So Irene right now ranks as the 10th-deadliest storm since 1980, with some possibility of that number going higher. And it ranks as the 8th most destructive storm economically, give or take. Meanwhile, it received about the 10th-most media coverage.
I found this storm rather annoying. Not because it was overhyped, but because the hype was overhyped. If you don't like hype don't watch the news. Hype is their business, and business is good.
In the age of the internet there really isn't any reason not to get your information directly from the source for things like this. Do you think Fox/CNN is operating their own fleet of weather buoys, or planes dropping sensor probes into the storm, or weather satellites, or supercomputers running simulations? They are all getting their data from the NOAA, so you might as well too.