Who rocked the hurricane? The Weather Channel

All the 24-hour-news networks became weather channels today. But only the Weather Channel knew how to cover it

Topics: sandy, weather channel, Hurricane Sandy, hurricane, Weather, Fox, MSNBC, TV, CNN, NBC, Television, ny1, ,

Who rocked the hurricane? The Weather ChannelThe Weather Channel's Mike Seidel

Hurricane Sandy is just coming ashore, which means we have been living through a 24-hour news cycle that amounts to running-in-place news. Around 5:20 p.m. on MSNBC, a very wet reporter standing down in Battery Park told Chris Matthews that there is for sure going to be flooding tonight— which is exactly what the person standing down in Battery Park said last night, the only difference being that person was not getting rained on. As a public service — like, a service that tells people what they need to know for their health and safety — one TV network broadcasting updates every 10 minutes would suffice. That is clearly not what is happening. Everything else that is happening — the endless chatter, the reporters performing their commitment to their job in increasingly bad, dangerous weather — is just for show.

But once you accept the fact that the 24-hour-news networks — which all of the major networks have turned into for the duration — are not performing a public service, we can begin to evaluate them on a whole other scale. That scale being: Which was the most fun to watch today, while you were stuck at home, carefully heeding all the news networks’ advice not to go outside? On this score, there was a clear winner. Let me break down the contenders.

First up, but not victorious: NY1. Sandy is the sort of news event that New York’s local cable channel usually excels at, a disaster that deserves comprehensive, flood-the-zone (pun lazily intended) coverage. It did not disappoint today, exactly. It’s just that its sort of relatively no-nonsense, levelheaded approach to an ongoing disaster was relatively no-nonsense and levelheaded. Yes, the news anchors talking to the crane expert all but forced him to say things were going to turn horrific, but by and large, there were lots of weather updates and outdoor footage in the streets of Queens where nothing that horrible was happening. Where were the reporters leaning into the wind? Why wasn’t the news conference from a leading government official interrupted to show said people leaning into the wind? Why wasn’t weather guy Jonathan, who is going to be wearing his blue shirt for, like, 64 hours, freaking out?

On the other end of the spectrum was MSNBC, which more or less refused to let us forget the election was going on. Fox News was actually running less politics than MSNBC. CNBC talked less about finances than MSNBC talked about electoral politics today. What is a hurricane but an excuse to pretend politics don’t exist (for those of us who would like to pretend politics don’t exist)? MSNBC, of all the networks, kept trying to bring it back to the election, even airing their regularly scheduled news-discussion program for a few minutes this afternoon. This is not the sort of grandiose, respectful treatment a hurricane deserves. MSNBC is disqualified.

Fox News, meanwhile, loses for being unmemorable. Nothing distinguished its coverage, which was a little Shep Smith rabble-rousing and way too many Doppler pictures. Inessential. CNN gets tossed for most willfully putting its reporters in danger. A CNN reporter was standing in a foot of water at an intersection in Atlantic City for hours. He finally walked away, to safety, after the power went out at that intersection. As he waded back, while the channel was cutting to commercial, it was revealed that three feet from where he had been wading for hours he could stand on asphalt (and also that guys could streak behind him and come to no harm). Atlantic City is obviously in a bad way right now, but what nonsense showmanship.

This leaves — as one might have predicted – the Weather Channel. Of all the networks, a storm like this is the Weather Channel’s brief and it showed. While other networks were showing us yet another reporter at the Battery, the Weather Channel would cut to the snowstorms in West Virginia (crazy snow there!). Al Roker was out in the rain getting blown around the Jersey shore this morning, hours before any of the other networks could come up with a good visual. Even better, Roker’s been out of harm’s way for hours and hours since then. Keen to pass on news, updates and press conferences, the Weather Channel also flashed some idiotic personality: Today’s highlights include flirtatious banter between colleagues in wet suits and an anchor calling Con Ed “coned.” For a combination of not-that-dangerous entertainment, the information you need and some idiosyncratic foibles, the Weather Channel wins the past 24 hours. On to tomorrow.

Willa Paskin

Willa Paskin is Salon's staff TV writer.

More Related Stories

Featured Slide Shows

  • Share on Twitter
  • Share on Facebook
  • 1 of 14
  • Close
  • Fullscreen
  • Thumbnails

    13 of "Girls'" most cringeworthy sex scenes

    Hannah and Adam, "Pilot"

    One of our first exposures to uncomfortable “Girls” sex comes early, in the pilot episode, when Hannah and Adam “get feisty” (a phrase Hannah hates) on the couch. The pair is about to go at it doggy-style when Adam nearly inserts his penis in “the wrong hole,” and after Hannah corrects him, she awkwardly explains her lack of desire to have anal sex in too many words. “Hey, let’s play the quiet game,” Adam says, thrusting. And so the romance begins.

