Mike McDaniel in the Houston Chronicle writes up on the coverage of the aftermath and includes an anonymous quote from a competitor praising FOX (!)….
Bill Hemmer had just gotten off the air talking about the move of “refugees” from New Orleans to Houston.
“I cannot believe I used that word in association with Americans,” Hemmer told the Chronicle. “When is the last time this amount of people has been displaced from their homes? I think the human story is really starting to bubble up to the surface today.”
Television’s hurricane coverage cycle has gone this way: Sunday, a day of warning; Monday, clichéd images of reporters struggling to stand up in the storm. It was a familiar drill.
But on Tuesday, the story changed as storm clouds cleared and bright skies revealed massive destruction.
Fox News’ coverage has been the most watched so far, according to Nielsen ratings. Anchor Shepard Smith — in short sleeves and a ball cap — pulled iron-man stretches of air time. And complementing Leventhal’s reports were Phil Keating and Jeff Goldblatt in New Orleans.
“They seem to be more on top of the story than anybody else,” said a competitor, who requested anonymity for obvious reasons.
Though Fox was dominating, by no means did it have the story all to itself.
CNN’s Jeanne Meserve, for one, had our hearts in her hands as she tearfully struggled to describe to Aaron Brown on Monday all that she had seen in New Orleans. She gave a pulse-stopping account of people and animals in distress, her tears coming at the end of a long, exhausting day.
“You could hear people yelling for help, dogs yelping,” she recounted. “All of them stranded, all of them hoping someone would come.”
MSNBC and its broadcast counterpart, NBC, also found benefit in two lesser-known reporters, Bill Karins and Jeff Ranieri, from its obscure digital cable channel, NBC’s Weather Plus (channel 320 on Time Warner). Ranieri, in particular, was put to prominent use on Today .