The reports of damage as the storm hit New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Connecticut and Delaware were stunning.
The flooding in Lower Manhattan was unlike what even meteorologists at The Weather Channel had predicted. It was worse than they feared, one meteorologist said during coverage.
There was ample time to anticipate Hurricane Sandy after it killed at least 52 people in Haiti. New Jersey, New York and Washington, DC, all were very public about preparations that were being made. This gave media in the United States an opening to get in and cover before the storm did any damage.
Opening up a discussion about this historic storm that was on its way and why it would be so devastating could have occurred. They could have ventured into an important scientific discussion about how the planet is changing.
It is not that one should have expected this from a media that has significantly ignored climate change or helped to ensure people continue to doubt whether the science is true. It is just to state what should be obvious: there was a time before people were dealing with damage and flooding and rescue operations that people could have thought about what was imminent.
Going through media coverage, it is clear the media collectively failed. With the exception of alternative or independent programs like “Democracy Now!”, there was little attempt to connect the dots for viewers. In fact, a few editorials merit attention because what they say could be considered worse than if they had decided to not mention or hint at climate change at all.