MSNBC may have finally found the perfect way to counter attacks from President Trump on the mainstream media: save a dolphin. Yes, NBC correspondent Kerry Sanders helped save two beached dolphins in the aftermath of Hurricane Irma. Like most cable news channels, MSNBC had 24-7 coverage from down in Florida where reporters were hunkered down to wait out the storm. The live shot of Sanders was particularly remarkable.
Sanders was in the right place at the right time on Monday morning as he reported from Marco Island, Florida. This was the second location where Irma made landfall in the state of Florida after the Keys. The island, just to the northwest of Everglades National Park, is on the edge of a significant state and federally protected area, a natural habitat for wildlife. Before starting his live shot, Sanders found the beached dolphin.
Then the anchor, Willie Geist, turned it over. As Sanders started his storm update, he was already far into the surf, leading the "exhausted" small dolphin out into the Gulf of Mexico. "We have a dolphin that’s been washed ashore here,” Sanders explained to the camera. “We’re attempting to see if we can get it back out into the water. It certainly has gone through a lot of trauma here."
But saving one small, potentially baby dolphin was not enough for Sanders' morning. As Geist took over the newscast, Sanders remained busy at work — and not just as a journalist.
The news crew came across another, larger dolphin that was up on the sand. Video captured Sanders with a group of eight others picking up the large dolphin from the sand and carrying it back to the water. During this shot Sanders couldn't narrate, but Geist did for him. "Looks like another rescue is underway. The report we got is that the young dolphin that we saw … was safely released.”
According to an interview with Sanders, the storm surge was just about 4 to 5 feet, but even that was strong enough to push the dolphin onto land. Later in the morning he addressed the relationship between the two dolphins. "It may have been the mother but we'll never know that," Sanders explained in a special piece put together for Today.
This may be one of the few hugely positive and heartwarming pieces to come from Irma coverage. The storm changed tracks and spared Miami its worst, but other parts of the state did not bode so well. The Florida Keys are facing what reports are calling potentially a "humanitarian crisis." The Guardian reported that the army is on standby with body bags in the case they find mass casualties from people who failed to evacuate.
Don't expect Trump to speak directly on the dolphin rescue given that Monday was the anniversary of 9/11. He did, however, speak on the destruction that the second major hurricane of the season has wrought on the mainland United States, and what the response would be. "These are storms of catastrophic severity and we are marshaling the full resources of the federal government to help our fellow Americans in Florida, Alabama, Georgia, Texas, Louisiana and Tennessee and all of those wonderful places and states in harm’s way,” Trump said.
“When Americans are in need, Americans pull together. And we are one country. And when we face hardship we emerge closer, stronger, and more determined together," he added. Floridians did pull together, and this proved it.