The Media May Not Always Be 100 Percent Clear-Headed in Times of Natural Disasters


A hurricane warning has been issued for New York City. Barack Obama has declared a state of emergency for New York. We hear there is a line at Trader Joe’s 100 people long. People are buying off-brand water! Our relatives are stocking up on heirloom tomatoes! And the media is reporting, reporting, reporting, or REPORTING, REPORTING, REPORTING!

While knowledge is power, and none of us want to be hurt or have our windows blown out or lose power and actually have to drink the water we just filled our grimy kitchen pots with in a moment of intense neurosis, we would like to hereby urge a certain measure of “taking things with a grain of salt.” Or, keep calm and carry on, and try not to pee your pants.

Yes, everyone should take care in this situation, and heed the wisdom of Mike Bloomberg, and most definitely get to a safe place, and not go gallivanting around outside during the storm. But we would also like to caution you that sometimes the media, you know, really does like a natural disaster story so much that they might…you know…build it up a little. Without meaning to! Just for illustrative purposes! Local color!

Know this: The hurricane is not a “monster,” it is a weather system. We will only get out there in our canoe if the water is legitimately deep, and if we are pretty much sauced. All-caps tweets are for jokes, not demonstrating scary things and/or fearmongering. BREAKING plus URGENT is just a little bit of an overkill, and one should really limit oneself to a maximum of three exclamation points. Let’s get through this together, New York City!