Polar Vortex gets media massage – delicious left-wing/right wing debate

Breaking News. Limbaugh’s argument freezes on contact! 

I have to admit the term Polar Vortex at first sounded a bit of verbosity aimed at making a big story out of a weather phenomenon.

But I did look it up, and find that for once, it is not one of those media marquees trotted out by a TV station’s graphics department.

But it turned out to be a delicious controversy, when good old Rush Limbaugh stuck his tongue out at the equivalent of a frigid lamp-post.  I first picked up the detail in the Discussion Pages of Wikipedia. One Charles Edwin, a Wikipedia editor (biting his tongue, no doubt) left this terse note in the Talk Pages:

“a lot about the media frenzy. Rush Limbaugh, like others, say they remember cold winters and walking to school in massive snow, uphill, both ways. 🙂 Rush Limbaugh is a student of global weather and expects there may be a three-day gap in the cold for Superbowl Sunday.”

Limbaugh called the term something invented by the left-wing media. Predictably so, since Limbaugh makes everything sound like a conspiracy, since that is the jet fuel which powers his craft. Here’s what he said on Monday.

“Now, in their attempt, the left, the media, everybody, to come up with a way to make this sound like it’s something new and completely unprecedented, they’ve come up with this phrase called the “polar vortex.”

To which weatherman Al Roker, threw a nice counterpunch, by revealing and reading from a 1959 college text-book that had the term Polar Vortex defined.

Sometimes these silly spats teach us something, especially about speaking out of turn –with poor facts.

Now if you’re wondering why I would be interested in this the Vortex debate it’s this. I just got back to school today, and as is normal, interrupted my lesson plan to get my fifth- and sixth-grade students to do a project on the Polar Vortex. 

As I used to tell people when discussing social media and the oft-contested topic called the ‘wisdom of the crowds,’ poking around the talk pages can take you to down some interesting paths.

The Google t(r)ail you leave behind

It’s not just the attack ads that affect your reputation. It’s also the sum of the comments and hyperlinks Google’s elephant memory leaves there for posterity.

Motrin Moms – the backlash

ABC network’s slant –why 12,300 comments matter

Rush Limbaugh‘s attack on Michael J. Fox – bad Google junce from 2006

These are brand-names, but you and I could also take steps –pre-emptive ones– to avoid the whiplash of the long tail.