question of the day: Does TV news coverage of dangerous weather encourage people to put themseves at risk?

We’re all familiar with the images of TV news reporters and meterologists standing — or more frequently struggling to remain upright — in extreme weather conditions. But are they now encouraging their readers and viewers to do the same?
CNN stay safe

The Associated Press thinks so:

Television networks offered compelling pictures and a gripping narration of the monster storm that put Monday on hold for millions of people in the eastern part of the country _ and more than a few mixed messages, too.

Anchors and reporters repeatedly urged viewers to stay at home and stay safe during the storm, yet they solicited pictures and videos to show evidence of Hurricane Sandy’s might and displayed them on the air.

Reporters with rain dripping off their windbreakers expressed incredulity at civilians walking around outside, like when CNN’s Ashleigh Banfield noted joggers at New York’s Battery Park City.

A Fox News Channel crew aired pictures of two men jumping into the roiling Hudson River off Battery Park. During a live shot at the same location, a WNBC-TV camera zeroed in on a man riding on a jet ski. Reporter Ida Siegal for the local NBC affiliate shouted above the wind at the man to explain why he was there.

“Nothing else to do,” he shouted back.

Television’s message: Don’t try this. But if you do, you may get on TV!

What do you think? Does TV news coverage of dangerous weather encourage people to put themseves at risk?

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