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Hurricane Isaac Destroys Home Of MSNBC Host Melissa Harris-Perry

A New Orleans home recently purchased by MSNBC weekend host Melissa Harris-Perry has been destroyed by Hurricane Isaac.

Harris-Perry tweeted a picture of the house, which is almost completely destroyed save for the front facade. The house was originally devastated by Hurricane Katrina, and Harris-Perry and her husband were hoping to fix it up and make it livable again.

Harris-Perry is a professor at Tulane University in New Orleans during the week, commuting to New York on the weekend for her MSNBC program. Her efforts to restore the home were featured on MSNBC just three days earlier.


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Cable Channels Plan To Go Live Overnight As Hurricane Isaac Approaches

Hurricane Isaac is expected to make landfall overnight tonight on the Gulf Coast, and you can bet that cable news channels are planning special live programming to cover it. Weather Channel, CNN and Fox News Channel will be live overnight in the hours normally reserved for repeats.

Weather will have live coverage throughout the night, with Reynolds Wolf and Jim Cantore in New Orleans, Mike Seidel in Alabama and Paul Goodloe and Eric Fisher in Mississippi. Locations are subject to change, if Isaac’s path changes.

Fox News will be live from 1-4 AM, with Gregg Jarrett and Jamie Colby anchoring. The network is sending “Fox & Friends First” anchor Anna Kooiman to Baton Rouge, joining Elizabeth PrannJonathan Serrie and Casey Stegall in New Orleans. Steve Harrigan is in Biloxi, MS, Rick Leventhal is in Dauphin Island, AL, and Phil Keating is in Mobile, AL.

CNN will have a live edition of “Piers Morgan Tonight at midnight (it was already planned for the RNC), and will add live coverage from 1-4 AM. “Early Start,” which normally begins at 5 AM, will start even earlier at 4 AM tomorrow.

Update: MSNBC will be live til 1 AM with live coverage of the RNC and Isaac. An overnight decision will be made soon.

Update AM: MSNBC ended up replaying its primetime programming through 3 AM, and rerunning the RNC speeches beginning at 3. It broke into programming twice an hour with Hurricane Isaac updates.

We’ll update with more information as we get it.

Network Special Reports For President Obama’s Isaac Address

On the first official day of the Republican National Convention, the broadcast and cable networks kicked things off with an address from President Obama.

The broadcasters aired special reports around 10:08 AM ET to present President Obama’s statements on the impending landfall of Tropical Storm (and likely soon to be Hurricane) Isaac.

NBC News had Matt Lauer and David Gregory anchoring in Tampa, while ABC had Robin Roberts and Josh Elliott behind the desk. CBS News coverage was led by Jim Axelrod.

The cable networks broke in at 10:09, as the President began his remarks, warning residents in Isaac’s path to listen to local officials, and evacuate if necessary.

Memorable Coverage On Cable News, From NOLA To Tampa

Shepard Smith kicks off his coverage from New Orleans on what to expect when Isaac hits:

Anderson Cooper reports for CNN about the lessons New Orleans learned from Katrina:

Chris Matthews, who got into a shouting match with Reince Priebus earlier in the day, gets into it with Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich on “Hardball”

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RNC Or Isaac? TV News Has Internal Battle

In case you haven’t noticed, The RNC is this week. Also, there is a hurricane barreling towards New Orleans. TV news operations are scrambling to figure out a way to cover both with the depth viewers expect.

As the NY Times notes:

“Right now we’re caught between a rock and a hard place,” said David Verdi, an NBC News vice president, with “two major stories simultaneously.”

Networks are busy figuring out who goes where, but it looks like all of the major TV news outlets will have at least a few A-listers in NOLA.

Politico notes that coverage of the RNC may look very different than next week’s DNC coverage (unless there is another natural disaster)

“We’re watching closely and will stay flexible about moving other people,” the spox continued. “But expect to see a lot of split screens.”

Update: NBC and CNN tell Politico they won’t literally have split screens.

