The Absurdity of Cable News Storm Coverage, in 7 Perfect Tweets
Here's a sad fact about cable news and major snowstorms: Despite the flashing banners that warn of your impending icy doom, covering a blizzard is the journalistic equivalent of watching grass grow.
Despite warnings from weather forecasters that the East Coast would face up nearly three feet of snow in Monday's "crippling" and "potentially historic" storm, the blizzard only dropped between three inches and more than a foot of snow across New England, falling well short of the winter doomsday hyped by cable news in the past 24 hours.
Part of this is a structural problem: Cable news personalities are stuck on air and forced to, well — talk — even when there's no new information about flight cancellations or public safety risks to report. That results in bizarre coverage, which can be easily broken down into three categories:
The "I know this is over the top but whatever" broadcast:
Fox News' Shepard Smith wants to remind viewers that he is actually the ubermensch.
CNN's Don Lemon got in on the action too:
The "I'm out of things to say so let's just keep talking" broadcast:
Dear CNN: A hurricane is a tropical cyclone. A blizzard is a snowstorm characterized by particularly strong winds for a long period of time. Not that hard.
Also related: The "stating the obvious" broadcast:
The "let's force some poor correspondent to stand outside" broadcast:
Classic CNN. But at least Lemon got to drive around New York in the comfort of his "Blizzardmobile" — while interviewing people for unrelated segments:
Frankly, it's this Vine that sums up the past 24 hours of hysterical news coverage best: