Politics: Media: So you should probably just cancel the convention, huh?

Published by: on Monday August 27th, 2012

By KATHY HOEKSTRA - Issac isn't even hitting Tampa head on, but that's not stopping the media's narrative from being all wet

Tropical Storm Isaac has been amazing to watch. Not just for the excitement of experiencing the actual weather event we don't see in the upper Midwest, but for what it has done to throw the media off their game and show a glaring lack of focus or even understanding of what this week represents.

It takes media outlets weeks or months of planning for an event as big as the Republican National Convention. The equipment setup notwithstanding, producers, directors, news reporters, writers and anchors also spend weeks plotting out their projected material. Radio and television broadcasters need to come up with content to fill the airwaves and try to do so as far as advance as possible. Writers may be a little less pressured depending on the demands of their editors, but despite the concept of "breaking news", the threat of a tropical storm-possibly-turning-hurricane seemed to cause a tornadic-sized frenzy.

For instance, the headline of Sunday's Tampa Bay Times read, "Isaac Intrudes". Even though the storm is headed wide left toward New Orleans, Isaac has intruded the minds of politics-driven media here in Tampa. This is evident by some of the worst lines of questioning I've ever heard from members of the media. Take Herman Cain, who hit the ground running in Tampa Sunday. He delivered a firestorm of a speech at Unity Rally 2012. That's where Cain branded the message of unity before more than 2,000 Tea Party activists and citizens and sent that message to the GOP before it convenes for this week's convention.

Enter Isaac. Based on several reporters' questions to Cain, one would think the storm somehow has changed not only weather patterns and the RNC convention schedule, that it has also changed the way our elected officials do business. Just today, one reporter breathlessly caught up to Cain on the street, thrust a recording device in his face and asked about Tropical Storm Isaac, even though the storm will miss Tampa and is making a beeline toward New Orleans. "What if it DOES hit New Orleans," she asked. "Don't you think they should cancel the convention?"


The way it was posed, it sounded like a loaded question, begging for a political answer rather than a common sense answer; begging for a conservative to sound insensitive to any potential victims of a weather disaster. Of course Cain is nothing if not about common sense answers. In this case, he said, "No I don't think they should cancel the convention." Cain went on to explain that if the storm hits New Orleans, the people in the state of Louisiana will do what they need to do to take care of things, but there's no reason to cancel the convention.

So based on the new line of questioning, it seems the takeaway from Isaac is that a tropical storm that changes course and steers away from the site of the Republican National Convention in fact has the power to change the course of the media's narrative of the convention. Of course, that's only if we let them.