Hurricane Bill fails to make landfall.
"What will we report?" cried one network anchor.
"The absolute lack of devastation is devasting," bemoaned another.
Still, all was not lost. Up and down the Atlantic coast, reporters managed to don yellow hooded raincoats, go live from the scene, telling us they didn't know anything and telling it for hours. Meanwhile beaches along the entire Eastern Seaboard were closed just in case.
Rumors that the state of Maryland was evacuated under the precautionary principle were ultimately proven false. Also false was the rumor that the president cancelled his vacation at Martha's Vineyard. He merely delayed it.
When a 54 year old man washed ashore dead on a Volusia County, Florida beach, officials suspected drowning.
The Captain of the local Beach Patrol believes the death was related to Hurricane Bill, stating the man "wouldn't have been out there trying to bodysurf unless the waves were really big."
With 4,000 drowning deaths per year in the United States, reporters were not giving up in their attempts to assign deaths to the storm. But even though 11 Americans drown daily, news sleuths were only able to uncover two other possible storm related tragedies.
A 10-year old boy nearly drowned and a toddler was in serious condition after nearly drowning. Initially, both incidences were cheerfully attributed to Hurricane Bill by the New York media. Only later, did the New York reporters discover that the near drownings were in Missouri and Arizona, respectively and that both locations were landlocked and thousands of miles from the Atlantic Ocean.
"I didn't know where they were," complained on reporter. "It's not like I've ever had a reason to leave New York or anything."
"I've traveled," offered a second reporter. "I've been to Jersey."
A retraction was printed in 6 point type below the fold on page A26.