More journo-cide

weather channel

The Weather Channel’s Mike Seidel acting out/YouTube

Some days it’s just painful to wake up to being a journalist in America.

Given the profession’s credibility problems, you’d think everyone would be on their best behavior from the receptionist at the local newspaper to the weather reporter on national cable television.

But, of course, if you thought that you’d be wrong.

Leave it to reporter Mike Seidel of The Weather Channel to engage in physical shenanigans to hype his coverage of Hurricane Florence, now Tropical Storm Florence, and for The Weather Channel to then defend the behavior with the excuse that Seidel was struggling to “maintain his footing on wet grass, after reporting on-air until 1 a.m. ET this morning and is undoubtedly exhausted.”

Right. (And ignore the Channel’s terrible sentence structure.)

Wet grass and fatigue always force you to crouch and brace yourself for 70 mph winds when an on-video anemometer is showing a wind speed of 29 mph to match the behavior of the people in shorts strolling around in the background of the scene.

Fatigue might also explain the wind gust that hits 48 mph about the time Seidel claims “this wind gusting again over 60 mph.” And the slippery grass surely makes Seidel pick up a conveniently discovered shingle, toss it in the air and proclaim: “see what happens when you throw it up; it just takes off like a projectile.”

Only it doesn’t take off like a projectile. It sails away like a leaf in a 29 mph wind, the kind of winds that seemed to blow on the Anchorage Hillside for much of the summer. Daily winds of 20 to 45 mph do not make you wobble side-to-side.

The old Beaufort Wind Scale, which traces its roots back to 1805, actually has visual indicators for wind speeds. It says an umbrella becomes hard to use at a wind speed of 31 mph, according to the version the National Weather Service’s online post. 

At 47 to 54 mph, some “slates”, what we call roofing shingles today, might get blown loose, although Consumer Reports in its roofing guide notes many companies now warranty shingles to stay on the roof at up to 85 mph.

Trees don’t start going down until the winds reach 55 to 63 mph. A sustained 55 mph wind might cause Seidel the sort of difficulty in standing in one place that he was displaying on camera, but he wasn’t out in 55 mph winds.

He was, in the best tradition of Master Thespian, acting!

It was so bad the deputy weather editor at the Washington Post, a newspaper not exactly known for pinpoint accuracy anymore, called out weather reporters in general but none by name, of course.

The rules of the Society of Polite Journalists (SPJ) would appear to prohibit that. And mainly, the Post’s Angela Fritz seemed to be trying to pitch her newspaper’s attempt at more accurate coverage of the storm:

‘The wind is not the story here, and everyone knows it because they watched Florence drop in strength before it made landfall.

“The real threat in Florence is not the wind, it is the rain. We have known this would be the case for days. Maybe as much as 50 inches will fall in the Carolinas and will generate life-threatening flash flooding through the weekend.”

That’s still to come. One can only guess what the Reality News Shows of today might do to hype that. An underwater tour of a flooded house, maybe, with a reporter buffeted by a raging current?

In the interests of all journalism, The Weather Channel should have given Seidel a few days off to contemplate his behavior. He could have used the time to respond to the comments on his Facebook page where he is taking a rather lively beating, some of which is pretty funny.









12 replies »

  1. “When Facebook selected the right-wing, Iraq War-boosting magazine The Weekly Standard as an official fact-checking partner last year as part of its effort to combat “misinformation,” progressives warned that the conservative publication would use its power to suppress accurate articles published by center-left and left-wing outlets.
    That’s precisely what happened.”

  2. Americans became addicted to entertainment at some point. It’s infected our news, it’s infected our political process. Pundits, politicians and reporters simply give the mob the spectacle that they demand. Not to excuse the “fake news” reporters (which is probably almost all of them in the business, present company excluded), but they are just a simple manifestation of our society’s grotesque appetite to be constantly entertained and to have its opinions validated on a 24/7 basis. Trump, Obama, the typical weather guy…we have only ourselves to blame.

      • Good morning, Steve. Part of the problem is when people don’t like what those in ‘the media’ have to say, they just shop for some different ‘media’ that tells them what they want to hear…. FOX, MSNBC, Vox, ad nausium…


  3. In reference to the Google scandal and tape: “Now imagine living in a world where the media you count on for information, where the news outlets you turn to as means to consume news, hide this video, cover it up, spin it, or pretend it does not exist.

    Well, you do live in that world — because that is exactly what CNN, the New York Times, and Fox Business did with the Google Tape.

    Basically, because these outlets are so driven by something other than informing the public, the Google Tape — the smoking guns of all smoking guns — was hidden from new consumers.

    Get this… The far-left New York Times had the Google Tape all the way back in March, had all 60-plus minutes of it, had a massive story in their hot little hands; and not just any story, a legitimate game changer, proof — video proof — of the kind of corporate malfeasance that is hard to believe when you see it in fiction.

    And what did the New York Times do with this bombshell? Well, the so-called “newspaper of record” covered it up, shielded Google, and deliberately misinformed the public into believing the only newsworthy thing that happened at a meeting of Google’s top executives two days after 2016 presidential election was a lot of grieving over Trump’s victory.”

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