The Hurricane Irene Hype Backlash Begins

By Alex Weprin 

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The Daily Beast’s Howard Kurtz writes the first of what will likely be many stories over the next few days declaring Hurricane Irene a triumph of media hype over dangerous substance. Kurtz noted that Irene will end up costing billions of dollars and is responsible for at least 11 deaths at last count, but he still argues that the hype was too much:

Someone has to say it: Cable news was utterly swept away by the notion that Irene would turn out to be Armageddon. National news organizations morphed into local eyewitness-news operations, going wall-to-wall for days with dire warnings about what would turn out to be a Category 1 hurricane, the lowest possible ranking. “Cable news is scaring the crap out of me, and I WORK in cable news,” Bloomberg correspondent Lizzie O’Leary tweeted.

I say this with all due respect to the millions who were left without power, to those communities facing flooding problems, and of course to the families of the 11 people (at last count) who lost their lives in storm-related accidents.

Kurtz, of course, also hosts “Reliable Sources” on CNN, so viewers should expect a lot of Irene when the show returns next week. What do you think? Was this storm overhyped by the media? Or was the hype justified in the event that the worst (or worse) case scenarios actually materialized?

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