Hurricane Irene Coverage: A Real Raw Deal (Video)

Reporters out in the field had to contend with flashers, looky-loos and foam that may have been whipped up from sewage storm runoff

Last Updated: August 28, 2011 @ 2:50 PM

Pity the field reporters on storm duty this weekend — some of them got a real raw deal.

There were those thigh deep in the ocean amid pelting rain, reporting back to Wolf Blitzer, inexplicably wearing a signature CNN red parka even though he was well shielded from the storm. And then there were Eric Fisher of the Weather Channel and Tucker Barnes of Fox affiliate station WTTG.

Fisher did his best to maintain his composure while thrill seekers in Virginia Beach, Va., streaked behind him — one even flashing the camera — while Barnes manfully reported under a blanket of sea foam that may have been partially composed of raw sewage.

It’s enough to give Angelenos whining about the heat wave pause.

Fisher got increasingly exasperated with the looky-loos and thrill seekers that popped up on camera while he was giving his report, finally telling viewers:

“At this point, I don’t even want to show how many people are out and about, how many cars are driving around — it’s just setting a bad example, and honestly, this is depressing to watch,” he said, before taking a breath to note that two had already died in the storm at that point.

The anchors picked up the ball, with one soberly intoning, “people who die in tropical storms and hurricanes probably did not think it would happen to them that day.”

Watch Fisher's report, which "Saturday Night Live" could not have choreographed better itself, below, keeping in mind there are graphic images.

But the real wince-inducing footage came courtesy Barnes in Ocean City, Md. Safely ensconced in their studio, the anchors quizzed him about the foam coating his body as he gave a report from the sea wall. Barnes wasn’t sure what the organic matter was, noting that it seemed sandy.

“It doesn’t taste great,” he said, in what was no doubt an understatement. “I can tell you first hand, it doesn’t smell great.”

Later MyFoxNY.com reported that that foam covering Barnes was “probably the remnants of raw sewage.” The story went on to note that such foam “can be caused by several other things, including oils from decomposing animals,” but the visual — and mental — damage was done.

Talk about a real sh*tstorm.

By mid-day Sunday, as Irene, downgraded to a tropical storm, moved its way up the coast to New England, there were the expected complaints about media coverage as being over the top. No doubt that’s true, but at least dozen people have died in the storm.

Imagine what might have happened if the media hadn’t sounded the alarm so stridently.

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