Forbes writer takes weather media to task for Memphis flood coverage

Larry Holmsted at takes down the national media for their hip-wading stunts, questionable ethics and general inaccuracy during coverage of the ongoing great flood. Memphis Mayor A C Wharton tweeted the link this afternoon, and judging from the half-dozen or so retweets in just an hour, the article has struck a chord with Memphians.

Holmsted presents specific examples of fudging by the national media, including the too-closely cropped shot of the large puddle on Riverside Drive and the focus on a half-dozen Mud Island marina cottages threatened by the rising waters. Then there is the fact that the flood happened to coincide with one of the most festive stretches of spring Memphis has ever witnessed:

Every restaurant and sight, from Graceland to the National Civil Rights Museum, remained open and dry, and the same day the river crested, the city's largest annual event, the massive Memphis in May festival, went off without a hitch. On the day the river crested, it was near 90 degrees and sunny, the motorcycle riders and music fans partied on Beale Street, and the show went on. Bet you didn't see that on TV.

The bottom line here is the effect this breathless coverage has on the tourism and visitor business:

I do not want to suggest that Memphis was spared: outside of the tourist areas and downtown, there was flooding and residents were affected, though at the end of the day I think it is safe to say that the damage to the city from the storm will be less than the economic damage from coverage of the storm.

As a side note, this is the same that has painted Memphis in an unflattering light with a number of arbitrary surveys and city rankings. Good look to them for sticking up for us this time.


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