For days in advance, the National Weather Service (NWS) warned the east coast that Hurricane Florence could wreak havoc along the shores of both North and South Carolina. Officials begged residents to flee or at least take up residence at hundreds of local shelters.
Some ignored the urgent warnings.
"I got generators…I won't be calling anybody to help me out anyhow, I can take care of it myself." – Despite warnings from weather experts and the government, Jim Darling – and his pet parrot, Maximus – plan to ride out Hurricane Florence in So. Carolina https://t.co/t8RNo10nG4 pic.twitter.com/2rOLQWBoV1
— CNN Newsroom (@CNNnewsroom) September 11, 2018
About a dozen people ultimately died from flooding, flying debris, or issues connected to electrocution from downed power lines.
Journalism plays an important role in informing, updating, and analyzing a crisis in our culture. 98% of America would not partake in the effects of Hurricane Florence, but the detached drama is certainly in the public interest.
FLORENCE UPDATE: @TomLlamasABC anchors a second update on Tropical Storm Florence, a massive rainmaker hovering over the Carolinas and flooding roads and neighborhoods. @VictorOquendo reports from Jacksonville, NC, and @SamChampion with the forecast. https://t.co/ui6fJfnxYq pic.twitter.com/FMJG4fJO71
— World News Tonight (@ABCWorldNews) September 15, 2018
Network TV crews with complex, multifaceted broadcast equipment huddle in truck compounds a significant distance from the coastal impact areas. These seasoned meteorologists and reporters have the protection of large crews and limitations on what types of risks are allowed. They also work hand-in-hand with local, state, and federal authorities to bring viewers/listeners the latest information via multiple communication platforms.
The rest of unaffected America stays informed by those networks or checks the online feeds from Carolina’s local stations throughout the danger zones. Those local stations are wired in with their local authorities to relay the necessary local knowledge to keep people safe and alive.
So why does a meteorologist like WDRB’s drama king Marc “The National Weather Service is wrong! I HAVE THE REAL DETAILS coming up in 10 minutes! Stay tuned!” Weinberg insert himself into a storm scenario where he is not needed, not wanted, and his information is fed to an unaffected city hundreds of miles west?
It’s weather porn, that’s why.
Even the Weather Channel overplays its hand…
— Tony scar. (@gourdnibler) September 14, 2018
…but Marc Weinberg is his own level of Chicken Little silliness.
Marc knows that he is an interloper, a nuisance who could be in the way of first responders and law enforcement. He’s not working with local, state, or federal authorities. He just drives into the danger zone simply to steal some personal spotlight by sending weather porn back home.
Look at me…I’m wearing goggles in a hurricane! Ain’t I neat?
How is this helpful to people about to confront tragedy? It’s not. It’s about Marc.
No one in the affected areas sees any information generated by Weinberg or his colleague Travis Ragsdale. The Carolinas have hundreds of talented media members who know the area and are trusted by the local audience.
Carolinians follow social media accounts of Carolina broadcasters. Marc Weinberg is simply exploiting a natural disaster for his own glorification. It’s just weather porn, outrageous imagery from someone else’s tragedy to spur clicks on his social media account.
And those goggles? Maybe just a wee bit overly dramatic?
Lots of radio talk shows started hammering Weinberg’s histrionics. Facebook mockery broke out on lots of Louisville accounts. Here’s one from Charlie Steele, the most dominant radio performer in the entire Carolina region.
This isn’t like when radio stations travel to cover NCAA tournament games or TV stations doing travelogue packages. This is a case of a clickbait journalism getting in the way while first responders are trying to protect lives.
I certainly understand the comedic element of Marc With a C going into hurricane zones, but his “science” is nowhere near as amusing as the breezy throat punches sustained by Lane Pittman, a man who rocks Ol Glory and dances to Slayer.
— Mikael Thalen (@MikaelThalen) September 14, 2018
So if Weinberg’s work is comedy, it’s flat. If it is meteorology, it’s exploitative farce. The people back in the Louisville studio have sophisticated equipment to properly inform the public. Weinberg is simply taking soggy selfies for his own amusement.
And before anyone suggests that Weinberg and his colleagues were making themselves useful by helping to evacuate people stranded by mounting floodwaters following the initial storm surge, Weinberg’s own social media dashes that notion.
They collected their weather porn and then rolled out of Dodge without helping even one grandma get to church or help unload drinking water at the local shelter.
As long as Twitter fans like Stormy keep encouraging Marc with a C, he’ll surely keep inserting himself into other people’s misfortune for the betterment of his click count.
Now back to real coverage.
"So far North Myrtle Beach has dodged a bullet," says CNN's Nick Watt in South Carolina, adding that Tropical Storm Florence has so far been "nothing near as bad as we feared" https://t.co/GhR3kJjlOF pic.twitter.com/nKplfrJguS
— CNN Newsroom (@CNNnewsroom) September 15, 2018