True nature of the problem would not be known until morning.
Reporters blew hard anyway.
WARNING: Don't get me wrong here: Tropical Storm Sandy caused widespread devastation and misery. What I am addressing is the sensationalism of early reporting; the false fear mongering; the story lines that didn't match the videos; the attempt to instill fear that didn't match the facts; the joggers out for a casual run in the background while reporters spread dire tales of horror and lies. Yes, things are bad. No, reporters did not give it to you straight. If they could make it look worse than it is, they did.
The lamestream media told you:
"Frankenstorm." "Superstorm Sandy." Monster storm the likes of which we haven't seen in our lifetimes. Hunker down. Mandatory evacuation orders. Stay off the roads. Do not venture outside. Do not expect emergency services to come and rescue you. Don't call 911 and jam the lines. One reporter who found a river flowing on what used to be a street in Atlantic City stood in it all night for the cameras (while people and vehicles traveled in the background). Some beach erosion on a beach near the ocean, which is where beaches are found, which erode in storms. A wooden walkway floats away. Erin Burnett breathlessly standing in a light rain and stiff breezes in front of a well-lit Manhattan talking about power outages all over Manhattan. Partial collapse of a construction crane on 57th street high above the busiest street in Manhattan. Partial collapse of a construction crane on 57th street high above the busiest street in Manhattan. Repetition of all of the above. Incessantly. Don't forget what nighttime "news" coverage was like, in the aftermath coverage of flooded homes and receding water and damage. Barrier islands washing away from erosion, which is the precise nature of barrier islands.
The Uninvited Ombudsman notes however that:
The lowest category storm that can still be called a hurricane, a Category 1 storm, threw the "news" community into a breathless reporting frenzy all night, as they did their best to make it into the report of the century, whipping themselves into a howling tirade on some rain that all but fizzled out at least where they stood, as the storm degraded below hurricane strength by the time it made landfall Monday night. CNN continued to call it a hurricane, FOX called it a storm, everyone could see it had no eye, even though it was huge and devastating.
The biggest problem -- a massive wall of water in a record storm surge, which would flood low lying coastal areas -- would go unreported until morning light.
Reality-show-watching Americans, formerly a fearless daredevil bunch but now being trained to be afraid of their own shadows, were treated to a non-stop fear-factor barrage of danger reports all night long, that were repudiated by the actual events that didn't unfold before their very eyes, and preempted all other news. Oh, sure, some local flooding was seen, some of it quite heavy, it rained, winds got up into the... double digits, flights were cancelled, schools were closed (yipee! that's a good thing, as we all remember), other stuff happened. It was a storm, to be sure. "Officials" and "authorities" closed things everywhere out of fear things might happen, shutting down entire cities, for safety. That's probably a good thing. Warning people is a good thing. Amplifying reality beyond reality, probably not a good thing. Wait for news before reporting it. That's now an olden thing. The three-foot flood at the stock market was pure rumor.
A lot of people lost electrical power, always a problem in storms, some of whom will remain without power for an extended period. If you're not prepared for that, this is a wake up call.
A number of people lost their lives, some tragically, a real cause for grief, a natural effect of natural disasters, and another wake up call, heed it.
Trees, yes trees, seemed to be among the biggest threats, with many toppling over. No calls to ban trees have been made, even though they are blocking traffic and caused extensive damage and even loss of life. Check for local tree threats on your own property, if any. Flooring, dry wall, carpentry, furniture, paint, hardware suppliers and flood-repair companies nationwide are licking their chops and preparing for overtime, heedless of the broken-window theory of economics (which I've always challenged to the chagrin of my libertarian friends). Keynsian economists and their political sycophants will be on guard for price gouging, also known as supply and demand.
Reporters got caught up in their own delirium, often reporting on nothing -- a heavy rain with winds they were told, hoped, wished, came to believe -- would be more than it was, and missed the real story, the surge that did the real damage and left the mess and stranded victims. What will happen if a real hurricane -- a Cat 2, 3, 4 or 5 were to hit a populated area of the mainland, with sustained winds in the three-digit range? What adjectives will they use then? What morons will they get to stand out in the streets then?
Some reality did creep into the reports, when reporters mentioned that of the many people who failed to obey the evacuation orders, some were seen out walking their dogs. Viewers were able to eyewitness police and other vehicles, specially equipped with... tires, closed windows, windshield wipers and gasoline engines, cruising streets behind intrepid reporters standing in wind gusts and rain, reporting through soggy whistling microphones and steady cameras.
The news media should be ashamed of itself -- ashamed I say -- for such miserable reporting, such fear mongering, such failure to adjust reports to reflect the true nature of the situation they actually found themselves in, and instead, going with the pre-fab "narrative." When a real storm hits, people will be reluctant to believe these purveyors of abject nonsense. "News" of the rainfall preempted all other reporting for the entire evening. Redundant images of the same pooled water on streets could have been interspersed with some news from somewhere else on Earth.
The next morning, major cities were at a self-imposed standstill. FLASH: This just in from an eyewitness living in Brooklyn (three miles from the coast where he received light rain) -- Manhattan has been completely sealed off -- not by the tropical storm, but by officials. The storm has provided an unexpected opportunity to test the ability to seal off Manhattan island. No one can enter or leave the island, at the time of the report. My secret contact, reporting by phone, cannot go and do his business, because he is not allowed (as opposed to not capable) or reaching the island. All bridges (which are fully functional and dry) and all tunnels (which may be flooded) have been closed, with the storm, now over, as the reason given. In fairness, parts of Manhattan are under water and draining. Coastal New Jersey, very hard hit, is inaccessible. States in the mid Atlantic are getting snow. I saw a guy with a snow blower doing his walk.
President Obama, in a widely televised appearance at the Red Cross and looking very presidential according to commentators, promised to wipe away all red tape and bureaucracy to rush aid to those hardest hit by the storm. Why red tape and bureaucracy aren't similarly wiped away elsewhere throughout the federal government by presidential announcement was unexplained at press time.
In other news, it appears that the White House actually watched the pre-planned highly coordinated heavily armed islamist assault on our Libyan Ambassador's Benghazi consulate outpost in real time, and did nothing to prevent it or help defend Ambassador Chris Stevens who was murdered, along with three of his staff. Troops were available standing ready nearby, but never received orders to act. The "news" media is apparently suppressing this story in hopes of re-electing the man responsible for this travesty, according to leading experts speaking on condition of anonymity. According to the father of one of the men murdered in the attack, speaking publicly on the only TV station covering the story, FOX, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton lied directly to his face about the event.