Tuesday, February 03, 2009

The Media and the Weather

Let's face it, everyone was delighted with yesterday's unexpected day off. So much so, that many are continuing it today. The glorious media, of course, needed to find a sensational angle, a depressing analysis, and so naturally have latched on to that old favourite of how Britain isn't ready for anything. The worst snow for eighteen years, and good old GB inc couldn't cope. John Humphreys on the 'Today' programme was busy berating Transport for London's Peter Hendy by referencing eighteen years ago and saying "Presumably then we did cope - what's gone wrong?". Actually, we didn't cope any better then than now, but that didn't stop Humphreys moving to his even more fatuous next point - that if we kept going during the Blitz how come a bit of snow has stopped us. Er, because we want it to John, that's why.
Buses and trains are busy running again today, but with only a 30 to 40% take-up apparently. Most schools are still shut. And why? Because we don't want to look the gift horse of another day off in the mouth. It makes a nice change to se everyone out and enjoying the snow on a work day. Normally the media is full of "aren't we an over-stressed nation, working too hard" type stories, urging us to take a leaf out of the Italians' commendably laid back book. When that suddenly happens, our gloriously inconsistent media reverts to its "we're never as prepared for a crisis as the Europeans" line, although that didn't stop last night's news reports veering wildly between both the "nation in grip of collapse" and "nation enjoys the snow" lines.

And where would the BBC and Sky be without the snow? Suddenly they found a use for all those regional reporters in the north and east. Wonderfully, they could fill their schedules with cheap domestic reportage instead of the expensive foreign kind. An average of 20 minutes was spent by the Beeb in its top of the hour news bulletins on the weather alone. A God-send, truly.

We already know we shouldn't believe anything we read in the newspapers. We should also steer well clear of taking TV analysis as gospel as well - but then we did know that, didn't we?
[Teachers wander away from their empty school, disappointed that pupils prefer snow to lessons]

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