Thursday, December 08, 2016

Just trust me this is really not fake news, I swear :)

The markets were again crushed by a surge of buy programs at almost the exact same time as yesterday and that was the story of the day.  If you bought at 11:59 and sold at 12:31 you made more than they average working man or woman makes in a week in 30 minutes.  Hooray for gamblin.... I mean investing!!

The subject of "fake news" is all over the media outlets tonight after Sec. Clinton addressed the topic at one of her first public appearances since the election.  While I don't deny that "fake news" does exist (there is a guy dedicated to writing these fake stories who makes a very comfortable living spreading falsehoods), my greater concern is the more widespread "misrepresenting every day occurrences" as news.

Allow me to explain using some weather examples - this morning one of the morning shows was in North Dakota talking about the frigid conditions where it was 6 degrees F.  Two weeks ago the morning shows were in Syracuse NY covering a lake effect snow event that dumped 8-12" of snow on the area.  By discussing these routine weather events --- Newsflash: it snows East of Lake Ontario in November/December and it's really, really cold in North Dakota --- as somehow newsworthy the media is creating a story out of thin air.  This isn't news, it's buzzfeed-style presentations designed to keep you glued to the TV to find out if that snow in Syracuse is coming to NYC or Boston (short answer - no b/c NYC and Boston are not near Lake Ontario, but conveniently they neglect to mention this fact in their story that talked about a "winter blast invading the Northeast").

On a more local level let's consider the story that has dominated the headlines for the past 72 hours in the North Country -- another lake effect snow event.  About 10 days ago you could see that it was going to be cold enough to produce snow if the winds stayed consistent when they reached Lake Ontario.  I mentioned to a family member that was traveling that "there will be snow in the traditional snow belt with a strong West/Southwest wind turning West by Thursday night".  It was clear that it was going to snow very hard in a very narrow band of mostly uninhabited land on the Tug Hill Plateau.  However, the National Weather Service issued a Lake Effect snow warning for Jefferson and Lewis counties (almost 2600 square miles combined) despite the fact that just a tiny fraction of those counties would be impacted.

Here is the snow map from the National Weather Service:

Now keep in mind where that bulls eye of the storm sits - that pink area in between Lowville and Pulaski and take note of this map.

Hmm, that's interesting, I wonder why that area that is going to get pummeled with snow is awfully green on the map?  Could it be because it's mostly uninhabited forests?  Uh, yes that's exactly the answer. 

So, that's my long-winded way of say that even local sources are guilty of trying to spice up a story to make you pay attention.  The reality is that this was a fairly typical lake effect event that will deliver snow to a fairly narrow section of forest land and snowmobile trails.  However, that is not a story that gets you to click on it 10 times a day.  If the story says LAKE EFFECT WARNING FOR JEFFERSON AND LEWIS COUNTY, you'll probably click all day for updates.  This isn't an example of "fake news" but it is rather disingenuous and this is a very common practice in the entire media industry.

Okay, that's enough ranting for the evening :)

Drive carefully if you live in Worth, NY.



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