Having a holly jolly Christmas here at the old homestead with Mom and Pop Mannion. Always a comfort and a joy to be home, except as the evenings wane and Pop reaches for the TV remote to turn on…the news.
Back home I don’t watch the news on television. I read newspapers and catch up with what the networks are passing along as news online. I recommend this practice for a variety of reasons, but chief among them is that it’s quieter.
Everybody on TV seems to shout.
It’s clear that John McLaughlin not Walter Cronkite, and certainly not Edward R. Murrow, has bee the greatest influence on broadcasting over the last generation.
But Pop tuned into the local Fox affiliate first to get the weather report and I was pleasantly surprised.
Their meteorologist was a twentysomething guy who…spoke softly. And calmly. Amazing, since he’d grown up listening to weathercasters who couldn’t report a heat wave in Texas in August or rain in Seattle without resorting to tones and volumes they must have learned in college watching a film clip of the burning and crashing of the Hindenburg.
His voice was measured, his emphases and stresses well-placed and never overdone. He used his hands a bit much, but his gestures were subdued and simply demonstrative or illustrative---he wasn’t the type to make hurricanes out of zephyrs. He was reporting the approach of snow but seemed well-aware that he was in upstate New York and it was late December and under those circumstances ran overnight dusting isn’t exactly breaking news. You might as well get breathless reporting a morning frost.
It was a nice change from the sort of weather reporting that helped convince me to stop watching the news, the sort that another local station demonstrated a half hour later after Pop had switched over to get the sports scores.
Their meteorologist was not quiet.
Or seemingly aware that anybody watching had ever seen snow before in their lives.
I wouldn’t say that when he warned us about the oncoming “wintery mix” (in the “higher elevations,” meaning up in the foothills the Adirondacks---it’s also a feature of weather reports that if there are “higher elevations” in the broadcast area, the whole area shares in the worst of what’s battering the windward side of the peaks) in tones that made me think “Oh the humanity!”
But if you didn’t speak English and didn’t have your eyes on the screen you wouldn’t have been able to tell the weather report from a sports update in which the top story was an upset of the Cowboys beating the Saints order.
And another thing!
Have you noticed how the meteorologists grow more cheerful whenever they have real bad weather to report, like they have a rooting interest in seeing us get flattened, buried, or drowned? It’s as if Mother Nature is the underdog and they had their life savings riding on her.
Sorry. I’m done. Another reason not to watch TV news---cuts down on cranky posts like this one.