Gateway editor criticizes media coverage of superstorm

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Filmmaker Michael Moore, in an interview with CNN’s Piers Morgan, has criticized CNN’s repetitious coverage of Monday’s Sandy storm that was particularly damaging to New York and New Jersey.

And Internet users in China have chastised China Central Television for covering Sandy’s damage in New York, claiming CCTV “largely overlooked recent major incidents at home.”

To say the news media’s coverage was repetitious is an understatement. Associated Press photos have dominated front pages this week, and National Public Radio has all but forgotten there is anything else to cover in either the nation or overseas.

That’s not to say the Sandy storm is not big news – or, all things considered, that it has been over-covered. But imagine that this storm had instead hit Oklahoma City, Detroit, Cleveland, the Twin Cities or St. Louis. Had Sandy devastated a similar portion of the nation’s hinterlands, the national media – much of which is housed in New York– likely still would have covered the event, but with fewer reporters, with less intensity and for a shorter time period.

The Sandy “perfect storm” was hometown news for the news capital of the planet, and thus Sandy has been “local” news writ large for the national media. But there is a country on the other side of the Hudson River that’s occasionally ravaged by debilitating cold, drought, earthquakes or tornados. When these events occur, the national media tend to turn a half-blind eye to the west. The public then is left with the impression that the Northeast in general – and New York, specifically – is more newsworthy than the rest of the United States.

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