They say seeing is believing, but sometimes that’s simply not true. When our view is cropped to a single image, or a particular sound byte, or a few carefully selected frames, sometimes what we see has been carefully manufactured to lead us down a specific path.
You’ve seen examples of this before. Photoshopping, scam emails, and truncated quotes that force you to see the issue or a person in only one way are all methods used to get us to believe one story over another.
When you don’t have the full picture or see what’s going on behind the scenes, there’s really no way of knowing whether or not what you’re looking at is legitimate, and the internet certainly hasn’t made the process of deciphering the truth any easier.
And to illustrate that rather beautifully is a recent clip of a reporter who was treating his airtime like a high-stakes audition.
Everyone knows what storms are and how they affect the landscape. Most of us have experienced rain, wind, and flooding on some level — but “some flooding” or “light rain” just isn’t snappy enough for most viewers.
We don’t care if it’s sprinkling outside and we certainly don’t need a forecast update on it: we want stories of extremes. Mike Seidel must have known that when he reported on Hurricane Florence while standing on a patch of grass in North Carolina.
The Weather Channel reporter was dressed from head to toe in hurricane-weather-appropriate gear, with only his face and hands visible. In the video, you can see barricades have been knocked down behind him, the street has been rained on, and the wind is playing through the plants.
Seidel staggers and tries to maintain his stance repeatedly, and it looks like any other news clip you’ve seen of a reporter in severe weather.
He’s right in the middle of saying “This is about as nasty as it’s been” when he’s quickly, quietly and completely exposed.
Two men walk behind him. He can’t see them, but they can see him. They’re wearing hoodies, but also have shorts and sneakers on — clearly not as bundled-up as Seidel.
Even though Seidel appears to be struggling to stand upright and speak into his mic, the two men appear to be on their phones and are calmly walking around. To the casual observer, they almost appear to be dragging out their jaunt.
I like the Weather Channel. But look at this guy acting like the wind is about to blow him over as he rocks back and forth. Meanwhile, I guess he missed the guys walking behind him casually talking on their phones. OOPS!!
— ??John #KAG????? (@JohnCooper0610) September 14, 2018
A whole range of comments have come flooding in as the clip made its rounds on social media, with people both defending and berating Seidel. Some point out that he’s trying to cover an important update and should be given some slack, and others claim that this is why no one believes mainstream media anymore.
Others have chosen to dodge the serious debate and suggest that this could have all been prevented by a more conscientious workout regimen.
Unlike their reporter, the Weather Channel has been able to make a stand and explain the situation.
According to The Washington Post, the Weather Channel said “It’s important to note that the two individuals in the background are walking on concrete, and Mike Seidel is trying to maintain his footing on wet grass, after reporting on-air until 1:00 a.m. ET this morning and is undoubtedly exhausted.”
On one hand, Seidel has certainly gotten himself into a pickle and it’s hard not to feel a little sorry for the guy. He’s certainly paying for his (lack of?) discretion, and hundreds of people have attacked him online and proclaimed him credibly bankrupt.
On the other hand, his job is to report. He’s supposed to be informing people of life-or-death weather situations and is covering a storm that has already taken several lives. If people can’t trust him, he’s already lost his job — but he certainly hasn’t lost his sway: he seemed to find that as he stumbled across the wet grass.
The clip is definitely amusing, but in a painful sort of way. What do you think: Are people being too harsh with him, or should he be called out?
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