Tags: Climate Change | Global Warming | Media Bias | hype | weather

Viewers Cool to Media Hype Hot Air

Image: Viewers Cool to Media Hype Hot Air

 (AP)

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Wednesday, 14 Sep 2016 04:46 PM Current | Bio | Archive

The media got only one thing right during its nonstop coverage of the latest tropical storm. They said they couldn’t talk about it enough, and they didn’t let us down.

In fact, that’s all they did, all other news be damned. And once again, despite the marathon local and national “team” coverage, a funny thing happened along much of the eastern seaboard: virtually nothing.

But the media gained exactly what it sought: increased ratings through scare tactics of what was coming.

Here’s a newsflash to news directors. While you’re proudly patting yourselves on the back for a temporary ratings boon, you just cut your nose off to spite your face. Sure, people tuned in because of the hype you shamelessly promoted, but because you were so abysmally wrong (again) you left your viewership disgusted. It’s a taste they won’t soon forget.

Now that the viewer bump is over, your overall ratings will continue to fall. For that failure, you’ll blame everything and everyone else, instead of looking in the mirror.

The constant stream of ultra-hyped stories, punctuated by overly-dramatic “developing” and “breaking” news cut-ins every five minutes (most of which turn out to be mundane), combined with its uncanny ability to get so much wrong, are the biggest factors in the news media’s demise.

The only people still in the fog about this are those in the media itself.

The coverage of Hermine, like clockwork, became “the sky-is-falling” sensationalism, contributing to our culture of fear and negatively impacting countless people.

If media executives, and weather people in particular, were smart, they would have led off the post-storm news with a mea culpa: We were wrong. Not just in our predictions, but in hyping the storm that wasn’t, and needlessly interrupting your lives — from canceled vacations and work disruptions to loss of income. For that, we apologize.

But too many news directors spend more time trying to keep their jobs than doing them, subscribing to the herd mentality of mimicking their competitors. So good luck waiting for that apology, since they see nothing wrong with how they conducted themselves. The fact that those left watching do so with palpable disdain is completely lost on them.

And how many stormtrackers, weather authorities, mobile weather labs, double scans, and mega dopplers do we need — especially when they can’t provide a semblance of accuracy when it matters most?

That’s a lot of different ways to say the same thing. Uninformative, irrelevant, and all too often inaccurate forecasts. Many of us don’t know what Alberta clippers are, and we don’t care about dew points. The only things that matter are what the weather will be today, tomorrow, and the next few days.

Even worse is that the weather folks don’t speak plainly anymore, instead using unintelligible jargon such as a “weather event” and “piece of energy.”

What ever happened to just calling a storm a storm?

And since when did we become too dumb to comprehend what the actual temperature is?

Instead, we are given the temp as “wind chill” and “heat index” — whatever they mean.

Three consecutive days over 90 degrees is a “heat wave?” Have we become that wimpy?

We don’t need condescending pronouncements from weather folks telling us to “be careful,” “drink fluids,” “take it easy,” “slow down,” and “stay off the roads.”

Gee, thanks. Glad you told us, because we wouldn’t have known any better had you not shoved it down our throats eight times over the last half hour.

Most people have common sense, and, in adverse conditions, will slow down or, if possible, remain indoors. There will always be morons who drive 80 miles per hour in a torrential downpour because they think SUVs are invincible, and those who brave the ocean in a hurricane.

But no amount of newscaster platitudes will prevent idiocy in those who revel in it, so let’s stop with nanny-state commands.

The most dangerous aspect of overblown coverage is that the media creates a boy-who-cried-wolf situation. Another mega-storm was all but guaranteed, yet nothing happened.

That situation has been repeated so often, and the media has lost so much credibility, that when a true threat emerges many won’t heed the warnings. That’s when people die.

The media, instead of providing thorough, even-keeled reporting, thrives on sensationalism, too often playing on fears and whipping up hysteria. And it’s not just weather, but all aspects of the news.

Not surprisingly, people are tuning out.

Viewers, listeners, and readers have walked away, and journalists’ reputations now rank alongside those of politicians, trial lawyers, and snake oil salesmen. It’s time for the media to reinvent itself and get back to basics, or the storm clouds overhead will permanently rain on its parade.

And that’s no hype.

Chris Freind is an independent columnist, television commentator, and investigative reporter who operates his own news bureau, Freindly Fire Zone Media. Read more reports from Chris Freind — Click Here Now.

 

 

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The media, instead of providing thorough, even-keeled reporting, thrives on sensationalism, too often playing on fears and whipping up hysteria. And it’s not just weather, but all aspects of the news.
hype, weather
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2016-46-14
Wednesday, 14 Sep 2016 04:46 PM
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