When reporters gin up the hurricane drama

Anderson Cooper, the CNN host, is pushing back against those who are saying he didn’t cover the conditions of Hurricane Florence.

Donald Trump Jr., used an old photograph of Cooper covering flooding by ratcheting up the drama in a most TV reporter way — standing in water.

True, Cooper wouldn’t be in this situation if he didn’t participate in the nonsense back then, but he struck back last evening anyway.

Cooper’s got nobody to blame but himself. The loss of credibility rears its head when you need someone to believe something that’s actually true. It’s the price of standing in water.

Not that reporters aren’t still ginning up the drama, mind you.

Cooper said he was amazed anyone would think he’d overly dramatize a disaster. But, though the picture is old, that’s what TV reporters are doing for the sake of “the shot.”

And it happened during Florence, too.

All of this ignores a particular reality: Reporters don’t need to stand in water. The hurricane’s damage spoke for itself and viewers are fully capable of seeing it.

“It’s important to note that the two individuals in the background are walking on concrete, and Mike Seidel is trying to maintain his footing on wet grass, after reporting on-air until 1:00 a.m. ET this morning and is undoubtedly exhausted,” the Weather Channel said in response, requiring the question: “why didn’t he stand on concrete?”

Because: drama.

Related: The indispensable appeal of local TV weather reporters (Columbia Journalism Review)