The Partisan Eclipse

The Partisan Eclipse


Leonard Zwelling

This blog has regularly taken the position that local weather conditions are not national news and have no place on nightly news reports of the major networks. Why do floods in California matter to me? How does that information influence my daily decisions? Am I supposed to pray for the victims? Am I supposed to feel blessed that I was spared? I don’t know. Ditto snow storms in the upper Midwest or even floods in Houston. Floods here are our problem and our local media does a bang-up job of salivating with every new storm cloud. Local weather people cannot get enough of bad news. The only thing that causes more excitement in the local newsroom is a traffic pile-up or a school shooting. When it comes to local news, if it bleeds, it leads.

That being said, the total solar eclipse that the nation just experienced might be considered an exception to the local weather does not equal national news rule. Lots of people in the US saw no blockage of the sun, but for those who did, it was a major event. However, I never thought a natural phenomenon would be a partisan political issue until I watched Fox just before the eclipse passed over Houston.

The panel of talking heads on the conservative outlet was bad mouthing the utter excitement of the majority of national news stations who were jumping up and down over the eclipse. I thought these Fox folks are just too cynical. An eclipse is rare. Why not get excited—a bit?

Then I saw the actual coverage of the eclipse that evening. The Fox people had a point.

The mechanism of a solar eclipse has been understood for centuries and they happen every now and then. It is always a glorious show if you are in the right spot and have your free viewing glasses on hand. We were lucky in Houston in that right at 1:40 PM Monday we got a small break in the dense cloud cover and the eclipse could be seen.

Now that’s interesting, but it is not a transformative event in which the entire population of a small town plus thousands of visitors sing kumbayah together or hundreds of couples get married in the dark. What the heck is that? When did a solar eclipse become woke?

On view for all the world to see on NBC news was the dream of the liberal left that a predicted natural phenomenon could magically bring people together and recreate the spirit of Woodstock. It’s an eclipse for goodness sake not a mass acid trip. The Fox skepticism may have been well placed and perhaps that’s the difference between Fox and MSNBC. The Fox team is skeptical and cynical about everything except Donald Trump where the MSNBC team finds joy in nature except for Donald Trump.

Just say for me, if the children safely viewing the eclipse gained a greater understanding of our natural world, that’s a good thing. However, four minutes of darkness did not transform the world into a happy place where we can all get along.

What was amazing was the politicization of nature by both Fox and NBC. No amount of my imagination could have eclipsed that.

Perhaps the moon blocked the light on our rational thinking.

However, if you want a natural occurrence that can bring us together, how about the northeast earthquake? That was not predicted and shook the ground literally. Oh wait. That’s local weather.

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