Friday, November 16, 2007

C'mon back. C'mon back. C'mon [PRANG] ... OK, that's good

Today's reminder of the virtues of sticking to the empirical world:

Rain follows Capitol prayer
Precipitation with storms not enough to make dent in drought
... The showers began a day after Gov. Sonny Perdue led a prayer service on the steps of the state Capitol to beg the heavens to end the drought.

"Certainly, we're not gloating about it," Perdue said from a trade mission in Canada. "We're thankful for the rain and hopefully it's the beginning of more. ...Frankly, it's great affirmation of what we asked for."

Well, thanks for giving credit where it's due there, governor. (Even though, as the lede notes, "forecasters said the storm likely did little to ease the state's historic drought.") But did you give any thought to what might happen if the cosmic aim was a little off?

...Storms hit elsewhere in the Southeast, injuring at least nine in Tennessee.

In Kentucky, a tornado hit a rural stretch of the southeastern part of the state Wednesday afternoon.


Hello, neighbor!

Admittedly, that's a pretty U.S.-centric view of things. The unintended consequences of Governor Perdue's thoughtless act could have landed a dozen time zones away -- where, judging from today's reports, they could have done without the help.

The technical journalistic term for the hed is "cherry-picking." Sure, rain followed the Capitol prayer. But -- just going from the first chapter in this new edition of "News Reporting and Writing"* that showed up the other day -- either "Tornado follows Capitol prayer" or "Cyclone kills hundreds following Capitol prayer" would have been a better reflection of standard news values.

Is there a lesson? Sure. Leave the supernatural (all of it, without discrimination) off the news pages. We have our hands full with the doings of God's creatures great and small.

* Yes, the Missouri Group still has trouble with the concept of "dangling participle."

2 Comments:

Blogger Hal said...

You forgot the best part. It was originally forecast to rain the actual day of the prayer services, and completely failed to for almost 24 hours after.

6:54 PM, November 25, 2007  
Blogger Tatarize said...

It was hardly fulfilled prayers as it was the weather channel predicting some rain and the Gov rushing out to pray for it. Really? Praying for rain when science has used it's magic ability to foresee the future. One might as well pray that winter comes on the 20st of December.

12:34 AM, November 26, 2007  

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