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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.

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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.

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