As Hurricane Dennis, a powerful Category 4 storm, approaches the Gulf Coast, we can expect more trite, gratuitous silliness from the news media. What purpose does it serve to display an intrepid reporter braving the elements? Is it that they think that the potential for the reporter to be blown away sells commercial time? Are they pandering to the same people who go to NASCAR races to see crashes? Exactly what service does such reportage provide that couldn’t be done in a drier location?
Last year, during Hurricane Charley, a local station’s reporter was broadcasting live from Sanford. He was demonstrating the effect of the wind by tossing a palm frond up and having his camera man follow it as it blew down the street. How idiotic! Things blow around in the wind. Duh! However, the funny part came when a car full of beer swilling good ol’ boys drove past. The following commentary ensued:
Reporter: These people shouldn’t be out here. It’s dangerous. I think they’re having a good time–wait, they’re turing around. They’ve seen us taping and maybe they’ll give us a comment. Here they are now.
(The passenger in the front seat rolls down his window. It is clear that all aboard are feeling no pain.)
Passenger: Heyyyyy! How ya doin?
Reporter: Do you know that it’s dangerous to be out here during a hurricane?
Passenger: We’re not the one who’s standing out there in the rain! (whoops and hollers, as they drive off)
My sentiments exactly.