Thursday, November 24, 2016

Would Be Internet Weatherman Sets Wildfire To Increase Clickviews

Authorites accuse Johnny Mullins of setting a Kentucky wildfire
to bring attention to his weather-related social media.  
As I've noted earlier this month, the southeastern United States is plagued by dozens of wildfires that are taking advantage of a severe and deepening drought in that region.

Unfortunately, many of the wildfires have been started by arsonists.

It turns out that one of the wildfires was started by a would-be internet weatherman named Johnny Mullins who figured that starting a wildfire, and him reporting on it, would increase views on his Facebook page, says ArsTechnica.

According to ArsTechnica:

"According to Jenkins Police Chief James Stephens, the 21-year-old Mullins now faces a charge of second degree arson or setting a fire in Letcher County (Kentucky.) The chief told the Associated Press on Friday that Mullins said he started the fire he was charged with 'because he enjoyed the attention he got from the Facebook stuff.'"

Few, if any other online weather geeks and meteorologists would resort to something like starting a wildfire, but, as ArsTechnica points out, bad, dramatic or dangerous weather brings attention to meteorologists and weather geeks, including me. You get more viewers, more clicks, and increases TV ratings.

That leaves us feeling conflicted. Obviously, few people want to see death and destruction from severe weather. But to be honest, it's that very severe weather that helps bring meteorologists' and weather weenies their paychecks. It's ghoulish, to say the least.

I'm not sure what to do about it. Other than not setting wildfires to make people read our Facebook pages.  

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