Cov­er­age of hur­ri­cane goes too far

Kingston Whig-Standard - - OPINION -

I could not be­lieve my eyes while I saw watch­ing me­dia cov­er­age of hur­ri­cane Irma. Three dif­fer­ent clips of fri­vol­ity bor­der­ing on stu­pid­ity. The clips I saw were for no other rea­son than for “rat­ings.” Net­works and lo­cal net­works all strive for rat­ings, do they not?

Now I do not know if th­ese three video clips I am re­fer­ring to were fake or con­cocted, but here they are.

First, a clip of a guy try­ing to hold his cube van up­right in gust­ing winds so it would not roll over. Well it did ... right on top of him. The me­dia out­let that showed it must have got­ten it from some­one with a video cam­era and paid aplenty for it.

Sec­ond, a clip of a “pro­fes­sional storm chaser” who was shown brav­ing high winds hold­ing his wind mea­sure­ment de­vice in a rag­ing storm. Ab­so­lutely in­sane and stupid.

Third, a clip of a man in scuba-div­ing out­fit in a body of wa­ter be­ing hauled out of the wa­ter. He was in trou­ble with the rag­ing swells and wind in his full scubadiv­ing gear. The re­port­ing net­work said he was an “ex­pe­ri­enced” scuba diver.

Now ex­pe­ri­enced me­dia out­lets will tell you that un­less you shock peo­ple show­ing them stuff like that, they will not be con­vinced it is a po­ten­tially dan­ger­ous event un­less they see it with their own eyes.

Maybe. But one won­ders how far me­dia will go to get the mes­sage out to the pub­lic. And whether it’s re­ally a pub­lic ser­vice cause or one to in­crease their rat­ings in a dog-eat-dog world of me­dia cov­er­age.

Wayne Lewis Kingston

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