Jeff Renner, you're on notice! Jim Forman? Notice!
It's no secret that TV news is often sensationalized--anyone who can consistently take it seriously is missing an irony gene. But it's not often that you see the weatherfolk calling each other out on the hype factor. Which is exactly what UW atmospheric sciences professor/local weather guru Cliff Mass did to KING 5 on his blog last night.
Apparently, the station's coverage of our current heat wave set him off. Mass' takedown warrants quoting at length. Writes he:
All the TV stations do it, but none are better at it than KING-5. They are masters of the art. First the news anchors broach the topic, with tremulous voices asking the question--will a dangerous heat wave hit the region the next day? Then they turn to a smiling, yet serious, Jeff Renner who provides a knowing, sympathetic, nod of agreement. Last night, he had his work cut out for him, but finds the most extreme temperature maxima in the region to provide some reason for concern (last night he had to really stretch, quoting the temperature in Vancouver, WA.,which gets the Willamette Valley heat). And then they always turn to their on-scene scarester-reporter. And KING has the top weather scarester in the country...Jim Forman. I love this guy. I wish they sold tapes of his segments...I could watch it for hours. In the winter he hypes snow and in the summer heat. During the last heat wave he had a giant round thermometer stuck at 105F that he kept on flailing about. If nothing threatening is going on...no problem..he will describe the terrible events that will certainly happen to the unprepared. And he always shows people desperately buying emergency supplies in convenience stores and supermarkets. I mean...this guy has a winning formula.
I have a call in with KING-5 to get a response. But a warning to Mass: Forman isn't scared of danger, and TV news teams know how to fight: