High Chance of Blowhards

I’m always amused when the TV reports from storm landfalls are peppered with statements such as, “There’s nobody here but reporters.” Who needs fairness, objectivity, and nuance when there’s a storm a-brewin?  Who needs balance, when you’ve got a pole to lean against? Oh, the drama of the live storm stand-up!

TV correspondents bellowing while taking facefuls of driving rain?
Got it. Reporters hunched and squinting in the teeth of hurricane-force
winds? Got that, too. Reporters dressed in the standard uniform of the
intrepid weather correspondent — colorful-but-flimsy network-logo
jacket and ball cap — to dramatize the effects of the driving rain and
hurricane-force winds? Oh, yeah, got that, too.

It’s not enough
to report on a storm by showing TV viewers its impact. Dramatic as it
is, the standard B-roll footage of pounding surf, wind-whipped palm
trees and mangled power lines serves as a mere palate-cleanser. On
storm stories, TV reporters are required to interact with the weather
and become, potentially, human sacrifices to it.

This makes
weather reporting different than every other kind of breaking TV news
story. No one covers a house fire by rushing into the burning building,
or reports on a war by doing stand-ups in the middle of a tank battle.

With the weather, however, participation is mandatory. — Paul Farhi, The Washington Post