The *Weather* Channel Confuses Mission, Runs Absurdly Alarmist Story on Oil Trains

by William Yeatman on December 9, 2014

in Blog

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:

weather channel

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.

my2sense December 9, 2014 at 1:26 pm

I couldn’t agree more! – I never ck the WC for the forecast any more. Used to be all weather all the time – no more! If I didn’t have a computer I’d never know the forecast

Paul December 10, 2014 at 11:15 am

Sorry. I had the opposite reaction to the story and video on the Weather Channel.

I was glad to learn about the decrepid state of our rail system and the use of innappropriate tank cars for use in transporting explosive oil.

Perhaps more Americans will realize that there is a price to pay for cheap gas. Perhaps we’ll realize that the destruction of our natural resources for a few more years of cheap oil through fracking is not in the best interests of the entire planet.

Sharon December 12, 2014 at 5:37 am

I turned off WC over a year ago because of the horrific (in my opinion) non-weather related stories. Stick to just the weather WC and maybe I’ll come back.

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