Monday, May 26, 2008

Redneck Nation

If a force of nature that could destroy your house and rip you into pieces was barreling toward you, wouldn't you want to know?

If the tornado sirens in your neighborhood had been going off for the past 2 hours, wouldn't you want the option of being able to turn on the TV to find out just, where, exactly, this tornado might be located? And headed?

I would answer a resounding yes to those questions, especially after yesterday when we had several tornadoes rip through the area. Our house escaped unscathed, but two of our friends, who live in Hugo, were not so lucky. The back window of one of their cars was blown out, and the siding on their house suffered significant damage due to the hail and winds. Fortunately, they were out of the area at the time, and so did not actually have to live through it.

Being from California, I have yet to get used to tornadoes. Some of the natives here will stand outside with video cameras until the thing is so close they can practically reach out and touch it. Not me. I run downstairs to the basement at the first hint of a green sky, and I stay there glued to the TV (assuming the storm hasn't knocked out the power) until I can see the sun again.

So yesterday, as I'm honoring my severe weather tradition, I am flipping through the TV stations to decide which one has the best coverage. As I'm doing this, I happen to land on Fox News. I never watch Fox News on principle, but the weatherman was saying something as I was cruising by that made me pause for a moment to figure out what was going on.

He was apologizing. Because the station had to interrupt it's regularly scheduled coverage to tell people that there were tornadoes on the ground. And by interrupt, I mean they had moved to a split screen format, so you could still see what had originally been scheduled to air at this time. You couldn't hear it, but you could see it. Apparently, however, that wasn't good enough for many viewers, because the weatherman was making repeated references to all the complaint calls the station was getting for interrupting their regularly scheduled programming for something as mundane as a tornado warning. Keep in mind, these storms went on to kill people. So it's not like all the news stations went into "Stormwatch 2008" mode for half an inch of rain. This was serious business.

What was their regularly scheduled programming, you might ask? NASCAR. A NASCAR race. And the race hadn't even started yet. It was all the pre-race coverage. I don't know about you, but I'd much rather know if a tornado is about to destroy my house than watch a video montage of a smiling Dale Earnhardt Jr.

I'm sure the parents of the child who was killed yesterday really felt bad that NASCAR fans' race viewing time was interrupted. Or the people who are still in the hospital, or those that woke up this morning in shelters because their homes were destroyed yesterday. I mean, what was Fox News thinking? Interrupting NASCAR to alert people of impending, life-altering destruction? Sacrilege!

But I guess nothing comes between a redneck and NASCAR. Not even a tornado or the safety of others.


Mrs. Schmitty said...

Of course they wanted to watch NASCAR, they were feeling all safe in their tornado shelter. Copy and paste this link to understand why:,04,2006&h=307&w=410&sz=27&hl=en&start=7&um=1&tbnid=b1mXUwdtWpGk9M:&tbnh=94&tbnw=125&prev=/images%3Fq%3Dredneck%2Btornado%2Bwarning%26um%3D1%26hl%3Den%26rlz%3D1G1GGLQ_ENUS277%26sa%3DG

Colleen said...

I'm with you on this one. I would like to have information on the destructive tornado. Forget NASCAR! I know that NASCAR fans are very devoted, but give me a break! When there's an earthquake here, I expect to be able to turn on the news & find out all of the details. Where was it centered, how big was it, did anybody die or get hurt, are freeways collapsing? What's so different about a tornado? Shouldn't people (even NASCAR fans) want to know what's going on? Maybe the tornado has wiped out their brain cells!

Jeff said...

Oh nice.

I wouldn't watch Fox News in the first place so it probably wouldn't have mattered much to me. In the event of bad weather I always turn on local TV because it's more accurate.

Mrs. R said...

Mrs. Schmitty: I think the link got cut off!

Colleen: NASCAR fans are definitely their own breed. What's funny is that one of the towns that was hit has the reputation of being largely populated by...uh, well, those who are a little rough around the edges. Hubby joked that they were probably the ones calling in to complain, as the tornado is bearing down on them.

Jeff: Yeah, normally all things Fox are shunned in our house, but I just happened to be cruising through. Wish I could undo that one.

Carolee said...

Uh oh can we still be friends?:)
I LOVE Fox news and HATE CNN, they are the villain, hiss hiss.

Mrs. R said...

Carolee: Yes, we can still be friends. If it makes you feel better, CNN is banned too--actually, I refuse to get my news from any broadcast media. It just comes from having worked in the field. I prefer reading the news on the Web sites of several major newspapers. It's not perfectly accurate, but it's better than what you'll get on TV.