Tuesday, September 20, 2005

An artifact

I saw the Washington Times's useful piece on hyped weather coverage. It made me think of 2003, when Anderson Cooper and I had just created the closing segment for his then-new show. We called it, "The Nth Degree." This early one, which I wrote for September 17, 2003's program, benefited greatly from the visuals, but I thought it might be worth dredging up even without them:

"COOPER: Tonight, we take weather forecasting to the Nth degree.

"Now, you have no doubt seen a lot about Hurricane Isabel on the news today. But tonight on 'The Nth Degree,' we wanted to explain some of the more arcane elements at work in this story. For instance, Isabel is unquestionably dangerous, destructive and potentially deadly. But no matter how it turns out, it is clear today that some of its terrifying power comes from a constant influx of overheated hype which is sweeping in from the bottom of your map.

"That is forecast, of course, to continue at least through the weekend. Now, this pattern of hype, which is coming down from here, may be due to a stagnant patch of low ratings in this region colliding with an area of very high pressure for better ratings. As you can see, that is bringing in a cold front which is pushing waves of fear and anxiety toward low-lying regions.

"So watch out for coastal floods of correspondents in those regions. After all, it may be a Category 2 storm, but it is definitely a Category 4 media event, which means we are in for some very powerful winds. So watch out.

"That about wraps it up for us this evening. Thanks very much for joining us on 360."
The past is prologue, and all that.

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