Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Hurricane News : SHAME ON FOX!

Why can't our newscasters at our local stations cover hurricanes and feed the info to the networks? I would much rather hear my own weather team/meteorologists reporting what's happening in downtown Lake Charles, Louisiana. They live there too so they have a vested interest. They know the area and they'd be honest. I don't believe they'd toy with our emotions.

When we evacuate our homes leaving everything we own behind--television is our lifeline. We truly count on those who hold microphones and stand in front of the cameras to show us what's happening in our area. We're often let down or feel misled.

Shepherd Smith, stationed in New Orleans, was in front of the cameras constantly, but came across ill-prepared. Winging it, I guess. His exaggerated comments sounded as if he were trying out for a part in a movie, or perhaps dictating a work of fiction. At one time, he said the storm was headed to two cities to the west of New Orleans. Shep, do you know how many cities are to the west of New Orleans?

Adam Housely was in Lake Charles, Louisiana but he had little information about what was actually happening in the city. He was perched atop L'auberg Casino when he should have been moving around the town. About all he had to offer was "nice city" before he too told us what was happening in N.O. and Plaquemines Parish. As if we didn't know. Housely's blog is more interesting and informative.

In all fairness to Adam, he didn't get much air time but when he did, those of us from LC who were scattered across several states longed to hear real news about what was happening in our town.

I've defended Geraldo to family and friends for years, standing up for him when others criticize his reporting methods. Never again. My daughter and I watched what he called the most spectacular rescue he'd ever seen and couldn't believe our ears. This from a man who has been in Afghanistan? We recognized immediately that the Coast Guard was in control and that the man in the life jacket wasn't in need of a rescue. He was working. Working. Not performing.

A special note to Geraldo and all reporters: We here in Louisiana and along the Gulf Coast pray for our properties when we have to evacuate them. We pray for our friends, our law enforcement, our city leaders--even the news media reporting the storms in their dramatic way. While we're praying, we don't want to hear newsmen using God's name in vain.

Reporting storms isn't a time to show off, act cute or lie to those of us huddled around the TV. We want the facts. We hang on every word. We're living in fear that we'll be returning to soaked carpets, roofless houses or nothing more than a slab. Any mention of our towns and what's happening there is appreciated. We want serious men and women giving us news about every city in harm's way. And we appreciate it immensely when reporters call our towns by name and pronounce those names correctly. It shows they've done their homework.

Fox dropped the ball. Their reporters lacked professionalism and compassion, and added very little news to a tense, scary situation. In the future I hope they show us respect by informing us...not entertaining us. We're not looking for entertainment when everything we own is at risk.

I'd like to thank Jim Cantore from The Weather Channel, for knowing how to report a hurricane. Stationed in Houma, Louisiana, Jim was informative and professional. TWC is to be commended. I hope they send more of their professionals to bring us relevant news and guide us during hurricanes to come.

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