Between Safety And Hype

How does society find the right balance of safety and media hype in an age of extreme weather?

A New York City taxi is stranded in deep water on Manhattan's West Side as Tropical Storm Irene passes through the city, Sunday, Aug. 28, 2011 in New York. Although downgraded from a hurricane to a tropical storm, Irene's torrential rain couple with high winds and tides worked in concert to flood parts of the city. (AP)

A New York City taxi is stranded in deep water on Manhattan

That Irene really got us going. Monster hurricane thundering up from the Bahamas. Taking over newscasts and headlines up and down the East coast. Driving White House press conferences and panic buying ahead of the storm of the century.

Evacuation. Armageddon. And then, it wasn’t.

Now, it was bad. It was dangerous. People lost their lives. Power went out for millions. Many Americans are dealing with floodwaters today. But have we got the balance right, overall, of caution and panic? Safety and hype?

This hour On Point: are we too whipped up, or just right, over the weather?

-Tom Ashbrook


Jim Axelrod, national correspondent for CBS News.

Heidi Cullen, research correspondent and scientist for Climate Central, she’s the author of “The Weather of the Future.” She was the first on-air climate expert for The Weather Channel.

Bill McKibben, environmentalist and author. He is co-founder of, an environmental group working to help solve the climate crisis.

Douglas Brinkley, professor of history at Rice University. He’s author of The Great Deluge: Hurricane Katrina, New Orleans, and the Mississippi Gulf Coast, The Reagan Diaries, and The Wilderness Warrior, and The Quiet World: Saving Alaska’s Wilderness Kingdom, 1879-1960.


Taiwan’s Next Media Animation studios released this video satirizing the response to Irene.

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie warns residents to evacuate

Hurricane Irene – Toxic Foam Mixture Covers Reporter In Maryland As Hurricane Hits The Coast

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