imc indymedia

Los Angeles Indymedia : Activist News

white themeblack themered themetheme help
About Us Contact Us Calendar Publish RSS
Features
latest news
best of news
syndication
commentary


KILLRADIO

VozMob

ABCF LA

A-Infos Radio

Indymedia On Air

Dope-X-Resistance-LA List

LAAMN List




IMC Network:

Original Cities

www.indymedia.org africa: ambazonia canarias estrecho / madiaq kenya nigeria south africa canada: hamilton london, ontario maritimes montreal ontario ottawa quebec thunder bay vancouver victoria windsor winnipeg east asia: burma jakarta japan korea manila qc europe: abruzzo alacant andorra antwerpen armenia athens austria barcelona belarus belgium belgrade bristol brussels bulgaria calabria croatia cyprus emilia-romagna estrecho / madiaq euskal herria galiza germany grenoble hungary ireland istanbul italy la plana liege liguria lille linksunten lombardia london madrid malta marseille nantes napoli netherlands nice northern england norway oost-vlaanderen paris/Île-de-france patras piemonte poland portugal roma romania russia saint-petersburg scotland sverige switzerland thessaloniki torun toscana toulouse ukraine united kingdom valencia latin america: argentina bolivia chiapas chile chile sur cmi brasil colombia ecuador mexico peru puerto rico qollasuyu rosario santiago tijuana uruguay valparaiso venezuela venezuela oceania: adelaide aotearoa brisbane burma darwin jakarta manila melbourne perth qc sydney south asia: india mumbai united states: arizona arkansas asheville atlanta austin baltimore big muddy binghamton boston buffalo charlottesville chicago cleveland colorado columbus dc hawaii houston hudson mohawk kansas city la madison maine miami michigan milwaukee minneapolis/st. paul new hampshire new jersey new mexico new orleans north carolina north texas nyc oklahoma philadelphia pittsburgh portland richmond rochester rogue valley saint louis san diego san francisco san francisco bay area santa barbara santa cruz, ca sarasota seattle tampa bay tennessee urbana-champaign vermont western mass worcester west asia: armenia beirut israel palestine process: fbi/legal updates mailing lists process & imc docs tech volunteer projects: print radio satellite tv video regions: oceania united states topics: biotech

Surviving Cities

www.indymedia.org africa: canada: quebec east asia: japan europe: athens barcelona belgium bristol brussels cyprus germany grenoble ireland istanbul lille linksunten nantes netherlands norway portugal united kingdom latin america: argentina cmi brasil rosario oceania: aotearoa united states: austin big muddy binghamton boston chicago columbus la michigan nyc portland rochester saint louis san diego san francisco bay area santa cruz, ca tennessee urbana-champaign worcester west asia: palestine process: fbi/legal updates process & imc docs projects: radio satellite tv
printable version - js reader version - view hidden posts - tags and related articles

Snowed: US (Corporate) Media Ignore climate change

by reposted Sunday, Jun. 12, 2005 at 5:05 AM

author: Ross Gelbspan / Mother Jones Jun 11, 2005 12:05 Though global climate change is breaking out all around us, the U.S. news media has remained silent. Not because climate change is a bad story-to the contrary: Conflict is the lifeblood of journalism, and the climate issue is riven with conflict.

Snowed

Though global climate change is breaking out all around us, the U.S. news media has remained silent.

Ross Gelbspan

Mother Jones, May/June 2005 Issue

http://www.motherjones.com/cgi-bin/print_article.pl?url=http://www.motherjones.com/news/feature/2005/05/snowed.html

Part of feature series As the World Burns

May/June 2005 Issue WHEN SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA was inundated by a foot of rain, several feet of snow, and lethal mudslides earlier this year, the news reports made no mention of climate change-even though virtually all climate scientists agree that the first consequence of a warmer atmosphere is a marked increase in extreme weather events. When four hurricanes of extraordinary strength tore through Florida last fall, there was little media attention paid to the fact that hurricanes are made more intense by warming ocean surface waters. And when one storm dumped five feet of water on southern Haiti in 48 hours last spring, no coverage mentioned that an early manifestation of a warming atmosphere is a significant rise in severe downpours.

Though global climate change is breaking out all around us, the U.S. news media has remained silent. Not because climate change is a bad story-to the contrary: Conflict is the lifeblood of journalism, and the climate issue is riven with conflict. Global warming policy pits the United States against most of the countries of the world. It's a source of tension between the Bush administration and 29 states, nearly 100 cities, and scores of activist groups working to reduce emissions. And it has generated significant and acrimonious splits within the oil, auto, and insurance industries. These stories are begging to be written.

