Is it national news if it rains in Florida?


The top item on the Drudge Report has been about the hurricane that might hit Florida. And Drudge isn't alone. Most other national news broadcast and print publication are giving heavy coverage to the event. As if a hurricane has never struck Florida before. As if it hasn't happened every year. Multiple times every year.

So my question is: is a storm in one part of the country legitimate national news? I don't know about you, but unless there are large scale deaths (more than, say, happens on a typical night in a barrio in Miami), I have zero interest in reading about rain in Florida. Or flooding in New Orleans (that's never happened before, has it?). Or snow in upstate New York, or chilly winds in Chicago. While these are legitimate topics of discussion for local newspapers, they masquarade as topics of national news.

Why does it matter? Obviously no one forces us to read these articles. What troubles me is that newspapers use the weather as filler to avoid writing articles about real subjects that do matter to me. If five reporters are sent to see how much it's raining outside, that's five reporters who aren't reporting on what our government is doing or what is happening in the world. It's a dilution of the news and reduces our ability to understand what is going on in America and abroad.

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Here is some of the "important" reporting on the weather.

[Florida Governor Rick Scott] “Regardless if there is a direct hit or not, the impacts will be devastating"

Devastating! Even if it doesn't hit Florida! More news:

There were empty shelves and long gas station lines as residents stocked up on supplies and fuel and prepared to make their own exodus ahead of the storm.

Empty shelves and lines for gas? I have never read or heard of such a thing before a big storm. This is very newsworthy. The article even had a photo of empty shelves so I could see what empty shelves look like.

Myrtle Beach resident Michaela Choate, 22, said she "couldn't even get near a gas station" on Tuesday.

More reporting on the lines for gas. Good to have anecdotal support for this unheard of phenomena. And more.

"The combination of a dangerous storm surge and the tide will cause normally dry areas near the coast to be flooded," the hurricane center warned

So if it rains a lot, areas that are dry could become wet. Good to know.

"This is a unique and dangerous hurricane.... said Don Walker, spokesman for Brevard County's Emergency Management Office.

Previous hurricanes were neither unique, nor dangerous. This one is different.

When the storm actually hits, I expect to see stories about flooded streets and residents who had to temporarily evacuate. I expect to see stories about property damage and people unhappy with the rain and winds. I want to see photos of a man in a boat going down a street, or someone on a rooftop being rescued by a helicopter, because these are things I have never, ever seen before in a hurricane.

But, actually we have seen it all before, haven't we? And not just once but many, many times. That's why I get impatient when local stories become national news, because they crowd out real news reporting. What do you think?



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