    13 of "Girls'" most cringeworthy sex scenes

    Marnie and Elijah, "It's About Time"

    In an act of “betrayal” that messes up each of their relationships with Hannah, Marnie and Elijah open Season 2 with some more couch sex, which is almost unbearable to watch. Elijah, who is trying to explore the “hetero side” of his bisexuality, can’t maintain his erection, and the entire affair ends in very uncomfortable silence.

    13 of "Girls'" most cringeworthy sex scenes

    Marnie and Charlie, "Vagina Panic"

    Poor Charlie. While he and Marnie have their fair share of uncomfortable sex over the course of their relationship, one of the saddest moments (aside from Marnie breaking up with him during intercourse) is when Marnie encourages him to penetrate her from behind so she doesn’t have to look at him. “This feels so good,” Charlie says. “We have to go slow.” Poor sucker.

    13 of "Girls'" most cringeworthy sex scenes

    Shoshanna and camp friend Matt, "Hannah's Diary"

    We’d be remiss not to mention Shoshanna’s effort to lose her virginity to an old camp friend, who tells her how “weird” it is that he “loves to eat pussy” moments before she admits she’s never “done it” before. At least it paves the way for the uncomfortable sex we later get to watch her have with Ray?

    13 of "Girls'" most cringeworthy sex scenes

    Hannah and Adam, "Hard Being Easy"

    On the heels of trying (unsuccessfully) to determine the status of her early relationship with Adam, Hannah walks by her future boyfriend’s bedroom to find him masturbating alone, in one of the strangest scenes of the first season. As Adam jerks off and refuses to let Hannah participate beyond telling him how much she likes watching, we see some serious (and odd) character development ... which ends with Hannah taking a hundred-dollar bill from Adam’s wallet, for cab fare and pizza (as well as her services).

    13 of "Girls'" most cringeworthy sex scenes

    Marnie and Booth Jonathan, "Bad Friend"

    Oh, Booth Jonathan -- the little man who “knows how to do things.” After he turns Marnie on enough to make her masturbate in the bathroom at the gallery where she works, Booth finally seals the deal in a mortifying and nearly painful to watch sex scene that tells us pretty much everything we need to know about how much Marnie is willing to fake it.

    13 of "Girls'" most cringeworthy sex scenes

    Tad and Loreen, "The Return"

    The only sex scene in the series not to feature one of the main characters, Hannah’s parents’ showertime anniversary celebration is easily one of the most cringe-worthy moments of the show’s first season. Even Hannah’s mother, Loreen, observes how embarrassing the situation is, which ends with her husband, Tad, slipping out of the shower and falling naked and unconscious on the bathroom floor.

    13 of "Girls'" most cringeworthy sex scenes

    Hannah and the pharmacist, "The Return"

    Tad and Loreen aren’t the only ones to get some during Hannah’s first season trip home to Michigan. The show’s protagonist finds herself in bed with a former high school classmate, who doesn’t exactly enjoy it when Hannah puts one of her fingers near his anus. “I’m tight like a baby, right?” Hannah asks at one point. Time to press pause.

    13 of "Girls'" most cringeworthy sex scenes

    Hannah and Adam, "Role-Play"

    While it’s not quite a full-on, all-out sex scene, Hannah and Adam’s attempt at role play in Season 3 is certainly an intimate encounter to behold (or not). Hannah dons a blond wig and gets a little too into her role, giving a melodramatic performance that ends with a passerby punching Adam in the face. So there’s that.

    13 of "Girls'" most cringeworthy sex scenes

    Shoshanna and Ray, "Together"

    As Shoshanna and Ray near the end of their relationship, we can see their sexual chemistry getting worse and worse. It’s no more evident than when Ray is penetrating a clothed and visibly horrified Shoshanna from behind, who ends the encounter by asking if her partner will just “get out of me.”

    13 of "Girls'" most cringeworthy sex scenes

    Hannah and Frank, "Video Games"

    Hannah, Jessa’s 19-year-old stepbrother, a graveyard and too much chatting. Need we say more about how uncomfortable this sex is to watch?

    13 of "Girls'" most cringeworthy sex scenes

    Marnie and Desi, "Iowa"

    Who gets her butt motorboated? Is this a real thing? Aside from the questionable logistics and reality of Marnie and Desi’s analingus scene, there’s also the awkward moment when Marnie confuses her partner’s declaration of love for licking her butthole with love for her. Oh, Marnie.

    13 of "Girls'" most cringeworthy sex scenes

    Hannah and Adam, "Vagina Panic"

    There is too much in this scene to dissect: fantasies of an 11-year-old girl with a Cabbage Patch lunchbox, excessive references to that little girl as a “slut” and Adam ripping off a condom to ejaculate on Hannah’s chest. No wonder it ends with Hannah saying she almost came.

  • Recent Slide Shows



Comment Preview

Your name will appear as username ( settings | log out )

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href=""> <b> <em> <strong> <i> <blockquote>