Twenty four below zero is cold; noticeably colder than 2 below. It’s bad. But there’s worse. Another weather report reads “-57 by 6:00 PM”. The rest of the story tells us with wind chill it will feel like minus 57. Is there anything you would do outdoors at minus 24, but at minus 57 it ain’t happening? What freezes at minus 57 that doesn’t at minus 24?
A forecast of an 80% chance of six inches of snow is something to pay attention to. Another source forecasts 12 inches for the same expected storm. Which source do we pay the most attention to? I think we are more likely interested in hearing from the 12 inch source…until we discover that the 12 inch prediction is a 10% probability.
Bigger, badder are attention getters. Both might be true statements missing some valuable information to determine if they are bad. Or do they just sound bad? Given the choice of representing something one way or another, it’s not always a question of truth. But it is always a question of intended consequences. What did the inspector write is one question, another is why.