Thursday, February 13, 2014

Blizzards of Misinformation

Cable news crawls about the worst storm ever are as accurate as their political hyberbole, that is not at all, at least for New York and its environs.

The Great Blizzard of 1947, which brought the Northeast to a standstill, dumped 26.4 inches of snow on Manhattan during Christmas week. Plows stacked up piles as high as ten feet, some of which did not melt for months. It was described as the worst storm in history since the fabled Blizzard of 1888.

I know that for a fact because I had to dig out the first car I ever owned, a shovelful at a time. Unlike today’s weather, which is predicted with pinpoint accuracy, that storm came in unexpectedly from the Atlantic rather than the usual path of west to east.

As governors and mayors struggle to cope with today’s devastation, it might be useful to remember that, despite all scientific advances, life in many ways still remains unpredictable.

In Washington, politics is even more erratic than the weather, as Congress tries to disentangle itself from the worst man-made mess ever. They will be wallowing in Tea Party detritus long after the winter weather has subsided.

Keep the shovels handy.

1 comment:

Ron Chusid said...

There is so much misinformation in the media, and quite often in cable news. Sometimes it comes from obvious political bias, but far more often (beyond Fox) it comes from other faults in the reporting process and biases of reporters independent of politics. The problems a reporter sees today will always seem bigger than historical events.

The erratic political events also show both obvious political bias and less obvious forms of bias in their coverage. News reports often suffer from reporters applying a false equivalency that both parties must be equally wrong and the truth is somewhere in between them.