First fake news ... and now fake weather

HOUSTON - "Fake news", has been the top story for a number of weeks.

In the weather last week, a fake weather forecast by a "Facebook weather forecaster", sent Atlanta running for the stores. This was a legitimately made-up fantasy by an enthusiast, calling for a blizzard, with exact expected snowfall amounts over a week before it was supposed to hit. People believed him without verifying with credible sources. His effort to create a buzz worked. It went viral.* [See my thoughts about 'viral' at the end of this blog.]

Ultimately, Atlanta saw only a brief coating of snow on the grass, with a little freezing rain on the trees. There was no blizzard, but school was closed for several days. It was nothing they haven't seen before. Not only did people spend extra money prepping for a cold week, but *actual* TV meteorologists spent their day dispelling these blizzard rumors, which took away from their time to make a real forecast. This hysteria spread across the southeast and we learned that in a zombie apocalypse, bread will be traded like gold.

But, this fake weather isn't anything new. Since the dawn of humankind there have been, "Chicken Little" types telling us the sky is falling. Some of the earliest printed newspapers were tabloid.

Fake forecasters like this probably do it for many reasons related to personal validation and overall acknowledgement. But, who knows... Regardless, this is where you come in: As the consumer of news and weather, make sure you know what you're buying. Get info from only trusted, accountable news sources like KHOU 11. We may not get it 100% right all the time, but at least our hearts are in the right place in trying to get the info to you.

-Brooks
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*Why do we say, "viral", when describing something that spreads like the plague? Isn't that a negative connotation?  We need a more positive word. Something farther from 'pandemic' and closer to 'puppy.' Maybe since catchy posts are shared exponentially, we should say they've gone, "expo." Catchy, right?

(© 2017 KHOU)


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