And they are being written-everywhere else in the world. One academic thesis completed in 2000 compared climate coverage in major U.S. and British newspapers and found that the issue received about three times as much play in the United Kingdom. Britain's Guardian, to pick an obviously liberal example, accorded three times more coverage to the climate story than the Washington Post, more than twice that of the New York Times, and nearly five times that of the Los Angeles Times. In this country, the only consistent reporting on this issue comes from the New York Times' Andrew Revkin, whose excellent stories are generally consigned to the paper's Science Times section, and the Weather Channel-which at the beginning of 2004 started including references to climate change in its projections, and even hired an on-air climate expert.

Why the lack of major media attention to one of the biggest stories of this century? The reasons have to do with the culture of newsrooms, the misguided application of journalistic balance, the very human tendency to deny the magnitude of so overwhelming a threat, and, last though not least, a decade-long campaign of deception, disinformation, and, at times, intimidation by the fossil fuel lobby to keep this issue off the public radar screen.

The carbon lobby's tactics can sometimes be heavy-handed; one television editor told me that his network had been threatened with a withdrawal of oil and automotive advertising after it ran a report suggesting a connection between a massive flood and climate change. But the most effective campaigns have been more subtly coercive. In the early 1990s, when climate scientists began to suspect that our burning of coal and oil was changing the earth's climate, Western Fuels, then a 0 million coal cooperative, declared in its annual report that it was enlisting several scientists who were skeptical about climate change-Patrick Michaels, Robert Balling, and S. Fred Singer-as spokesmen. The coal industry paid these and a handful of other skeptics some million over a three-year period and sent them around the country to speak to the press and the public. According to internal strategy papers I obtained at the time, the purpose of the campaign was "to reposition global warming as theory (not fact)," with an emphasis on targeting "older, less educated males," and "younger, low-income women" in districts that received their electricity from coal, and who preferably had a representative on the House Energy and Commerce Committee.

The Western Fuels campaign was extraordinarily successful. In a Newsweek poll conducted in 1991, before the spin began, 35 percent of respondents said they "worry a great deal" about global warming. By 1997 that figure had dropped by one-third, to 22 percent.

Then as now, a prime tactic of the fossil fuel lobby centered on a clever manipulation of the ethic of journalistic balance. Any time reporters wrote stories about global warming, industry-funded naysayers demanded equal time in the name of balance. As a result, the press accorded the same weight to the industry-funded skeptics as it did to mainstream scientists, creating an enduring confusion in the public mind. To this day, many people are unsure whether global warming is real.

Journalistic balance comes into play when a story involves opinion: Should gay marriage be legal? Should we invade Iraq? Should we promote bilingual education or English immersion? For such stories an ethical journalist is obligated to give each competing view its most articulate presentation and roughly equivalent space.

But when the subject is a matter of fact, the concept of balance is irrelevant. What we know about the climate comes from the largest and most rigorously peer-reviewed scientific collaboration in history-the findings of more than 2,000 scientists from 100 countries reporting to the United Nations as the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. The IPCC's conclusions, that the burning of fossil fuels is indeed causing significant shifts in the earth's climate, have been corroborated by the American Academy for the Advancement of Science, the American Geophysical Union, the American Meteorological Society, and the National Academy of Sciences. D. James Baker, former administrator of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, echoed many scientists when he said, "There is a better scientific consensus on this than on any other issue I know-except maybe Newton's second law of thermo-dynamics."

Granted, there are a few credentialed scientists who still claim climate change to be inconsequential. To give them their due, a reporter should learn where the weight of scientific opinion falls-and reflect that balance in his or her reporting. That would give mainstream scientists 95 percent of the story, with the skeptics getting a paragraph or two at the end.

But because most reporters don't have the time, curiosity, or professionalism to check out the science, they write equivocal stories with counterposing quotes that play directly into the hands of the oil and coal industries by keeping the public confused.

Another major obstacle is the dominant culture of newsrooms. The fastest-rising journalists tend to make their bones covering politics, and so the lion's share of press coverage of climate change has focused on the political machinations surrounding global warming rather than its consequences. In 1997, when the Senate overwhelmingly passed a resolution against ratifying the Kyoto Protocol, the vote was covered as a political setback for the Clinton administration at the hands of congressional Republicans. (Predictably, the press paid little attention to a million industry-funded advertising blitz in the run-up to that vote.) When President Bush pulled out of the Kyoto negotiating process in 2001, the coverage again focused not on the harm that would befall the planet as a result but on the resulting diplomatic tensions between the United States and the European Union.

Prior to 2001, Bush had declared he would not accept the findings of the IPCC-it was, after all, a U.N. body. "The jury's still out," he said, and called instead for a report from the National Academy of Sciences. That report, duly produced one month later, while professing uncertainty about exactly how much warming was attributable to one factor or another, affirmed that human activity was a major contributor. In covering Bush's call for an American climate report, few reporters bothered to check whether the academy had already taken a position; had they done so, they would have found that as early as 1992, it had recommended strong measures to minimize climate impacts.

