#snowmageddon? #snowmg? Stop telling lies, this isn’t a blizzard.

Two pictures taken Monday, December 27th in Massachusetts during the "blizzard of 2010," which has snow accumulation of less than the height of an iPhone.

I’m going to tell you something shocking. If you don’t read this, it could kill you. You must stay tuned to this blog, the safety of your children could depend on it. Are you ready for it? Brace yourself.

The… media… exaggerates.

In fact, you could even argue that TV and radio stations are blatantly lying to you. They know you could get plenty more information on the internet or an app (or by simply going outside in this case) and quicker, but that’s not how you get broadcast ratings. They’ll keep you glued to your set, locked in on that dial, because the “great blizzard of 2010” is coming. It “could kill you.”

I’ve been watching the local news in MA all morning, and they keep showing live shots of places where the “blizzard” is “bad.” Not a single shot shows even a foot of accumulation, and the only towns that were hit badly were coastal ones that saw high tides.

Look, a blizzard is defined as minimum 35mph winds, less than 1/4 mile visibility, and a buttload of snow. A local TV station claimed my hometown got 9.25″ of snow, but as you can see by the pictures above, the actual accumulation is shorter than an iPhone, which is 4.5″ tall. Winds here never got worse than 25 mph, yet the governor of Massachusetts declared a state of emergency yesterday before the storm even started (probably because of the media exaggerations).

TV and radio stations use scare tactics to boost ratings, which is why you constantly see “special reports” that could kill you if you don’t watch them. Your son’s matchbox car could kill you, too, if you choose to try and swallow it. And then when you watch the story, you find out there’s a 1 in 300,000 chance that a certain kind of toilet paper can cause rashes which has a 1 in 500,000 chance of leading to infection, which has a 1 in 4 million chance of killing you. (I’m making up this hypothetical report and exaggerating, but you get my point.)

So what’s my point?

Take information with a grain of salt. Your local weatherman and your favorite news anchors are doing the same thing you’re doing – trying to make money. They do it by getting you to watch/listen, and that gets advertisers to pay their salaries. So, yes, take caution when they say the great “wintercane of 2010” could hit, but also use your own head. They’ll exaggerate and scare you into watching with possiblities, could-happens, and showy exaggerations.

When they say your town “could get 20 inches of snow” that’s pretty much the same as hearing “a rabid pack of ligers could overtake the city,” too. Anything could happen.