Shame File of the Day: SMH headline is pure bafflegab about “Supermoon”

Here’s the headline:

Super moon to bring wild weather to Sydney

Screencap of Sydney Morning Herald headline: Super moon to bring wild weather to Sydney

Screencap of SMH headline quoted above

Oh no it didn’t. That is pure unmitigated utter bullshit. The lunar perigee has absolutely nothing to do with weather – if it did we’d be seeing an increase in wild weather events all over the planet, not just in the SMH’s part of the world, for these few days – all perigee means is slightly higher than normal tides. Those higher tides will exacerbate wave damage due to the strong winds, but the high tides didn’t bring the low pressure trough off the eastern coast of Australia.

The astronomer they quote even points out that the perigee moon will only bring slightly higher tides, and the article juxtaposes that quote with summaries of the Bureau of Meteorology’s bad weather alerts as if they had anything to do with each other.

That headline is a shoddy beat-up for clickbait, and the SMH ought to be ashamed.

Categories: education, media, Science

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9 replies

  1. Yeah, I saw that and *headdesked* too.


  2. It almost looks like an editor has smooshed together two articles which on their own would have been unobjectionable and then added the headline for the LULZ.

  3. It’s been updated to “Wild weather heading to Sydney” as of 9:30am.
    I am told in any event that local weather articles (at least those that deal with relatively extreme weather) are always top stories on news websites, sometimes by an order of magnitude, so you wouldn’t think much bait was needed.

  4. At least it isn’t leadershit I guess.

  5. The supermoon has given birth to monsters. Save us!

  6. I think that the headline writer saw the first line:
    “Heavy rain, damaging winds and high tides caused by a super moon”
    and parsed it as (heavy rain, damaging wind and high tides) caused by a super moon.

  7. I reckon they just saw an opportunity for a bizarre headline and ran with it. If I had my druthers every headline would either be an obscure pun or something outrageously weird, like, say, this other, equally deceptive, example: US TRIED TO BLOW UP THE MOON

  8. …the SMH ought to be ashamed.

    Really, I think that is a better description of the SMH at the moment. Given the state of the paper, they don’t need a crappy headline singled out to be ashamed of their work…

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