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Stop stoking hysteria over a winter snowfall

It is refreshing to see a public official, namely Hamburg Town Highway Superintendent Tom Best, place the blame for the area’s newfound hysteria over a predicted few inches of snow where it belongs – on the media.

The problem with the local broadcast media is that their evening newscasts run from one and a half to two and a half hours and they have to have “news” to fill this time. Their weather reports are produced with the station’s ratings in mind. So as not to be outdone, their forecasts will include phrases such as: “possibility of,” “could see,” “not ruling out,” “a chance of,” etc. These phrases are used to overstress that something dire may occur.

And why are news cruisers sent out to places in Western New York in storms to record snowfall when travel advisories are in effect? Do we have to see another car in a snowbank, a jackknifed semi, that the Skyway is closed, trees and wires are down or long lines of traffic on the Thruway? We know that when there is a windstorm, we will see water breaking over Lakeshore Road at Hoak’s, and during a thaw, we will see ice floes passing under the Cazenovia Street bridge.

The media are also partly to blame for the notion that some drivers have that as soon as a snowflake lands on a road there should be a snowplow to remove it. If the broadcast media do not have real news to report, they should shorten their newscasts. Two inches of snow in March is no different than two inches of snow in any other winter month.

Paul S. Shanks

North Boston

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