The Man Who Wasn't There

Bill Johnson doesn't let the truth get in the way of a good story.

Still, the science spotlighted in The Colorado Weather Book is not nearly as precise as is implied in Channel 9's latest weather commercial, in which the outlet's forecasting team makes it snow only over the home of a little boy wishing for a white Christmas. Like his peers, Channel 9's Nelson seldom hedges his bets with phrases such as, "We predict..." or "Our best guess is...," so when the couple of inches of snow he told viewers of the 10 p.m. December 1 newscast to expect upon waking never arrived, he was left with some explaining to do. During the 5 p.m. broadcast on December 2 (the day before a sizable storm actually hit the area), he stepped up to the plate, more or less, by jokingly telling anchor Adele Arakawa that he'd done the folks who'd gotten up early for no reason a favor by ensuring that they got to work on time and giving them an extra few minutes to read the paper or play with their kids.

Betcha can picture the marketing campaign now: "Better weather through inaccuracy."


Brian Stauffer

Talk about selective memory: Shortly after the April 20 shootings at Columbine High School, TV newscasts, newspapers and magazines were filled with stories about how athlete worship at the school had alienated a significant number of teens there, including, most infamously, killers Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold. But during the playoff run of Columbine's football squad, the issue was all but forgotten. With the notable exception of "Columbine: Cheers and Echoes: Football's triumphs evoke darker issues," an intelligent and well-balanced article by reporters Peggy Lowe and Evan Dreyer that ran on the December 3 cover of the Denver Post, the vast majority of mainstream-media pieces have been one-dimensional tales implying that the team's success had united the entire student body in a glow of accomplishment and pure joy -- goths and other outsiders presumably included. The situation was only exacerbated on December 4, when Columbine won the state 5A football championship. For instance, Katie Couric's interview with winning coach Andy Lowry on the December 6 Today show focused almost entirely on the notion that the kids -- all the kids -- finally have something to celebrate. In other words, jockocracy rules, and anyone who doesn't like it (or doesn't care) should quit moping and start shaking some pom-poms. The more things change, the more they stay the same.

Have comments, tips or complaints about the media? E-mail "The Message" at Michael_Roberts@westword.com.

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