There was something hysterical about Gov. Rick Scott putting on his emergency he-man act and hyping the imminent “landfall” of what was little more than a summer storm on Florida’s west coast Monday. As it turned out, the most damaging onslaught was from his office’s drizzle of press releases masquerading as “updates” to a non-event. But Scott played it up as if it were a hurricane. He must’ve needed some B-roll for his coming campaign ads.
Any amateur Weather Channel surfer could tell what this morning confirmed: that Monday’s storm was no different than any old front but for a bit of kicked up wind and a little extra rain, which the state could always use. It’d be well off shore in the Atlantic by morning, and it was. Scott played it up anyway. There’ll be a cost. It’s the sort of hype that fosters apathy when more dangerous storms hit. So don’t be surprised when an actual emergency unfolds and residents shrug.
Threat inflation is all over the place these days. Weather is not only not immune. It’s the template. Click into the Weather Channel’s click-bait-rich website any hour any day of the week and you’re certain to see blaring headlines about the end of the world somewhere. (Just now: “Strongest Storm on the Planet Likely to Become a Serious Threat.” That’s Typhoon Noru. Click on the link, and the first thing you learn from the automatic video assault is that the typhoon is actually weakening and heading north, where it will weaker further, but! “Still, though, a very powerful typhoon.”) The same threat inflation has infected reactions to named storms (a naming protocol the fanatically sober National Hurricane Center has nothing to do with). The moment they’re named, the fever shoots up.
But there’s a big difference when weather channels and media outlets play the game for clicks and ratings and when a governor joins in to score cheap points. That was Scott’s sleazy move on Emily. Even the storm cried foul: look at how fast she high-tailed it out of the state.
Here’s what we started getting from the governor’s office in the last 24 hours: “Governor Scott is traveling to Tallahassee to be briefed and to monitor Tropical Strom Emily at the State Emergency Operations Center.” (That’s what passes for “news” releases in the supposedly non-fake news world of a governor’s schedule.) “Governor Rick Scott issued Executive Order 17-204 declaring a state of emergency in 31 counties…” (Double-take from Panhandle to Keys.) Later Monday: “Today, Governor Rick Scott received a full update on Tropical Storm Emily at the State Emergency Operations Center.” (That one sounded like Gen. George Patton receiving the latest from Bastogne.) This morning: “The State has remained in constant communication with local emergency management officials and state agency leaders to ensure all needs are met and appropriate response to any impacts from Tropical Depression Emily.” There were no needs. Not even for a governor’s overbearing meddling.
Throughout those breathless releases the National Weather Service was issuing cool-headed updates that stood in embarrassing contrast with the governor’s hysterics: some rain, sure, even a few gusts of wind, the usual summer-storm power cuts here and there, but nothing out of the ordinary. Except Tropical Storm Rick, who can’t resist the chance to channel John Wayne on TV. A phony channeling a phony.
Residents can tell when their intelligence is being insulted. But the real damage from this storm—from the governor’s handling of this storm—is yet to come. Watch for apathy ahead, at the worst moment.
Pierre Tristam is FlaglerLive’s editor. @pierretristam.
Kendall C Acques says
Maybe he was trying to distract us from the zoo at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave?
And if he wasn’t concerned and the storm got worse you’d be the first to criticize. Better safe than sorry. Remember Charlie? Just a little cat 1 that accelerated to a cat 4 in hours.
Pierre Tristam says
No one is suggesting he shouldn’t be concerned. But making himself the center of the story isn’t showing concern, which truly concerned leaders usually do more effectively without the PR barrage. It’s showing off.
Shoshana Viana says
Maybe that’s another way for him to line his pockets and go unnoticed
Monique Veroline Durso says
Just so u know he doesn’t take s salary and that says a lot about him
Pierre Tristam says
His PR machinery makes up for it.
Debbie Boyer says
Geez…… all the weather stations and the news showed a powerful storm with large amounts of rain.
If you ever needed FEMA or filed an insurance claim there are several steps associated with the process. When the governor declares an emergency, it gets the ball rolling making it quicker for the homeowner/ business owner to pay for repairs.
Coming from a state with earthquakes , what the governor did was amazing. Totally having the people’s concerns in mind.
Again. A republican. I wonder if this were a liberal progressive , would Pierre or one of his writers even mention this. Better safe than sorry
@Monique He doesnt need the $$ cuz he stole enough from Medicare
Someone stop him from running for FL Senate – it will happen! He does not take a salary now (a fact I have not looked up, only read it in a comment above) as a ploy to get him over the final fence of voters needed to catapult him onto the marble floors and crystal and gold fixtures of the senate, then beyond. He’s eyeing more than Emily, or Florida, for sure.
Maybe thats because he gets enough “dark money” to make up for it. He can afford to play that old trick to fool simpletons like yourself.
Another “The Sky is Falling” from Republicans. They want you to be afraid of everything so they can ride in and save us from an illusion. Having lived in Florida for most of my life I laughed out loud at his briefing and news releases. Too much panic and not enough pragmatism.
Tricky (Bald Walder Frey) Ricky and Big (Cersei) Pam have killed more working poor in Florida – by squandering Medicaid expansion funds – than hurricanes have:
Florida leads nation in turning down Medicaid money
Does Lack Of Health Insurance Kill? – Forbes
New study finds 45,000 deaths annually linked to lack of health …
Make America Good Again – Don’t Ever Vote For A Republican
Like his buddy Trump financing his own campaign, typical Republican BS, fodder for the idiots who support these clowns.