Seattle Heat Wave Sparks Local Weather Guru to Attack Stations

By Andrew Gauthier 

Cliff Mass, a University of Washington atmospheric sciences professor, ruffled some feathers last week when he blogged about two Seattle newsmen and their penchant for exaggeration. On Aug. 18th, Mass posted a rant about NBC-affiliate KING-5 News’ sensationalist tactics, and tagged the station’s chief meteorologist Jeff Renner, and reporter Jim Forman, as the worst offenders.

“All the TV stations do it, but none are better at it than KING-5… First the news anchors broach the topic, with tremulous voices asking the question–will a dangerous heat wave hit the region the next day? Then they turn to a smiling, yet serious, Jeff Renner who provides a knowing, sympathetic, nod of agreement…And KING has the top weather scarester in the country…Jim Forman. If nothing threatening is going on… no problem…he will describe the terrible events that will certainly happen to the unprepared. And he always shows people desperately buying emergency supplies in convenience stores and supermarkets. I mean…this guy has a winning formula.”

The next day, Mass explained himself:

“Sometime, perhaps after a few glasses of wine, I might blog about the TV weathercasters of our area, but the bottom line will be fairly unexciting…we have unusually good tv weather people in this market.”

When Mass appeared on KING-5 on Wednesday to comment on the weather, KING’s news director told Seattle Weekly that Mass is “the bomb.”