Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Snow is the New Asbestos

The local news has lost its mind. Channel 4 in Detroit actually now calls itself "Rescue 4", as though they'll get your cat out of a tree, resuscitate someone's dying grandmother, or do Blackwater duty guarding dignitaries. At least once per broadcast an urgent-eyed anchor leads into a commercial break promising to later divulge information "that will help keep your family safe!" Which usually amounts to advice on par with, "Don't drink toilet cleaner, it's not healthy!" or "Double A batteries -- they're not a snack!"

Since when is it the duty of local news to look after the safety of a community? Don't police, fire and ambulance services take care of that?

This false netting of "safety" is nowhere as intrusive, overblown, ridiculous or boobery-born than the local weather report. Not only does the weather report take up entirely too much of any broadcast, but it has the most atrocious, misplaced tone of drama and even suspense injected into it. Particularly during winter. The approach of snow storms in Michigan are treated like plagues, like great mishaps, as though volcanic ash was going to fall upon naked citizen who have no skin.

Snow is the new asbestos. Snowfall is reported like meteor showers about to thit the earth; like nuclear fall-out approaching.

For most of my life, it's just been snow. Children play in it. Snow is like dust, except it melts.

In the hands of "Rescue 4," snow is airborn maggots carrying bird flu; each flake is a tiny albino terrorist powered in anthrax. But not to fear! "Rescue 4" will throw its cloak around every viewer and escort us through the nightmare. "Just close your eyes and think of Christmas," says the paternalistic stentorian voice.

Maybe some of these weather guys were pummelled with snowballs or subjected to snowbaths as youths -- the schoolyard version of waterboarding -- and for this reason report snowfall like the coming of an area-wide yeast infection. Possibly, I'm being too Jungian in my analysis. Whatever the reason, our perpetually amped-up media cannot be trusted anymore to even provide a basic weather report. There are numerous cases where a crippling storm was predicted and unremarkable amount of snow actually fell. I can just see the advertisers leaning on station managers to "sex" things up. "Whaddya mean it's going to rain?" an advertiser rails over the phone to a station minion. "I'm paying you people enough money to throw in an 'alert' or 'warning' or 'watch'. Get your heads out of your asses and scare people! I'm not selling enough vinyl-sided windows!"

Hence, "Rescue 4", the winged firetruck with its air-raid siren blaring, red-blue-yellow lights flashing like a nervous breakdown, driving in circles with its ladders and hoses and mounted guns casting lunatic shadows across the storybook covering of winter snow in Detroit.

Enjoy New Grenada's "Emergency Brigade


Ascendantlive said...

Having worked in television news I can say you're not far off at all. They definatly try to pump drama into it. Once our station hired a consultant who decided that we'd beat out all the other stations in the ratings game if we said the name of our station more often(30 or so times a newscast), plastered the screen with our logo at every opportunity, and used the such a lengthy title to introduce our meteorologists/chicken entrail doomsayers that by the time the anchor finished the introduction we'd used up all our time. Needless to say these idiotic tactics had no effect on our ratings, so instead they fired all the good reporters and hired recent college grads who can't even write. And still try to convince us that horrifying blizards are around every corner and we're all going to get snowed in for days on end...and I'm in Alabama, I believe 1902 was the last year anything resembling a blizard was seen in these parts.
Problem is all their wolf crying dilutes the impact when we have a real event, as in the tornados tearing up a large swath of houses about 40 miles west of here a few weeks ago...one meteorologist(no longer on the air) here used to pray over the radar, one the air.

Whetam Gnauckweirst said...

Thanks for the first-hand anecdote. That's hilarious about the threats of blizzards down in Alabama. Gosh, people under the lights will say damned near anything.

Don't get me started about consultants. Goddamned parasites. I've seen consultants rip the guts out of good, functioning companies. And then here. Jeez.

Ascendantlive said...

Consultants are the ones who told Clinton never to say Obama's name and instead say "my leading opponent"...just makes her look stupid, as if she can't remember his name.
In defense though, I did work with a number of very reputable reporters and meteorologists. Many went on to bigger markets...they're not all bad.

grymmjack said...

HAHA!!! +1

look at how lame the still frame is for their title graphic too. it's like someone with a lobotomy wearing mittens using a trackball cut and pasted it together.

i positively hate how the news team is sensationalized and portrayed as celebs. it drives me fucking crazy. i hate the news anyway but i cannot fathom why they have self-promos DURING their news cast.

duh, we're watching the news. we get it you fucking egomaniacs.

and! i hate the coy and playful ways they (being the news people) try and make jokes about the stupid shit that is personal to their newscast, like sallys wig or melvins new dog. we dont give a flying fuck about how well your team gets along just deliver the news you bitches.

also! i hate how sheeple have favorite news people. like what's up with that trogolodyte she-man. she looks like an american gladiator she doesn't belong in the news room!

news sucks!

fuck chuck gaidica too! i hate the weatherman and the sports guys the most ESPECIALLY BERNIE FUCKING SMILOVITZ THAT GUY IS A TOTAL DOUCHEBAG. i hate his mustache.

awesome post though.

Unknown said...

I should point out that in other countries (here in Europe) our news is usually not too entertaining.

I was amazed when I lived in the US that your news seemed to consist of: "And in a shocking report, we tell you which common household items could spontaneously behead your children... after these messages."

That's not news - that's scaremongering. All your news seems to be based around entertainment and fear, as if the average american is too ADD'd to deal with actual information.