Groundhog Day

Groundhog Day By Ryan Robinson

Photo by  Cheryl Ellen Pratt

Photo by Cheryl Ellen Pratt

Before I begin, I should note that if you didn’t realize that Groundhog Day just passed, we are “going to have” 6 more weeks of winter. Now, why is “going to have” in quotes? Because it sounds like a fact, but it’s not. It’s an annual ritual where there’s a groundhog in a stump, people take him out. If he sees his shadow it means one thing, and if he doesn’t than it’s the other thing.

Sounds simple if we were talking about the President of The United States, since we have only one. But there’s a whole lot of groundhogs around with Wikipedia’s entry for Groundhog Day listing the results of over a dozen. It’s not just groundhogs in different states or countries disagreeing, even regional groundhogs offer different opinions.

This brings me back to the quotes, I use them because I may not necessarily believe what I am repeating. I have not interviewed all the groundhogs or done research on them, their past, and any personal agenda’s they may have. This might make me slightly different from many American’s who have a tendency for brand loyalty. We have a brand we like and we stick to, but it might not be such a good thing when it comes to news stories.

Take the example of a weather report. A winter storm is going to hit Oakland, NJ. Some people might go, Oh my gosh! Run and get shovels, get salt, cancel my appointments, etc, etc, etc. On the other hand, I would want to know more right away. Weather people tend to get hysterical about everything. I might seek out some sources with less personality like NOAA, The Weather Channel or Weather Underground and see what they say. From there, I can take all of that information and make my own conclusion; kind of being my own weatherman. I could be right and my research would have been helpful. However, maybe the original source was correct and I did all of that extra work for nothing.

My point so far is that people need to listen to a lot of groundhogs to be sure their information is correct. Maybe when the news says “Blizzard” they only mean 4 inches. Maybe when the mainstream media groundhogs say Bush or Obama did this, that, and the other thing, we need to listen to a variety of the groundhogs – each of whom has their own agenda. Everyone has an agenda, and everyone has an opinion, the key is to listen to a bunch of different voices before forming your own.

Now, the title is Groundhog Day. So, here is a video of the Groundhog coming out of the stump in Punxsutawney, PA with coverage from Fox News. This groundhog in PA is claiming six more weeks of winter, although in Staten Island we’re due for an earlier Spring. The agenda of the FOX news reporter is to get you to watch the whole report, so he leaves some important information till the very end. I’ll ruin it for him and tell you now, Phil the groudhog is only right 39% of the time. If I got those grades in school, no one would want to put me on television and hear my opinions about the weather.