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The networks’ habit of sending reporters into the teeth of the storm provided valuable visible evidence of the storm’s power for viewers comfortable and dry in their own living rooms. The danger is that the presence of reporters attracts people who think it’s safe to be outside. At least twice Sunday morning, wide camera shots caught people snapping cellphone pictures of reporters delivering their reports. Despite officials’ constant request that people stay home during the storm, TV pictures showed folks going out for morning coffee, walking their dogs or, in one case, letting a child stand on a boardwalk bench next to a railing overlooking pounding surf.

While NBC’s Pat Battle delivered one report from the New Jersey shoreline, her camera panned out to show some people walking on the beach. She scolded from afar that it was still clearly unsafe to do that.

Then MSNBC switched to Roker in Long Beach, wading in the surf.