By SARAH BRADDOCK
At the height of hurricane season, it’s no surprise that a large storm has formed and will hit the East Coast. That being said, news coverage of the storm is verging on theatrics.
It seems that each year the news media’s coverage of natural disasters increases in sheer time allocated towards the events and in the dramatics with which the news is delivered.
While this may very well be due to an increase in the intensity of storms, the news media are not attempting to quell the general population’s discomfort regarding impending natural threats. This leaves the outlet’s intent when covering storms to question: are they just doing their best to spread breaking information for public safety or are they intentionally using fear-inducing tactics to keep a captive and large audience?
This questionable phenomenon is no different with approaching hurricane Florence.
Opening with dubbing the hurricane as “violent,” Washington Post article “Category 4 Hurricane Florence drawing closer to Carolinas and threatens ‘catastrophic’ flooding” by James Samenow, is one of many fear-inducing pieces circling the web.
Throughout the piece Samenow uses various, arguably unnecessary, phrases to describe the approaching hurricane.
Samenow describes the storm as, “monstrous” and “like a bulldozer,” and emphasizes his intentions with verbs like “unleash.”
Even the direct quotations chosen for the piece are ominous. Including one from North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper saying, “Even if you’ve ridden out storms before, this one is different.”
Granted, Samenow does prove to have some educational intentions with this article through the inclusion of scientific information, quotations, and graphs via sources like The National Hurricane Center, High Plains Regional Climate Center, and The National Weather Service.
Furthermore, Samenow elaborates on various path projections and the fact that storms are very unpredictable.
The article is extremely informative, but the threatening vocabulary scattered throughout the piece points towards underlying intentions beyond informing the masses.