Publish date:

National media's polar vortex coverage neglects Minnesota

Most of the focus has been on Chicago, where it was actually warmer.

If you consumed nothing but national media this week, you'd be forgiven for thinking that Chicago was the only place to experience it.

That's because this week's plunging temperatures have reinforced the old adage that extreme weather matters less when it doesn't involved New York/Chicago/Boston/Los Angeles.

We wouldn't mind, except that it was considerably colder in the Twin Cities than it was in Chicago, and even more so in cities north and west of the metro area.

But you wouldn't know it by reading this NBC piece "Polar vortex brings Chicago to a standstill: 'It's our own natural disaster,' or this article by the Guardian, which focuses mostly on Chicago only to briefly note that, hey, one of the coldest places was actually Minnesota.

Oh, and Chicago got its own separate piece in the Guardian about how they're making "the best of life" in the cold, while the UK-based BBC also heavily featured Chicago, with two quick mentions of Minnesota.

Over at CNN, its round-up on the vortex features an entire section on the "frost-quakes" reported in Chicago, as well as residents in Michigan being asked to turn their thermostats down (something that happened in Minnesota too).

Minnesota is mentioned once, in the line: "Storm-related deaths were also reported in Illinois, Minnesota, Indiana and Wisconsin, authorities said."

Seriously, check out this CNN weather report that literally shows colder temperatures in Minnesota, yet the meteorologist focuses pretty much entirely on Chicago.

This Chicago bias hasn't gone unnoticed on the Minnesota sub-reddit, where Minnesotans have been having some fun with media memes.

There are some honorable exceptions to the rule. This New York Times piece for example, while Chicago focused, does make some effort to reference some of the impacts of the vortex on jail visits and frostbite admissions in Minnesota.

NPR as well gave a few shoutouts to Minnesota's response to the weather, not least Gov. Tim Walz's decision not to announce statewide school closures, while the Wall Street Journal had a reporter in northern Minnesota.

Sign up: Subscribe to our BREAKING WEATHER newsletters

Maybe the reason Minnesota doesn't get as much focus is because we get cold weather more often and just handle it much better.

You didn't see MSP Airport cancelling 1,600 flights like they did in the rather-warmer Chicago. Likewise, Wisconsin, Michigan and Illinois all declared states of emergency in response to the cold. Minnesota? We can deal with it.

But if you think the coverage has been tunnel-vision so far, the Polar Vortex is now making its way east, and we all know what happens when the East Coast gets extreme weather.

Prepare for disproportionate national coverage of the "dangerous" wind chills of 10-20 below that are afflicting Boston today.

Next Up

Kirk Cousins

Kirk Cousins makes big donation to Vikings' social justice committee

The committee works on issues such as criminal justice reform, education and voter registration.

Meghan Roth Go Fund Me

Accomplished MN runner goes into cardiac arrest during Boston Marathon

Other racers jumped in to give the 34-year-old mother CPR, saving her life.

Flickr - Winston Smith memorial uptown June 4 - Chad Davis

Review reveals body cam video from aftermath of Winston Smith shooting

While no video of the shooting exists, an officer captured some video immediately afterward.

classroom mask

Parents object to Minneapolis Schools' 14-day COVID exposure quarantines

Other Twin Cities school districts do not have quarantine protocols quite as strict as in Minneapolis.

Pixabay - police lights, tape

Good Samaritan has car stolen while tending to man stabbed in neck

The thief then ran into the good Samaritan while driving off.

Screen Shot 2021-10-13 at 3.17.46 PM

Minnesota family learns their baby has extremely rare, fatal disease

The baby's mother is hoping to provide her son with the best life possible.

unsplash - water close-up

Sheriff: Human jaw bone found near Staples is 'ancient,' not recent

It was one of four bones found by a group of people over the summer.

Fargo sex offender grinder - north dakota site

Police: Armed sex offender wanders into 2 Fargo homes

Nobody was injured and the man was eventually located via a GPS ankle monitor.

Xcel Energy Center

Wild season opener Friday night isn't on regular TV

Friday's game is one of five games that will be streamed this season.

polar bear como zoo

Young polar bear joining the celebration at Como Zoo

The bear is part of a new Burr on Fur program that will help wild polar bears.


Jim Gaffigan, Jeff Foxworthy recording MN shows for Netflix

The streaming giant will film their upcoming performances for future stand-up specials.

Giant Beaver fossil

Minnesotans vote for giant beaver to become official state fossil

The Science Museum held a vote, which the extinct, 200-pound beaver won.


Watch: Minnesota comedian's Polar Vortex report goes viral

Rob Fairbanks has a knack for making weather reports go viral.

cold winter weather

Chance of snow later this week followed by chunk of polar vortex

That uphill walk to and from school will be a bear.

Notorious hedge fund buys Minnesota media group and its 11 newspapers

Alden Global Capital has been referred to as a hedge fund "vampire."

Twin Cities improv troupe gets praise in national magazine

HUGE Theater has been entertaining audiences since 2005.