Rant No. 1

I've decided this blog is a logical place to record the occasional rants that take place in my head. They usually happen when I feel I've finally heard or seen one too many stupid things. For example, the other night I was watching the News on tv. It was a couple of days after Christmas and the 3 or 4 inches of snow that had given us a white Christmas had disappeared with a couple of rainy days, a situation in no way unusual for our area - our Christmases are about 50-50 white and green/brown. One year I picked the last of the pansies for the Christmas dinner table. Another year the snow was so deep most city streets were impassable. The only time our weather is remarkable is if it stays the same for any length of time.

So I'm watching the news report and the announcer is standing outdoors reporting that the snow is all gone, a fact we all know from looking out our own windows. It seemed to be rather important to her so I kept listening. She spoke for several moments about the wetness of the streets, the patches of green where it had so recently been white and the general  un-Chrismasy-ness of it all. When I thought they were finally moving on to something that might actually be real news, they began showing footage of the outdoor skating oval. In a concerned voice the reporter told us that just a few days ago this oval had been filled with people enjoying the outdoor skating, but now, because of the rain, the ice was wet and could not be used.

Then, and I am not making this up, the camera took us to an indoor skating rink where people were being asked how they felt about having to skate here instead of at the outdoor oval. Were they terribly disappointed that the rain had created this situation? The people looked like they wanted to ask if the reporter was feeling alright, but with the camera aimed at them they gamely tried to answer the question. Eventually the camera returned to the reporter on the wet street where she re-stated everything we had just been told, which was pretty much nothing.

The entire report took at least ten minutes. Ten minutes to tell us rain fell yesterday and then more fell today. It wasn't even an unusual amount. I don't understand how anybody could think that was worthy of a news report (and they made us go through the whole thing again when it was time for the weather report). There are wars and disasters and crimes happening all around the world and we call a bit of rain news? A while back I watched a reporter standing on a quiet beach saying how big the waves were going to get in just a few hours, then at the end of that few hours he was back on the still quiet beach saying the storm hadn't materialized and these calm waters would remain calm. His intensity was laughable. Two news reports on a beach where nothing is happening.

When did ordinary weather become news? Hurricanes, sure. Tornadoes. Heavy snowfalls, ice storms, dangerous road conditions; anything with an actual story. But how is it news when nothing is happening? Are we so lamentably addicted to sensationalism that we have to create drama out of nothing? Aren't journalists embarrassed to talk so earnestly about nothing at all? I get embarrassed for them just watching, it makes them look so sad and desperate.

Please people. News is news. Severe weather is news. An ordinary rainy day on the east coast is not.

End of rant.


Post a Comment