles, the sound of Larry the Cable Guy, and the aroma of grits.


  • Oh yeah, the local news LIVES for these stories, just like CNN lives for war: ongoing, devastating, touching. The media behaving like sharks in bloody water? Shocking expos

  • I never claimed that everyone who lives south of Kentucky is of no value as a human or any such thing. And I find it hard to imagine that anyone would not agree that rural Mississippi could be vastly improved by leveling it and starting over from the ground up.

    Yes, lives are at stake here. So far, it looks like 3 people died in Mississippi according to CNN. Three people, or about 1/5th as many as are murdered in the state in an average week. At this rate, they'd need 3 major hurricanes a week to equal the number of people who are stabbed and/or shot in Mississippi in the same time period. As soon as I see some round-the-clock news coverage about that, I'll rescind my hurricane-news criticism.

    I don't recall any round-the-clock blizzard coverage, but I'll take your word for it and rest assured that it's not any better.

    Finally, I have no sympathy for people who choose not to leave the affected areas before the storm hits. It takes a special breed of asshole to make overwhelmed Emergency Services spend time rescuing someone from his roof when there are much more important things to be done – especially when that person had several days' notice that the storm was coming and 100000000 warnings to evacuate.

  • I can't speak about every town in the affected states, but New Orleans had a _mandatory_ evac order in place, and FEMA set up semi-permanent housing to handle anyone who could not evacuate independently (i.e., leaving in their car and staying with a relative). No one was told they had no choice but to get a hotel for 6 months.

    And yet what do we see on the news? People on their roofs begging to be rescued because they decided they weren't going to leave. So instead of having rescue crews deal with people who literally couldn't leave (hospital staff, city infrastructure) they're wasting time, money, and resources floating around neighborhoods to retrieve morons.

    I'm sensitive to the arguments you're making but, from everything I've read and discussed with my friends here who come from Hurricane Land, calls to evacuate (and help in doing so) are plentiful and persistent.

  • Well obviously if Ed wants to level states by education rankings, everyone in Illinois better move now since the only state that was lower was Mississippi.


  • According to whom?

    Show me a relevant ranking of educational attainment in which Illinois is behind West Virginia. Please.

    I didn't know so many of our readers were big fans of the deep south – especially the decrepit, backward parts that look like Kenya without the scenery. Ginandtacos would like to redirect you to our sister website, which will be more to your liking:

  • I really do enjoy your site, Ed. I'm sort of just inciting a semi-humorous, mock debate at this point. You seem like you can take it.

    Tim, according to Morgan Quitno City and State Ranking Publications, in 2004 Illinois ranked 24th, Mississippi ranked 47th in overall education. My home state of Georgia ranked an embarrassing 38th.

    But contrary to popular belief, everyone from the south is not either a right-wing inbred fundamentalist christian or an unwed minority welfare recipient. I happen to be a well-educated, unabashed bleeding heart liberal with socialist tendencies myself, but I appreciate the stereotype. I buy fast food from it all the time.

  • Well, I've often lectured people at disinteresting length about the fact that 60% of the south jumping on the GOP fundamentalist bandwagon still leaves 40% that aren't. And that's not an insignificant number of people.

    That said, I've been to 47 of our 50 states and rural parts of MS and AL were the only places I've ever been that reminded me of a third world country. Old housing projects in Chicago look like Beverly Hills in comparison. Maybe I'm getting old or just getting lazy, but I can't think of an answer to their problems short of leveling everything and starting over.

  • sorry about the 2nd post, for some reason the page just updated for me and I saw the old post now :) I'll find the info Im looking for now.

  • ok, after a lot of searching I realized I was thinking of the wrong stats, Illinois education was 2nd to last, it was the funding. Yet I can't find the stats to back that up either. Looks like I failed and I'll crawl back into my lurking hole.

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