After Irene

Now that the hurricane is over and most people who had hunkered down with the rest of the Eastern Seaboard suffered little more than lawns littered with ripped down leaves, a few sticks and a puddle or two, how should we feel?

Relieved? Grateful? Duped?

Despite the incessant, hysterical reporting (which got great ratings to be sure), it was no more than a bad storm for most. Wet streets in New York City. Power outages for plenty, apparently. A big tree blocking a street in just about every neighborhood.

But there were many more people affected by storm effects of our own making: Closing the trains for the weekend, shutting down the airports, buying a lot of plywood and bottled water that weren’t needed.

And the reporting was of a crazed nature: Standing out in the rain and yelling back to anchors in the studio and conveying only that, yes, it was rainy and windy (and they could have gone live 24/7 for any rain storm and produced the same kind of pictures, given the motivation to hype). Nobody I saw ever said: Actually, there’s not much going on. Mostly they said: It’s much worse than it looks and it’s going to get much much worse (and keep watching!).

Once more, let’s repeat we’re glad it turned out the way it did; that most everybody got through it just fine. But we’re a little embarrassed at having swallowed all the hype.

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