Monday, April 20, 2009

Is there a sea change in MSM?

I am beginning to sense that there is a sea change in the manner in which main stream media covers the global warming story. Sometimes, they get it right. Other times, they get it right wing. But increasingly the story is gaining prominence and in a manner that surprised me.

This is a long story, so click Read more! for the whole thing.

Maybe it began with the way that George Will embarrassed himself with his series of columns on global warming. To begin with, he did not even get the facts right. When the facts did not fit his ideology, he just made them up&ehllip; or quoted sources that have been discredited for years. It began with his February 15, 2009 column in the Washington Post, Dark Green Doomsayers

This particular column unleashed a flurry of controversy, most of it aimed at Will's apparently intentional invention of facts to fit the occasion. That led to Climate Science in A Tornado and Climate Change's Dim Bulbs, both of which only made made him look worse.

In an effort to curtail the criticism, the editors of the Washington Post took the unusual step of correcting the facts of the first Will column, initially in a news story and later in an editorial.

Besides writing for the Washington Post, and being syndicated in a wide selection of newspapers, Will is also a regular participant on This Week with George Stephanopoulos on ABC. I even wrote to ABC News that I would no longer watch any show on which George Will appeared. Thus, I missed this following exchange between Stephanopoulos and House Minority Leader, John Bonehead Boehner. I can only say that he embarrassed himself even more than did George Will.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Let me ask you then about energy. We showed your statement on the president's decision through the EPA to regulate greenhouse gases. Also, you've come out against the president's proposal to cap-and-trade carbon emissions.

So what is the Republican answer to climate change? Is it a problem? Do you have a plan to address it?

BOEHNER: George, we believe that our -- all of the above energy strategy from last year continues to be the right approach on energy. That we ought to make sure that we have new sources of energy, green energy, but we need nuclear energy, we need other types of alternatives, and, yes, we need American-made oil and gas.

STEPHANOPOULOS: But that doesn't do anything when it comes to emissions, sir.

BOEHNER: When it comes to the issue of climate change, George, it's pretty clear that if we don't work with other industrialized nations around the world, what's going to happen is that we're going to ship millions of American jobs overseas. We have to deal with this in a responsible way.

STEPHANOPOULOS: So what is the responsible way? That's my question. What is the Republican plan to deal with carbon emissions, which every major scientific organization has said is contributing to climate change?

BOEHNER: George, the idea that carbon dioxide is a carcinogen that is harmful to our environment is almost comical. Every time we exhale, we exhale carbon dioxide. Every cow in the world, you know, when they do what they do, you've got more carbon dioxide. And so I think it's clear...

STEPHANOPOULOS: So you don't believe that greenhouse gases are a problem in creating climate change?

BOEHNER: ... we've had climate change over the last 100 years -- listen, it's clear we've had change in our climate. The question is how much does man have to do with it, and what is the proper way to deal with this? We can't do it alone as one nation. If we got India, China and other industrialized countries not working with us, all we're going to do is ship millions of American jobs overseas.

STEPHANOPOULOS: But it sounds like from what you're saying that you don't believe that Republicans need to come up with a plan to control carbon emissions? You're suggesting it's not that big of a problem, even though the scientific consensus is that it has contributed to the climate change.

BOEHNER: I think it is -- I think it is an issue. The question is, what is the proper answer and the responsible answer?

STEPHANOPOULOS: And what is the answer? That's what I'm trying to get at.

BOEHNER: George, I think everyone in America is looking for the proper answer. We don't want to raise taxes, $1.5 to $2 trillion like the administration is proposing, and we don't want to ship millions of American jobs overseas. And so we've got to find ways to work toward this solution to this problem without risking the future for our kids and grandkids.

STEPHANOPOULOS: So you are committed to coming up with a plan?

BOEHNER: I think you'll see a plan from us. Just like you've seen a plan from us on the stimulus bill and a better plan on the budget.
It should be expected, given that tomorrow is Earth Day, but both ABC New and NBC Nightly News have interesting stories that have to deal with the changing climate

ABC began with the following on GMA Weekend in which they connect our worsening water situation to global warming. The highlight statement? "Energy industry takes 39% of the fresh water used in the US." That one statistic illustrates that our resource use is as screwed up as is our realestate / investment system. Those who cry loudest for more water are the same Congressmen who oppose taking on revising our energy system.

NBC's Nightly News actually calls their segment, Sea Change. It began over the weekend with a segment on over fishing. The continue with a week long series on Our Oceans, Our Planet & Our Future: NBC Nightly News examines the impact we have on the Earth's oceans. Again, it will address the manner in which global warming is changing the chemistry, and thus the biology, of our oceans.

If there is a thread that runs through all of these stories, it is the fact that our ecology is very complex. It is filled with connections that are just beginning to understand… that increasing carbon dioxide in the atmosphere allows the oceans to absorb more, becoming more acid, leading to the death of many coral reefs.

This is fundamental ecology and it is a message that the Green Party has had since it's founding. We took one more small step this weekend, as the Steering Committee of the Green Party of the United States signed on to a petition to cut all federal subsidies to nuclear power. That won't make the news. It should not be news that the Green Party is really green.

Let's just hope that the this level of coverage will continue until the public gets the message.


Lisa said...

Andy Rooney even had a piece about it on 60 minutes the other night.

Philip H. said...

And did you catch the Brian Ross Investigates on clean coal at ABC? They got more right then wrong.