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Media: Please watch how you describe a big snowfall

Every year, about this time, we get one or two (or three, or four) big, heavy, wet snowfalls. And every time we do, journalists, meteorologists and/or people in the media use the ugly and horrible descriptor “heart attack snow” to describe the event.

I call on those in the media to stop using this phrase.

Heart disease is the No. 1 killer in the United States. Which means it affects real people every single day — including the former mayor of Minneapolis. It should be not used as a throwaway phrase in a weather forecast.

We would not say “homeless person killer” when describing a really cold day. Nor “trailer park destroyer” when describing a tornado. Nor we would call a really sunny day a “skin cancer day.” Because those would be insensitive, of course. But somehow “heart attack snow” — which is just as ugly and insensitive — is perfectly OK.

Sure this is a small thing, but little acts of empathy are never a bad idea. So maybe next time there is a big, heavy, wet snow, people in the media should just say, “heavy, wet snow today, be careful shoveling out there.”

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Comments (1)

  1. Submitted by Todd Hintz on 02/27/2014 - 05:09 pm.


    I have to admit that I can be obtuse at times, but I’m having a real hard time equating a heart attack snow with being insensitive. I think calling a heavy wet snow a heart attack snow is very apt as it conveys in just a few short words what can happen to you if you don’t take it easy. Beyond that it’s not making any commentary at all on people who do indeed have heart attacks or at risk of having one.

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