The Chicken Little Channel

The old newsroom saying: “If it bleeds, it leads.” Apparently this also works in weather:

Many local broadcast meteorologists say that the national reporting on severe weather is out of control, with sloppy reporting and almost incessant hyping of events. What this is doing, they add, is spreading misinformation that may be desensitizing viewers to actual weather risk.

In terms of my own hometown, I am at the point now where if there are any warnings beyond the most routine, I have to say something on Facebook just to reassure everyone that I am not in fact dead.

One critic, from Birmingham, Alabama:

[James] Spann, for instance, says national TV got the Houston floods story last May wrong by suggesting they were extraordinary, when, in fact, the city has a long history of such flooding.

“The networks just decided that this never happened before. That’s just idiotic,” he says, adding that the destructive flooding was a big enough story that it didn’t need hype.

Another, from a network O&O in Boston:

While indisputably powerful, the devastation caused by Sandy resulted from the storm hitting a heavily populated area rather than its sheer force. That fact was missed in many of the stories, he says.

“It was not a freak of nature,” [Eric] Fisher says. “Not everything has to be the worst, or the biggest or unprecedented.”

I blame global cooling/warming/stasis: it’s necessary to appear to have extreme events to prop up the narrative.



  1. mushroom »

    6 August 2015 · 1:20 pm


  2. Roger Green »

    6 August 2015 · 3:12 pm

    I think it’s the general dumbing down of the news that the weather has been SO dominant. AND they can often use the O&O stations to report, making it cheaper.

  3. CGHill »

    6 August 2015 · 3:38 pm

    No question that the news has been dumbed down. (And they have a lot more O&Os than they used to.)

  4. Brett »

    6 August 2015 · 5:36 pm

    I don’t know that the hyperbole is always unjustified — I feel perfectly comfortable referring to our local weather teams as “99% worthless” when I’m sure I have a margin of error in the high single digits.

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