Gustav Takes News Watch Off RNC


With Hurricane Gustav hitting Louisiana, cable news networks on Labor Day morning diverted their attention from coverage of the opening night of the Republican National Convention.

Rather than focusing on the GOP gathering in St. Paul, MSNBC, CNN and Fox News Channel had their cameras and correspondents on the ground throughout the region and in New Orleans, which was still recovering from the devastation wrought by Hurricane Katrina in 2005. 

Swirling weather maps and meteorologists replaced what figured to be wall-to-wall commentary about presumptive GOP Presidential nominee and his Sarah Palin, the Alaska Governor selected as his running mate.

Appearances by President George Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney Monday in St. Paul were canceled and the party indicated that only “procedural” matters would occur at the RNC today.

If there was some good news, Gustav had been downgraded to a category 2 storm -- winds of 110 miles per hour from a category 3, a storm category that brings winds of 115 miles per hour.

Still, the center of the storm was forecast to hit landfall by midday.

New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin, the former Cox official, was using the news outlets to advise any that had not evacuated the area to do so. Some 1.9 million people had left the Gulf Coast regions, from Alabama to Louisiana to Texas, for precautionary reasons.