Gee! It’s winter and it’s snowing — really a surprise?

just don’t get it. Weathermen or women on almost every news channel: “The snow started coming down two hours ago, and you can see that it is still snowing heavily. We’re expecting more snow today and tonight possible, and cars will be skidding, people will be shoveling, snowplows will be plowing the streets and putting down salt and grit.” Let’s cut to the video of the truck spreading brown grains — now let’s cut to the woman shoveling her pathway — now let’s cut to the intrepid reporter, standing under a streetlight, all bundled up against the winter cold, snow gently falling with or without wind. “Well, John, what’s it like out there?”

Oh, for heaven’s sake. It is snowing, get over it. This is not news. OK, perhaps for people in Hawaii this is entertainment, but even for them images and commentary from a snowy street is not news. Nor are images of cars bumping into each other on icy streets. 

Nor are images of a snowplow spraying a pedestrian on the sidewalk with slush. In the time it takes the news media to show you all this nonsense, they miss or avoid showing you real news of people at war around the world, people inventing new devices that will change your life, medical breakthroughs, political discussions of merit, global economic issues that will change your life and, never least, explain real dangers that may be brewing.

What real dangers? Let’s take one small example. While we were all being amused with winter and bad weather TV images in late 2014 and early 2015, Ebola was beginning to ravage West Africa. All through the winter you heard almost nothing. 

What, you think the newsrooms didn’t have access to that information? They did, but what they were waiting for was an American angle — and when there was one, it became headline news, even though all through the winter, through all the pretty images of snowflakes falling, they knew and did not think it was worth showing you. In other words, your fascination with the non-news pretty images of snow falling and an “intrepid reporter” shivering under those flakes was more important to your entertainment than the real news.

So, who is to blame? Since when did a report of weather that has already happened or is happening become so much news? The weather report used to be about what was expected, not what has already arrived, what you can see out the window. If you are curious about Aunt Betty in Iowa, what her weather is like, see it on the Internet. Honestly, I don’t care at all if it is snowing in Chicago unless I personally have a reason to — and then I can get personal updates on the Internet. I really do not need the main evening news telling me that “today it snowed heavily in Chicago.” Yeah, so what? It’s over. Was there something there that was important to me on a national scale?

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And think about this … if the Flint lead water issue cropped up in winter … oh, no, wait, it did in January 2011 and no one covered it (it was public knowledge back then that the anti-corrosion treatment was needed) and again in late winter 2014 they changed to the Flint River as a source — and they knew in the newsrooms there was problem with contaminated water. 

But it wasn’t “newsworthy” enough yet, so you got more pictures of falling snowflakes while lead poisoned children’s brains forever.

In the wonderful movie “Spotlight” there’s a theme in the movie. The church and lawyers all knew, true. But importantly, all the news people knew priests were molesting children and the church was covering it up, but they didn’t expose the truth until it became an overwhelming story. 

Their culpability was based on the paper’s need to maintain readership, advertising revenue and that meant entertainment. More baseball, more trivia dressed up as news, all while the real news story was fermenting and real children were being harmed. 

Pretty snowflakes on TV are like that. They cover up the responsibility we all have to learn the news early, when we can do something about it. Telling us there is a run-away Ebola crisis is less useful than telling us there could be one coming, when we can do something to prevent it. It’s like weather forecasting instead of weather reporting. 

Tell me what is coming, not what is already here. One is useful, one is a waste of my time, pretty snowflakes and all.

Peter Riva, a former resident of Amenia Union, now lives in New Mexico.