Photo by Denis Smith

There was a major winter storm that, thankfully, missed us a few days ago but slammed states south of the Ohio River with record amounts of snowfall. But if nature can spare some areas and bury others, another tempest – this one of a political nature – is about to envelop millions of clueless Americans impaired by their addiction to and reliance on Fox News as their window for information about an unstable world.

Oh yes, Fox News.

Unlike those unfortunate souls from Texas to Virginia who were blindsided by the forces of nature, Fox News could be doing a genuine public service if its political storm forecasting was even a fraction as reliable as the Weather Channel for providing news of storms of a terrestrial nature.

But the evidence of reliable forecasting by Fox is not there, which comes as no surprise. Yet this tale about a fleeting experience with Fox News a few days back might serve as a harbinger for how we might expect that gathering political storm to hit those millions of clueless Fox bobbleheads soon with gale force velocity.

On Friday, my wife and I were hurtling north to avoid the huge snow and ice storm threatening a swath of states from Texas to the eastern seaboard. Worried by the radar images, we cut short our South Florida vacation, drove 13 hours to Tennessee, stopping for the night in a hotel in a mountain hamlet bisected by I-75 to rest up for the final leg. That segment included the Jellico Mountain region north of Knoxville, the highest elevation we would confront on our journey back to Ohio.

When I awakened on Saturday morning, hoping that we would find Jellico Mountain clear and have a relatively calm path on to Kentucky and Ohio, I turned on the tube as I was getting dressed for the day’s journey. In the background in our hotel room, we heard stories from both CNN and MSNBC about the developing storm we were trying to outpace as well as the gathering storm in Washington, where the special counsel as well as prosecutors in New York released more memoranda in court filings detailing alleged criminal conduct by the President of the United States.

Note to self: we had two storms to follow while in the mountains of Tennessee.

As we left the hotel room with the television reports of political and earthly storms still fresh in our ears, our heads filled with mental images of gigantic frontal systems of both the legal and weather variety on our minds. With thoughts about stormy weather ahead, we made our way down an empty first-floor corridor to the hotel’s breakfast area and immediately found a surprise.

In a room filled with chafing dishes piled high with scrambled eggs and sausage, sliced fruit and a variety of muffins, along with juices and urns of steaming coffee, there was not one soul to be found. The cavernous room was eerily silent, except for some electronic noise coming out of a television monitor mounted on a wall opposite all the food and beverage.

The electronic noise in that large breakfast area with no one to hear it, save us, was Fox News. How appropriate to find Fox chatter -the proverbial right-wing echo chamber – fittingly reverberating around an empty room with no one there to absorb the noise.

As we grabbed a hot cup of coffee and some eggs and sausage, I turned my head to see if I could make out the nature of the noise, er I mean discussion, on Fox.

Sentencing memos? Redacted text? Payoffs to porn stars? Felony violations of federal law? No, the subject was about the “Democratic Darling,” aka Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a 29-year-old New Yorker newly elected to Congress. After nearly two weeks on the road and 2,900 miles of sun and pool behind us, I wanted to get back in the loop and find out what the hell was going on with sentencing memos, prosecutors, and payoffs to porn stars.

But I should have known better. Instead of all of that, the new reality is about a so-called news outlet obsessing about the threat to national security posed by a Democratic Darling, a twenty-something who is deemed to be so much more important and newsworthy than a president who pays off porn stars, fires about half of the people he hires, and boasts about the positive interpersonal relations he has with strongmen like Vladimir Putin, Kim Jung-un, and Mohammed bin Salman.

As we were finishing our breakfast fare and coffee, two men walked into the breakfast area to get something to eat. From the looks of it, they were much more interested in what was in the chafing dishes, not in the noise that was coming from the monitor close to the area where they were sitting.

In trying to get ahead of a gathering storm as well as a political storm that is forming in the nation’s capital, this most interesting experience helped to prep me for a favorite, recurring event. Soon, it will be time to set the DVR to record the annual New Year’s Twilight Zone Marathon. If you want to find something that might provide an antidote to the zombie happenings that are broadcast from Fox News as an exercise for reportage, check out these classic episodes that you can watch in a few weeks as a way to exorcise any Fox demons that might have infiltrated your consciousness.

One more thing. If you’re wanting to find out information about gathering political storms, don’t rely on Fox. They’re more obsessed with twenty-somethings who aren’t under investigation by U.S. attorneys and special counsel and haven’t been charged with any wrongdoing, let alone suspicioned of committing high crimes and misdemeanors. But if you’re interested in storms, you might have more luck finding out about looming, felonious, and colluding frontal systems from the Weather Channel.

Count on it.

With Fox, it’s all about whataboutism (fill in the blank – usually Hillary emails), deflection, and changing the subject. While you’re at it, if you find yourself in a hotel with an empty breakfast area while trying to escape a looming storm, hunt for the remote and change the channel.

Damn. If I could only find that hidden remote.