Me-First Media Put NYC First in Storm Coverage, with Boston a Mere Afterthought
New York City is the epicenter of almost all national television media: ABC, NBC, CBS, Fox, Fox News, Fox Business, CNN, CNBC, MSNBC, AJAM, Bloomberg, etc, not to mention a majority of major print and online publications. Los Angeles is known as the City of Angels. Philadelphia — some Flyers and Eagles fans notwithstanding — is the City of Brotherly Love. New York — without question — is the City of Major Media.
So when the next Storm of the Century is bearing down on said city, you can bet that the pre-game show leading up to the big event is going to be almost as big as the event itself. But upon waking up this morning and expecting no power and seeing two feet of drifting snow outside the window here in North Jersey, the scene wasn’t any different than the aftermath of an average storm that hit here 48 hours earlier. All told, that storm left about seven inches and didn’t affect travel or power in any capacity. Same goes for the Blizzard of ’15, which tracked further east than expected and greatly missed snowfall and power outage estimates…but is living up to the forecast for Boston, Providence and most of Eastern New England as a whole.
No matter. All throughout Sunday and Monday the New York media certainly made sure you knew everything that was happening…in New York City. When Mayor Bill de Blasio spoke, cable news either went live to the press conference or showed plenty of soundbites afterward. Much like Rudy Giuliani right after 9/11, de Blasio became the political leader Americans saw front and center…in this case when it came to warnings around the storm, particularly after the mayor declared, “My message to all New Yorkers is prepare for something worse than we have seen before.” Scary stuff (Note: you can’t blame any mayor for preparing his or her city for the worst)…but custom-made for any producer worth his/her salt putting together SOTs (sound on tape) for any report/package around the storm.
One person we didn’t hear much from leading up to the main event on Monday night was Marty Walsh, who only happens to be in charge of the largest city in New England. And it’s not like the media doesn’t know how to get to Boston these days…just look at the massive convergence that occurred last week during the national emergency that is DeflateGate. Regardless of what didn’t happen in New York regarding the blizzard that wasn’t here, Boston and much of New England (total population: 14.8 million) has always forecast to get higher totals, more wind, more likely power outages and dangerous conditions. But Beantown isn’t home to all of the aforemtioned media outlets listed above…so while it was involved periodically in the media conversation, this storm was always about New York because it affected those covering it personally.
And with massive coverage comes massive amounts of unintentional humor. The examples are endless, but the winner of the UH Award goes to any outlet deploying a Blizzard Mobile. In this scenario, a field reporter delivers a report on road/weather conditions either while driving (with a cameraman in the passenger seat) or via dashcam from the passenger seat. The punchline, of course, comes when said reporter breathlessly warns everyone TO STAY OFF THE ROADS BECAUSE ITS EXTREMELY DANGEROUS, EVEN LIFE THREATENING AND YOU BETTER HAVE A WILL PREPARED BECAUSE YOU WILL DIE. Of course, it’s unlikely the cameraman or reporter is any more qualified to handle driving in poor weather conditions than you or me, but it makes for accidental good television for producers not looking to get one-upped by the competition deploying the same gimmick.
But the personal highlight here came on CNN last night at around 8:45 p.m. ET. Anderson Cooper–who always does his best work in the field–conducted an interview by phone with Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams, who sent out this tweet one hour earlier before doing the hit:
— Eric Adams (@BPEricAdams) January 27, 2015
And now the video:
And the transcript:
COOPER: Mr Adams, how’s Brooklyn coping with the storm so far?
ADAMS: Good. Good. I almost feel bad because I’m getting ready to go out and do a quick jog, you know?
Cooper (half-chuckling): Are you really? Wow.
[Later in interview.]
ADAMS: The winds are really blowing out there. The roads are hazarous. It is extremely slippery. Just driving on the road or riding a bike…one fall or stumble it could create an accident. And then it would already overburden the 911 system while ambulances and emergency responders are going to have to be responding to a large number of calls. So the least we do to get in the way of that, the better we are.
COOPER: Eric Adams. Appreciate you talking to us. Have a good run, and we’ll talk to you maybe when you get back.
After getting a little blowback on Twitter, Adams — who if you watch the clip wasn’t joking about the outdoor exercise (Cooper rightly seemed to believe him, albeit didn’t seem to notice the contradiction) — would later clarify that he was going for a jog indoors on a treadmill, which makes perfect sense to mention in any capacity during a national TV interview about road and sidewalk conditions outside in Brooklyn during an impending blizzard. Nope, you can’t make it up.
The Blizzard of 2015 was the worst storm to ever hit New York City and New Jersey… in at least two days. Turns out it’s a very real, very dangerous situation in Boston and New England as a whole. Too bad our me-first media has ignored that part of the country until after their home turf was in the clear.
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