I have often been quite critical of the media on this blog [Hell or CNN Effect, What would terrorists do without CNN?] But the criticism they are getting in the wake of the lesser than expected Hurricane-Tropical Storm Irene is wrong and misplaced. Even though we didn't expieriance hurricane armageddon, 40 people died, floods rage throughout the northeast, and millions of people are without power. To these people, the so called Media Hype wasn't hype, but a representation of reality. Just because it didn't prove out for everyone this time doesn't mean that it wasn't some media hyped exaggeration.
Look at it the other way, if they don't sound the alarm and a category two-three hurricane smashes into NYC. Then everyone would be moaning about not being prepared...its' Katrina all over again etc. Would you rather have over-hyped storm that didn't live up to hype? The media does not win here because your trying to outpredict nature and if it wasn't clear enough already, that's often a losing proposition. You should always err on the side of caution because a lack of caution is how Katrinas' happen.