False Alarm, Toto -- Courant.com

False Alarm, Toto -- Courant.com

There are 19 comments on the Hartford Courant story from Jul 21, 2007, titled False Alarm, Toto -- Courant.com. In it, Hartford Courant reports that:

A photo of a Kansas-size twister that accompanied a TV news report Thursday about an outbreak of severe thunderstorms in Connecticut actually was taken in Kansas.

Join the discussion below, or Read more at Hartford Courant.

East Hartbroken

New Milford, CT

#1 Jul 21, 2007
The article intent should not be to trivialize Thursday's warning and response to those warnings. When the potential is there for tornado or other expected damage people should repond to the threat, not wait for a media outlet to prove the threat is real.
Thursday the National Weather Service saw enough other evidence, besides television coverage, to suggest a threat. They warned people in a timely manner to get inside, away from windows and off the roads until the threat passed. People did that and emergency responders had a lighter than expected time with this storm. That's the positive spin on Thursday's adventure. There was damage but people responded to warnings and were spared injury.
By the way ther was a touch-down in Worcester county, not too far from CT borders.

Sterling, VA

#2 Jul 21, 2007
Media folk need to be much more diligent in their work. To accept and not verify is horribly wrong. You owe the viewers 100% accuracy. Perfection. No errors. Remotes are surely handy to go elsewhere for honesty and integrity.

Sterling, VA

#3 Jul 21, 2007
To clarify, I am not talking about reporting a tornado may be threatening the area. It's the accompanying video. Paint pictures with words before airing an errant photo or video.

Milford, MA

#4 Jul 21, 2007
Great job to the state's other stations WTNH and WVIT for not airing this picture. Major screw up over at WFSB

Hamden, CT

#5 Jul 21, 2007
Where was the confirmation before that was placed on TV? This is typical of all the weather hype that we get in CT. It incites the panic in all the weather wimps in CT and must have been a financial windfall for Stop and Shop when all the paniced Nutmeggers ran for milk, bread and batteries (like Stop and Shop ever closes for any reason). I have never seen a larger group of people that are scared of the weather than right her in CT, but it is good for the ratings at the news stations considering there really is no news in CT. CT put the Nut in Nutmeg!
Connecticut Resident

Canton, CT

#6 Jul 21, 2007
This speaks to the lack of integrity in our local news stations. If no one noticed, there is still another picture on their website that has trees fallen that is obviously digitally touched, as the road and house appear on top of each other twice in the same photo to make it look like a disaster. The picture is captioned "New Milford viewer picture" at
I'm sure it will be promptly removed.
That the TV stations are losing ad revenue hand over fist during the poor programming they offer, hence when storms hit whether it be a real threat, or a dusting of snow, the people in the newsroom begin to panic and ramp up their "local coverage" beyond belief. Many times in an unsafe manner, they put their own employees in harms way thinking the video is worth it. This is the resultant of their behavior, geared towards making money, not reporting. Ratings are what they are concerned with, not the real news.
How alarmist to not verify this picture. I think the news director should be fired, as it was ultimately her decision to air it. That would show a proper response to this poor showing by WFSB. How else can we believe anything that comes from the station unless someone is held accountable for this blunder. This is no different than when wrong information is aired by the network, someone is usually fired. Let's not let WFSB divert our attention from their own lack of process and integrity.

Amston, CT

#7 Jul 21, 2007
This weather panic seems to go back to the complete obliviousness of the weather folks to the 1989 tornado that did major damage in Litchfield county and then down to New Haven. There was absolutely no warning from the news media so ever since then, if there's a cloud in the sky those stupid beeps go off and they start running warnings of major cataclysms. If it may snow 3 inches we get about 60 hours of overblown predictions which are usually wrong anyway. WFSB got caught trying to out-panic the other news outlets. Whoops - pants down! Look out the window and use your common sense - you'll do better than the so-called meteorologists around here any day.

