It was an unpleasant shock this morning when The Weather Channel – The Weather Channel – broke into its regularly scheduled reporting of, well, “weather,” to take viewers to the Obama signing of the House health care “reform” package.
There is nothing conceivable to make of this programming decision, other than that the TWC executives consider the Obamacare legislation so historic-n-epic that even The Weather Channel, which has no charter to bring viewers such non-weather-related coverage, would be doing its audience a service by getting in on the act.
It’s not like viewers had no other options for watching the ceremony. Just through my cable service, I get 11 other channels on which the signing ceremony was being broadcast. Three of them are NBC Universal properties, which TWC is as well, since the 2008 buyout.
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Seriously, why was a domestic political signing ceremony being broadcast on The Weather Channel? I don’t remember that kind of coverage being accorded the political events after 9/11, even though that was arguably a much bigger single episode in America’s national life. A bill signing ceremony has nothing to do with weather. Any connection with weather is tenuous to a degree of absurdity – unlike, for example, TWC focusing on how weather was affecting relief efforts in Haiti after the earthquake, or how weather was affecting the post-9/11 recovery and clean-up efforts in Manhattan. Even weather’s effect on a presidential inauguration establishes a connection that meets the common-sense test. Weather does affect such activities, as it does big sporting events and military operations overseas. There’s some “hook” for involving TWC in coverage.
But an indoor signing ceremony in Washington, DC? We’re not, after all, talking about a segment predicting the weather for the signing ceremony. We’re talking about running live coverage of it, on a TV channel where such coverage has no purpose conceivably related to the channel’s charter, as understood by the viewers.