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Fact: That water is 20 degrees!

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Jan 16, 2009 7:16 pm

Thurday afternoon, as I waited patiently for CNBC to go back to the live shot of Bernie Madoff’s apartment building some yahoo crash landed his jet in the Hudson River. You know, the guy had the typical “It’s not my fault, I hit a bird” story that wayward pilots pull out of their hip pocket in such situations. Yeah, blame it on the geese- isn’t always the way?

  Seriously, CNBC was on in my office when this story broke. Live drama on TV. And i found a useful lesson in the coverage of the story. The talking heads at CNBC, specifically Maria money honey Batiromo, keep dramtically telling us that the water in the river was 20 degree. WOW! That's cold! Deadliest Catch cold! Of course I was perplexed. First, at 20 degrees why water and not ice? Even ocean water freezes at between 25 and 28 degrees and this wasn't ocean water. Brackish at worst, but more fresh water considering the location and tidal flow.  Add to that, that the Dolphin watch going on over on the Shrewsbury River, about 8 or 9 miles away and connected to the same bay as the Hudson, the water temp was mid thirties. Hmmm? Could Maria have that temp wrong?   Obviously the water temp wasn't 20 degrees. The air temp was 21 degrees and the water some where in the low to mid thirties. Cold enough to kill most people in minutes. So, either they mixed up the air and water temps, getting both completely wrong, or for dramatic effect they decided that 20 degree water made a more compelling story than did 35 degree water. The point is this is a very visual example of why you can't believe anything these people say. Obviously bartiromo is smart enough to know basic chemistry when it comes to frozen water. Still, time after time she mezmorized us with her OMG reporting style telling us that that water was only 20 degrees.   Ok, this time we've got her dead to rights. Grossly inaccurate reporting pumped up for dramatic effect. What about her reporting today? What facts has she got wrong today? What fact is she embellishing today? Most of us in the biz know better than to take what she or any of the talking heads say seriously. But your clients don't. They listen. They believe that the Hudson River is the only waterway in the world where water doesn't freeze when it should. And why wouldn't they- they heard it on TV.   Of course then again it is the Hudson!
Jan 16, 2009 10:11 pm

Ferris, you didn’t like my Float like a butterfly stuff? And though it’s filled with my usual typos, poor grammer, and misspellings I think this current post makes a good point. The talking heads are not a reliable source. I know you know that but our clients don’t. So next time someone starts in with what they heard on CNBC tell’em about how water doesn’t freeze. And as a side note, good thing that water wasn’t frozen as the outcome would be much different.