Upon noticing that it was raining this morning, I checked The Weather Channel’s website. Lo and behold, there’s a banner ad atop the TWC’s front page, reading: “The dark secret behind low oil and gas prices.” And at the bottom left of the page, there’s a thumbnail, which reads, “The Dark Side to Your Cheap Gas.”
I’ve reposted a screenshot of the website, so you can see for yourself:
Of course I clicked through, and the result was remarkable. It’s a TWC story titled, “Boom: North America’s Explosive Oil-by-Rail Problem.” It features a video, whose opening image—a derailed oil train—is frozen across much of the screen. Because The Weather Channel evidently knows no subtlety, this video with its arresting still representation is only the foreground to an enormous, screen-wide background composed of a looping GIF depicting an oil train aflame at night. Tucked away at the very bottom of the page—you have to scroll down past yellow titles and pictures of derailed/burning trains for some time—there’s a breathless investigative report matching the attendant imagery in tone.
All told, it was strange detour from the weather. One would think: ‘With a name like The Weather Channel, there’s not much room for non-weather topics.’ But you’d be wrong, alas. In addition to climate change, TWC’s purview extends all the way to…the safety of America’s energy infrastructure. Makes no sense to me.