Wallingford, CT

#8 Jul 21, 2007
Yes, the quote from Dana Neves ("I think it's sad.") is correct - only not in the way she intended.

This case points up the sad state of affairs that has become Connecticut media. What is truly upsetting about this story is that the journalistic mantra of checking the truthfulness and accuracy of a story with multiple sources went out the window (sort of flying by like a witch on a broom, to stay with the Wizard of Oz theme) when it was decided by Mark Dixon and his editors and producers to air the photo.

If heads don't roll on this one, do NOT expect other stories aired by this station to be accurate.

Moodus, CT

#9 Jul 21, 2007
What should be learned from this mistake? Watch another TV station's new cast. Channel 3 is not the only station with a weather forecast. I suggest Channel 30 or 8.

Weather guessers are always making mistakes - that's a given. It's the rush to scoop the competition that is at fault and that we do not forgive. Being first is not always a good thing.

Watch another station. That is what I'm going to do.
Who is running the show

Canton, CT

#10 Jul 21, 2007
But the point is that they have lost our trust. Turning the channel doesn't earn that back. the News Director must go. She is the head editorial decision maker.
Connecticut Resident

Madison, CT

#12 Jul 21, 2007
One thing not mentioned so far and that should be remembered about this ridiculous situation, is that the photo of the tornado was not the only thing that turned out to be false. Shame on the person who sent it in, and shame on WFSB for not verifying it's authenticity.
What bothers me more is that at least 6 times, while I watched this circus unfold, I heard the 2 weathermen mention that the phone lines, just off camera, where lit up with reports coming in of "Tornados on the ground from reliable observers in the police departments in these towns". Where on earth did they get this from. Was WFSB under some kind of misinformation attack by lots of evil malcontents, or were these statements merely fabrications by the weathermen to feed the storyline.
The photo was bad enough, but referring many times to reports about Tornados on the ground from the police departments, that could not possible have been coming into WFSB during the broadcast (unless many police that day decided to call in & lie) is to me, the thing WFSB should really hang it's head in shame over. Lying "weather observers" is one thing, weathermen fabricating a storyline as needed, is something entirely different.
Who is running the show

Canton, CT

#13 Jul 21, 2007
You raise a good point. as it was mentioned by somebody else, lack of integrity. they were obviously exaggerating, or is it more accurate to say making it up? Actually it is no surprise their phones rang off the hook when they started producing phony reports on the air. everyone wants their moment of fame as a phone in caller.

At least one person's head has to roll, maybe more.

Interesting, you can't leave a comment on their webserver today, they must be overwhelmed with people making their comments about it.

Wallingford, CT

#15 Jul 22, 2007
TV news in Connecticut (and elsewhere) is notoriously inaccurate night after night after night.

Has ANYONE noticed that most stories on the evening news are simply TV rehases of what has been printed in one of the daily newspapers (Hartford Courant, NH Register, CT Post, Norwich Bulletin, NL Day, Meriden Record-Journal, etc...) earlier that day? Another sad but true reality...but at least the papers publish original stories.

In this case, they had no published story to work from because the story was unfolding immediately - and TV failed the state miserably (as usual).

Remember, news in this market (and across the nation) is no longer about community service. It is about ratings and business. The prevailing attitude seems to be "Why be accurate as long as they are watching?"

Also, if the statement regarding police stations above is accurate (please don't be offended, but I have only this blog as a source and would need to review the video of the broadcast for confirmation of the accuracy of the quote), the first move any police department makes after a 9-1-1 call is received is NOT to call Channel 3. The first responsibility of emergency responders is and always has been to respond to the emergency call.

