First alligators, now dogs. Evan S. Benn and Breanne Gilpatrick report on a fatal attack on a 56-year-old man by a boxer in southwest Miami-Dade. A boxer. Those are great dogs. I gotta think the dog had been mistreated or cooped up in some awful way. The dog killed the guy, who might have been drunk, in a pen in the back of three-acre farm where the guy lived in a shed. You can bet one thing: This won't get a tenth of the coverage of the mauling of Shawna Willey in Coral Springs. For one, the guy lived in a shed, not a million-dollar house in a residential neighborhood. For two, the guy's not a pretty, relatively young ex-stripper. For three, it's not the first time a dog killed somebody in South Florida, it's the second time. And four, the guy's not a pretty, relatively young ex-stripper.
The big media story today of course is the controversy over the hype of Ernesto in the media. On the NBC 6 morning show South Florida Today, the big, black and beautiful Trina Robinson seemed on the verge of a breakdown. She talked about getting an e-mail that morning from a viewer who said he'd always liked her before but after the Ernesto coverage would never like her one bit. Robinson was shrill and defensive the entire show, as was cohort Lonnie Quinn, one of the prettiest TV personalities in Florida. He held a bunch of e-mails from irate viewers and, to NBC's credit, read some of them. At one point, Robinson became so upset that Quinn, a former soap opera actor, put his hand on her shoulder to console her, saying something to the effect of, "They're mad at the station, not any individual." Only the old vet, Hank Tester, kept his cool.
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Look, here's my take on this: OF COURSE IT WAS OVERHYPED. TV and newspapers (especially the Sun-Sentinel) have been overhyping these things for decades. It goes with the job. The truth is that the God-like Max Mayfield and his National Weather Service were wrong. The thing didn't intensify in the Gulf between Cuba and Florida. It didn't become a hurricane, as expected. Do I think TV does this to grab ratings and air time? To a degree, sure, but I also think that the people that run the stations legitimately believe it's their duty to keep people up to speed on what's happening. And the fact that this is the first scare since Wilma slammed us only made it worse. If you're going to live in Florida, you need to get up to speed on these things yourself and make your own decisions about preparation based on the hard information that's there. Blaming the media for buying 20 gallons of gas, spending four hours to put up shutters, and buying half the water at the supermarket is a fool's game.