Of course, as Joe Flint notes in the LA Times, a hurricane might be just what the broadcast networks need:

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Star Correspondents Bolt Tampa For NOLA, As Isaac Approaches

Two TV news correspondents who made their marks covering Hurricane Katrina seven years ago are returning to New Orleans as another hurricane approaches.

Fox News Channel’s Shepard Smith and CNN’s Anderson Cooper will be covering Hurricane Isaac as it hits in or near New Orleans later this week, skipping Tampa and the Republican National Convention. CNN is also sending Soledad O’Brien to New Orleans.

While both Smith and Cooper were known commodities prior to Katrina, the Hurricane coverage propelled the to household name status.

At a Turner Broadcasting dinner held in New Orleans’ French Quarter during the 2008 NCTA trade show, Cooper told the assembled guests (including me) about how important Katrina was to him.

“We try to come every couple of months, just to keep the story alive,” Cooper told us at the time. “For all of us who covered it, the images are still very fresh in our minds.”

In 2010, Smith told the AP’s David Bauder about the experience: ”The emotions, the activism that sort of sprung was natural and for the time, reflectively, I think it was probably right,” he said.

O’Brien also established herself in the aftermath of Katrina, including a now-infamous interview in which FEMA director Michael Brown appeared to not have as much information about the situation as O’Brien did.

Weather Channel Goes To Cuba To Cover Isaac

The potential of a Hurricane Isaac hitting the U.S. (and maybe interrupting the RNC) means that The Weather Channel is back in its wheelhouse.

For the first time ever, Weather will be sending a reporter to Cuba to cover that country as Isaac hits. Mike Seidel is in the city of Varadero in the Caribbean nation, and will be reporting there starting this afternoon. Journalists for many TV news outlets have reported from Cuba before, but the complicated visa process makes it difficult to cover breaking news there.

Meanwhile, Jim Cantore is heading to Florida, for a location TBD, where he will report on Isaac.

Weather Channel routinely becomes a go-to network for viewers whenever there is bad weather, such as hurricanes or blizzards, and Isaac looks to be no exception.

Weekend Ratings: Weather Channel, Cable News See Massive Ratings Bumps as Irene Made Landfall

Saturday and Sunday saw the cable news channels go almost wall-to-wall with coverage of Hurricane Irene. With the weather being the focus, it is hardly surprising that Weather Channel was the top cable news channel Saturday in both total viewers and adults 25-54.

That story changed slightly on Sunday, once it became clear that Irene would not be bringing the devastation to New York City. The cable news channels returned to regular programming, FNC ended up taking the crown in total viewers, while Weather still won the key demo.

  • Here are the numbers for Total Day viewing on Saturday (6am-2am)
Network Total Viewers A25-54
Weather Channel 2.77M 1.16M
Fox News 1.70M 530K
CNN 1.66M 632K
MSNBC 624K 220K

  • Here are the numbers for Primetime Saturday (8pm-11pm)

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Hyping Hurricane Irene: Tuesday Update

A few more people have weighed in on whether the coverage leading up to Hurricane Irene’s landfall was “overhyped” or not.

FiveThirtyEight’s Nate Silver does what he does best, taking an analytical approach to argue that Irene received a proper amount of coverage when compared to other hurricanes to make landfall in the U.S. That said, Silver wrote that he does agree with some of the critiques of tone:

There are some things in Mr. Kurtz’s article that I agree with. Certainly the tone and tenor of media coverage could be improved when it comes to hurricanes and other types of disasters. In particular, as you might expect, I think the coverage could stand to be a quite a bit more data-driven and less narrative-driven (if you can call it “narrative” to have some television correspondent mugging for the camera in his Windbreaker from the middle of a storm zone).

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POLL: Was Hurricane Irene Overhyped?

We kept you apprised of the many, many hours of extra news coverage that were added this weekend in preparation for Hurricane Irene — from the cable networks, to the broadcast networks, to the business networks, everyone was in overdrive. Now that the dust has settled — and Irene, by all accounts, was much less severe than expected — we want to know: was Hurricane Irene overhyped?