Journalism

Al Roker Issues Stern Message to Hurricane Coverage Critics

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When NBC’s Al Roker helped cover Hurricane Ida’s landfall, Twitter users did what they do best: complain. But Roker wasn’t having it.

For some viewers over the weekend, watching Al Roker get slammed by waves churned up from Hurricane Ida was too much. They immediately took to Twitter to voice their concerns.

Anytime viewers see a news or weather reporter getting pelted by rain or blown around by the wind in a hurricane, some will always complain. The most popular complaint is that these people who look like they’re about to get swept away are doing exactly what they warn the public not to do by standing in the danger zone.

The complaint isn’t entirely invalid. But the point is to show viewers how dangerous it is. The fact is there will always be people who ignore the warning to see it for themselves. But people want to see what’s happening and, let’s face it, television is a visual medium.

So during Roker’s live shots, we saw him get drenched by rain and waves.

Then some Twitter users escalated the situation.

Some suggested the 67-year-old weatherman who took over primary weather duties on NBC’s Today back in 1996, was “too old” to be covering a hurricane.

You can imagine how well that went over. If you imagine that it went over like the proverbial lead balloon, you’d be right.

Roker was happy to address the safety concerns on NBC’s Sunday Today, saying he volunteered to go there. I’ve never worked with a weatherman who wouldn’t volunteer to chase a storm if they had the chance to do so.

“This is what I do. I’ve done this for forty years,” Roker said Sunday. “We all make sure we’re safe and we’re not going to do something that’s going to put ourselves in harm’s way. As much as I love the weather and I love NBC, I’m not going to risk my life for it.”

But then he had an answer for the ageism aspect of the criticism. During a conversation with Sunday Today host Jonathan Capehart, he addressed those who said he’s too old:

“Well guess what? Screw you!” he said on the air. (Hey, it’s cable…what do you expect?)

He then took to his official Instagram account with a video of him removing his boots in a bathtub.

“…or those who think I’m too old to to be doing this, try and keep up,” the post read in part.

The grammar guru in me can’t resist pointing out that he meant to say, “try to keep up,” not “try and.”

Regardless, point taken: Don’t mess with Al Roker!

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Patrick is a Christian with more than 30 years experience in professional writing, producing and marketing. His professional background also includes social media, reporting for broadcast television and the web, directing, videography and photography. He enjoys getting to know people over coffee and spending time with his dog.