I can see where Channel 3 or other TV stations may have made outgoing calls to the state police or to local police in areas where their radar indicated strong weather activity to ask what was going on. But to have the police place a call to a TV station as the situation unfolded is HIGHLY UNLIKELY.
fake news is not news

Canton, CT

#16 Jul 22, 2007
It is true that there is no real reporting anymore by "TV News Journalists", its all rumor, what he said, what she hears, and scratching the surface. Repeats of newspaper articles are the norm. The assignment desks are staffed with 20 some year olds because they only pay little above minimum wage, work them hundreds of hours with no OT. no surprise the news is filled with inaccuracies and mistakes when people with no experience are running the place. thats why the news director is supposed to be the stopping ground for stupid things like this. her quote in the courant "I think we'll be a little more cautious when someone sends something," is an absolute joke. it will be interesting to see their response, or if they'll just ignore the huge gap. one thing for sure is that it will be the talk of the town in the industry rags, and places like shopttalk and newsblues websites
Judge and Jury

Durham, CT

#17 Jul 22, 2007
I was fishing in Waterford and left imediately when I heared a tornado was sighted a town away from where aI LIVED. I was headed North on RT 9 when I heard the Thomasto police chief's statement that there was no sign of a tornado touching down. WTIC radio said there were reports of a funnel cloud crossing RT. 8. Shortly around Exit 5 I drove through a deluge of rain and entered a zone of dark clouds that were very menacing. I later heard that Colchester and East Haddam suffered extensive damage from this storm. It is difficult to predict tornados even with the doppler radar that this TV station touts as the most advanced. It looks like they had it turned off that day. Remember the Hurricane of 1938 struck Connecticut without warning and severely damaged the state.
Glen in Naugatuck

Hackensack, NJ

#18 Jul 23, 2007
Bobby in North Haven--please do not blame ALL the stations in Connecticut for this trend. This bogus and lazy weather reporting belonged to CHANNEL 3 "eyewitness" news ONLY. Our other CT stations didn't just follow along, they were calm and said nothing is confirmed. I'm through with these clowns haney and marc dixon and their ultra accurate doppler or whatever. There is an answer..switch the channel!
Retired CO

United States

#19 Jul 23, 2007
Glen in Naugatuck wrote:
Bobby in North Haven--please do not blame ALL the stations in Connecticut for this trend. This bogus and lazy weather reporting belonged to CHANNEL 3 "eyewitness" news ONLY. Our other CT stations didn't just follow along, they were calm and said nothing is confirmed. I'm through with these clowns haney and marc dixon and their ultra accurate doppler or whatever. There is an answer..switch the channel!
FYI: Haney has been on vacation until July 24. He can't be blamed. This claim of a tornado being sighted or touching down is not free speech, it is reckless and dangerous behavior that should be investigated and the culprit punished.
yes youre all right

Canton, CT

#20 Jul 24, 2007
but what is the result? anyone at WFSB get fired? someone please tell me that someone got the axe for the irresponsible, lawless behavior
Judge and Jury

Durham, CT

#21 Jul 25, 2007
yes youre all right wrote:
but what is the result? anyone at WFSB get fired? someone please tell me that someone got the axe for the irresponsible, lawless behavior
No one got fired but we are punished with Scott Haney every day and his stupid antics. Bring back Hilton Kadderly "the Gutter Helmet Man". The only redeeming value is he is usually followed by Rachael Lutzger and the traffic report.

Tell me when this thread is updated:

Subscribe Now Add to my Tracker

Add your comments below

Characters left: 4000

Please note by submitting this form you acknowledge that you have read the Terms of Service and the comment you are posting is in compliance with such terms. Be polite. Inappropriate posts may be removed by the moderator. Send us your feedback.

Thomaston Discussions

Title Updated Last By Comments
Does anybody know... Mar '16 Stephanie 1
News School Seeking to Expel 2 Over Menacing Costumes Dec '15 Riverbank resident 2
going to get dealers busted Nov '15 big rig 1
News Controversy follows inquiry into student arrests Nov '15 Drop the charges 1
techno music (Jul '15) Jul '15 findmethissongplz 1
Motocross star Doug Henry charged with public i... (Jun '15) Jun '15 Son of man 1
News MySpace In Sex Assault Probe (Feb '06) Apr '15 spen 424
More from around the web

Personal Finance

Thomaston Mortgages