Over in my column at the DG, I elaborate on my feelings about Hurricane Irene. The piece touches upon several different themes, but one thing I feel particularly strongly about is my overall disgust for pundits like Howard Kurtz, who wrote about how Hurricane Irene was overhyped BEFORE THE STORM WAS EVEN OVER. He should actually apologize for that column, which was an absolute embarrassment, but famous pundits don't generally apologize, acknowledge that they're wrong, or correct themselves, so I doubt we'll hear a word about HOW ABSOLUTELY WRONG HE WAS any time soon.
Anyway, here's an excerpt:
"The floodwaters were still rising when some people began wondering whether the storm was simply a lot of hype.
On Sunday at 11:15 a.m. (you know — when it was still raining cats and dogs up here), The Daily Beast posted an op-ed by media critic Howard Kurtz suggesting that the media coverage of the storm was overblown. Hurricane Irene, he wrote, wasn’t such a big deal. “Hurricanes are unpredictable, and it’s a great relief that the prophets of doom were wrong about Hurricane Irene. But don’t expect the cable networks to downgrade their coverage the next time a tropical storm gathers strength.”
What kills me is that Kurtz felt comfortable writing this before the storm had even ended. Apparently media critics are also meteorologists who can see the future? Perhaps he was thinking, 'Well, it didn’t destroy New York City, which is the only place on Earth that matters, besides Washington, which wasn’t destroyed, either. So it wasn’t that bad a storm after all!'
Other clowns wondered whether officials overreacted to the storm, which is now estimated to be one of the 10 costliest disasters in U.S. history. That sounds pretty bad to me, but what do I know?
In any case, I’m assuming that the naysaying clowns weren’t among those affected by the storm, that they didn’t lose their power for days on end, that their houses are still standing, that they aren’t surveying their businesses and wondering whether they can reopen, that they aren’t trapped in a small Vermont town waiting for food and emergency supplies to be airlifted to them. Maybe they looked out their windows on Sunday and thought, 'This storm doesn’t seem that bad' and never realized that there’s a great big world beyond what you can immediately see."