Friday, January 08, 2010

TV Weather People Create Fear Mongering

TV Weather People Create Fear Mongering

Erik Deckers
Laughing Stalk syndicate
Copyright 2010

The TV weather people are turning us into sissies. They're doing everything they can to force us all into our homes, where we'll be found dead after the Spring thaw, huddled together in frozen masses.

Don't believe me? Watch your morning news next week and see how dramatic the weather reporters sound, especially when there's anything heavier than a snow flurry. They'll stand on the city streets in the "dangerous cold" (10 degrees), telling people why they should stay inside. We used to go out and play in 10 degree weather. It was double digit temperatures, so we were okay. Now, they're telling people how to avoid frostbite during the short walk from the parking lot to the office.

Just three weeks ago, my oldest daughter and I were watching the morning news on our local FOX affiliate, as I was getting ready to take her to school. All the news casters were using their Very Serious Voices, warning us about the bitterly cold winds, the dangerously low temperatures, and the winter storms of biblical proportions that were looming over the city. Drivers leaving the city were told not to look in their rearview mirrors, lest they turn into pillars of salt.

When we stepped outside, I expected to be whipped around by heavy winds and blinded by snow.

It was sunny, in the mid-30s, and a stiff breeze messed up my hair and made me zip up my windbreaker. On the way home, I drove through a snow squall two miles wide, and I was back in the sunshine.

So much for dangerous weather.

Every TV station's weather promo carries this underlying message: "Weather is scary and dangerous, and it will eat your children. Only our news station can give you the most up-to-date weather and road conditions. If you watch the other guys, you will probably freeze, suffocate, or die in a fiery crash of twisted metal and Titanic-sized snow drifts."

But Indiana isn't the only place the TV news is trying to scare the bejeezus out of their viewers.

FOX11 in Green Bay, Wisconsin has begun naming the winter storms. Once limited to only killer hurricanes, FOX11 is naming the winter storms to drum up more viewers.

I can't be sure who came up with the moronic, overly-dramatic idea of naming a winter storm, but I'm astonished that it's Wisconsin who's trying to create this panic. To hear most Cheeseheads tell it, an Indiana winter storm is just a minor inconvenience. A mere dusting of snow and a few cold gusts of wind.

Or as they call it, August.

FOX11 has come up with a list of storm names to use whenever there's more than two inches of snow on the ground. They're already up to Chloe, and it's only the first month of winter. But the entire list only goes up through Nathan, so they don't seem to think their fear mongering list will be used up before Spring.

Come on, people. I've seen less drama at a high school prom.

Now, I realize we don't get horrible storms here in Indiana like they do in Minnesota and Wisconsin, but I also know that we get some pretty hard weather. We'll get a few inches of snow, and people will drive like idiots for the first couple of days. But then everyone gets their sea legs back, and we're fine again. We're used to this kind of weather.

That's because anyone who's my age or older remembers the Blizzard of '78, where schools and businesses were closed for a week. I remember my dad putting on his cross-country skis and skiing to the store for some groceries.

See, here in Indiana, we're made of sterner stuff than Wisconsin. We just name the more memorable storms after they happen, not before. The last time the weather worried any of us was 32 years ago.

Maybe Wisconsin's getting soft. Maybe the Upper Midwest is losing it, and are turning into a bunch of sissified weather whiners who would rather fly away to Florida every year until April.

Not us Hoosiers, nosiree. We'll stick it out here. We won't name our storms or huddle in fear. We'll ignore our TV newspeople and their feeble attempts at fear mongering, and we'll just fight our way through winter like we always do, heads down and eyes squinted. against the wind.

And after a while, the temperatures will warm up, and we'll all be fine again. At least until Spring Shower Rachel rolls across Central Indiana.

That's when we'll panic.

Like this post? Leave a comment, Digg it, or Stumble it.


  1. Originally from Georgia, I have learned to stay inside when it is bitter cold and not drive when the roads are covered with ice....or at least wait for the rush hour to pass and the salt crews to apply their magic ice melting cocktail. I don't know why the weather people are so dramatic regarding any weather that happens to come our way. Perhaps they get paid more for their theatrics or they are vying for some sort of weather academy award. Perhaps their award show is called The Stormies and the statue is a golden twister...

  2. I grew up in Michigan and don't remember all of the panic over snow like you see here. And naming snow storms? Now that is just silly. If wehad named snow fall over 2 inches in Michigan we would have a different name practically everyday. I don't get the drama, but then again I am more ised to snow and cold than many others. Doesn't mean I like it though. If I had it my way, we'd hibernate through this nastiness like other animals do.

  3. I first did TV weather in 1986, when we just had doppler magnets at WTTV, the station I guessed for in Indianapolis. Since then the actual forecasts have improved, but you are right, hype is rising like the air in a low pressure system ABOUT TO SLAM YOU AND YOUR FAMILY FROM THE NORTHWEST!

    I would suspect the Green Bay station is paying some good money to a tv news consultant who gets to (unlike the winter storms) remain anonymous.

  4. Hahahahaha!!! You made me laugh and read your blog aloud to The Man.... I only wish that the dangerous winter conditions would get me out of a day or two of work....... :)

  5. Aha, therein lies the tale!! Newscasters (of no matter what topic) no longer have any rational judgement at all. A little snowstorm or rain shower, can send them into panic mode, but then so can a big football game or athlete scandal, and heaven protect us from news reports. Many of these "communicators" cannot just report the true events, they have to give it some hype, put on their spin, tell us what to think, do, and believe and to give us an interpretation of what it really means (because God knows we are just too stupid to figure it out for ourselves!!) Everything becomes bad news and bad news becomes disasterous news, diasterous news becomes catastrophic and, well, you get my drift.

    For the most part these TV "personalities" are not journalists, they have no idea what unbiased means. Reporting the facts is so boring, let's jazz it up with hyperbole, drama, and half truths. I have long been of the opinion that Television is responsible for much of the moral and intellectual decay in this country and it's getting worse. TV treats us like little children and we believe it.

    Naming winter snowstorms??? That's a perfect example of creating bad news where there really is no news. Winter snows happen in the North, its a fact of life. Some are worse than others, and some people will act stupidly (with or without newscasters' help) and cause themselves injury or discomfort or worse.

    The TV weather guy's advice of "Staying inside to hide" is the worst of all the possible options. The reason they advise staying indoors, of course, is not for our safety or protection! They advise staying indoors so that people will watch more TV (and more advertisers) and the newscasters can then justify their existence.

    Really, all I need from the weathermen is the current temp and precipitation expected. But they keep insisting that all this extraneous crap is essential to life as we know it. BAH!


Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment. I am accepting comments from people with Google accounts to cut down on spam. Spammers aren't likely to register. There's been some Chinese spammer who keeps leaving spam comments under different names, and I'm hoping this will deter him. Jerk.

Other spam comments will be deleted with malicious glee.