It’s official: the weather isn’t always as bad as it looks on TV.
The Internet had a field day over the video clip showing The Weather Channel meteorologist Mike Seidel bracing against the furious wind while reporting on Hurricane Florence in Wilmington, North Carolina.
Not that it was as convincing as any act, but viewers were getting his blow-by-blow account of the then-approaching danger that, in his own words, was a “nasty” Category 1 storm situation.
And it’s not unheard of for viewers to be sympathetic. Poor guy’s in the middle of the storm, bracing against the wind, appearing to be the on the verge of losing his footing—all for his job.
Enter two men strolling casually past him, both under the rain and with no sign of struggle or discomfort. When the camera captured the controversial moment in all its glory, it had everyone confused at first—but it didn’t take long for the world to realize what exactly was happening.
Viewed 17 million times and counting, the video clip took the world by storm in no time.
People took to the Internet their outrage over what they called “sensationalized” and “exaggerated” reporting. Some pointed out how Hurricane Florence was dropping in strength before landfall, which would confirm the reporting was all an act to draw more viewers.
The Weather Channel had an answer to that. In an official statement, the network emphasized the two men behind Seidel were walking on concrete pavement while the reporter “was standing on wet grass” which would explain why it was a struggle for him to be in the middle of the storm. It didn’t help that he was “exhausted” from doing practically non-stop live coverage, the statement said.
The controversy brought to light allegedly similar fake weather news reports, dragging into the limelight CNN’s Anderson Cooper who was accused of “faking the depths of Hurricane Florence floodwaters” by the equally controversial presidential son Donald Trump Jr.
Cooper defended himself on AC360 citing, among other things, that Trump Jr. was looking at an old photo taken in Texas in 2008. At the time, the veteran reporter braved the devastation brought by Hurricane Ike. Cooper insisted he delivered news that was nothing short of authentic.
With even weather news proving to be fake these days, media reporting and biases may have hit a new low. For many, it ultimately begs the question: what’s left for the public to trust?