CNN has chosen to move Soledad O’Brien and Anderson Cooper, two of its most well-known television personalities, to New Orleans in anticipation of Tropical Storm Isaac, according to Politico. The move is being interpreted as an indication of where the network’s priorities are — and it’s not with the Republican National Convention.
The storm, which is bypassing Tampa and on course for the north Gulf Coast (and very possibly New Orleans), could now pose far bigger problems for the Republicans than high winds and waves ever would. There is a very real fear among Republicans that a natural disaster in New Orleans (seven years after Hurricane Katrina) or nearby could all but eclipse the convention — or, worse, create an unfavorable “split-screen situation” in which images of Hurricane damage are juxtaposed with the theatrics of Mitt Romney’s nomination.
Politico then includes this excerpt from the Boston Globe:
Consider for a moment the juxtaposition of President Obama marshaling his administration’s forces and personally visiting New Orleans or Mobile, Ala., in the aftermath of the storm’s landfall, all while the convention hall is filled with delegates dressed in funny hats listening to partisan speeches.
Consider, too, the practical reality of the public and news media being forced to choose between watching a staged political event or coping with the aftermath of a natural disaster.
NBC has chosen to keep Brian Williams in Tampa “for now,” and ABC is keeping Diane Sawyer there as well. The two networks are sending their weather experts and lesser-known personalities to cover the storm in New Orleans.
However, it should be noted that CNN is, at least at this point, also leaving much of its political team in Tampa. Notable personalities include Wolf Blitzer, Candy Crowley, Piers Morgan, and John King.
Mediaite notes that Isaac, and the networks’ reactions to it, plays almost perfectly into the Obama administration’s narrative for Republicans and their convention.
The New York Times, for instance, writes:
But Tropical Storm Isaac threatens to fit just as neatly into that kind of narrative, with Mr. Obama seeking to paint Mr. Romney and Mr. Ryan as opposed to a government that takes care of its most vulnerable and intent on cutting just the sort of federal services that can be critical in emergencies.
This post has been updated.
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