There are run-of-the-mill crises, like Brian Williams lying, Bill Cosby sexually assaulting women, ISIS marauding across the Middle East and human-driven climate change destroying the environment.
But there is one overriding, super, mega, un-ending crisis in America today: Winter.
The usual crisis management techniques have no effect, bouncing off this juggernaut like sleet off a windshield, like tires on black ice, like a snow plow off parked cars on a snow-clogged street.
Telling the truth about 13 below just makes it worse. Taking responsibility for 35-below wind-chill [or, “Real-Feel”] readings just seems to freeze the soul all the more.
Boston’s record-breaking snow is, well, wintry. The mayor warned people not to jump out of their windows into snow banks. Glad he got the word out on that.
And look at the calendar. We’re in mid-February. This crisis could go on until … April, or even May. Ghastly.
As with most crises, this one is exacerbated by the media, especially TV, which now apparently feels it needs to place its correspondents in excessive weather so they can be blown and pummeled about on camera. Oh, and do have them grow a post-hurricane-season beard for ice and snow to cling to — more dramatic.
How serious, how life-changing is this crisis? TV weather people who once had 60 seconds of air time to tell us Northeasterners that it was winter outside for another day, replete with ice, low temperatures and snow, are now given five minutes or more per broadcast. That way they can prattle on about what we can all see out our windows and feel on our exposed skin, all the while promoting their exclusive, over-the-horizon super-duper Ch. 2, 4, 5, 6, 7 or 9 radar.
This is a near impenetrable crisis. Personally, I’m glad the National Weather Service hasn’t called me to help advise it on how to handle this shocking annual event.
It actually seems like the extreme weather movie The Day After Tomorrow is playing outside the homes of 100 million Americans each morning and evening.
Will this crisis ever end? Can’t we find someone to blame? Can’t we get someone to own up to this beat down and flick off the misery switch?
When will a minor crisis like March Madness arrive so we can escape this torture?
The content of this blog is about crisis management and mismanagement in a digital age. It originates with Steve Bell, who spent 30 years as a journalist for the Associated Press and in four top editor positions at The Buffalo News. He is now Partner/Director of Public Affairs and Crisis and Reputation Management at Eric Mower + Associates, one of the nation’s largest independent advertising, integrated marketing and public relations agencies, with eight offices in the East. Learn more about EMA at mowerpr.com/crisisready. Steve’s blog is based on his own opinions and does not represent the views or positions of Eric Mower + Associates.