Finally, coverage of the climate crisis is one of many casualties of media conglomeration. With most news outlets now owned by major corporations and faceless investors, marketing strategy is replacing news judgment; celebrity coverage is on the rise, even as newspapers cut staff and fail to provide their remaining reporters the time they need to research complex stories.

Ultimately, however, the responsibility for the failure of the press lies neither with the carbon lobby nor with newsroom culture or even the commercialization of the news. It lies in the indifference or laziness of hundreds of editors and thousands of reporters who are betraying their professional obligation to their readers and viewers. Climate change constitutes an immense drama of very uncertain outcome. It is as important and compelling a story as any reporter could hope to work on. Perversely, for so great an opportunity, it is threatening to become the shame of the American press.

Report this post as:

LATEST COMMENTS ABOUT THIS ARTICLE
Listed below are the 10 latest comments of 1 posted about this article.
These comments are anonymously submitted by the website visitors.
TITLE AUTHOR DATE
The Great Global Warming Hoax Spider-Man Sunday, Jun. 12, 2005 at 6:43 AM

Local News

GUIDE TO REBEL CITY LOS ANGELES AVAILABLE A12 5:39PM

lausd whistle blower A10 11:58PM

Website Upgrade A10 3:02AM

Help KCET and UCLA identify 60s-70s Chicano images A04 1:02PM

UCLA Luskin: Casting Youth Justice in a Different Light A02 11:58AM

Change Links April 2018 A01 11:27AM

Nuclear Shutdown News March 2018 M31 6:57PM

Join The Protest Rally in Glendale on April 10, 2018! M29 7:00PM

Join The Protest Rally in Glendale on April 10, 2018! M29 6:38PM

Spring 2018 National Immigrant Solidarity Network News Alert! M19 2:02PM

Anti-Eviction Mapping Project Shows Shocking Eviction Trends in L.A. M16 5:40PM

Steve Mnuchin video at UCLA released M15 12:34AM

Actress and Philanthropist Tanna Frederick Hosts Project Save Our Surf Beach Clean Ups M06 12:10PM

After Being Told He's 'Full of Sh*t' at School Event, Mnuchin Demands UCLA Suppress Video M02 11:44AM

Resolution of the Rent Strike in Boyle Heights M01 6:28PM

What Big Brother Knows About You and What You Can Do About It M01 3:30PM

Step Up As LAPD Chief Charlie Beck Steps Down F14 2:44PM

Our House Grief Support Center Hosts 9th Annual Run For Hope, April 29 F13 12:51PM

Don’t let this LA County Probation Department overhaul proposal sit on the shelf F13 11:04AM

Echo Park Residents Sue LA Over Controversial Development F12 8:51AM

Former Signal Hill police officer pleads guilty in road-rage incident in Irvine F09 10:25PM

Calif. Police Accused of 'Collusion' With Neo-Nazis After Release of Court Documents F09 7:14PM

Center for the Study of Political Graphics exhibit on Police Abuse posters F07 9:50AM

City Agrees to Settle Lawsuit Claiming Pasadena Police Officer Had His Sister Falsely Arre F04 3:17PM

Professor's Study Highlights Health Risks of Urban Oil Drilling F04 12:42PM

Claims paid involving Pasadena Police Department 2014 to present F04 10:52AM

Pasadenans - get your license plate reader records from police F03 11:11PM

LA Times Homicide Report F03 1:57PM

More Local News...

Other/Breaking News

What does the Quran Say About Islamic Dress?? A21 4:15PM

Biodiversité ou la nature privatisée A20 11:22AM

The Market is a Universal Totalitarian Religion A20 7:14AM

Book Available about Hispanics and US Civil War by National Park Service A19 5:52PM

The Shortwave Report 04/20/18 Listen Globally! A19 4:01PM

The Republican 'Prolife' Party Is the Party of War, Execution, and Bear Cub Murder A19 11:48AM

Neurogenèse involutive A18 9:21AM

Paraphysique de la dictature étatique A16 10:13AM

Book Review: "The New Bonapartists" A16 3:45AM

The West Must Take the First Steps to Russia A14 12:25PM

Théorie générale de la révolution ou hommage à feu Mikhaïl Bakounine A14 3:30AM

The Shortwave Report 04/13/18 Listen Globally! A12 3:50PM

“Lost in a Dream” Singing Competition Winner to Be Chosen on April 15 for ,000 Prize! A12 3:48PM

The World Dependent on Central Banks A12 4:43AM

Ohio Governor Race: Dennis Kucinich & Richard Cordray Run Against Mike DeWine A11 9:40PM

March 2018 Honduras Coup Again Update A10 10:52PM

Apologie du zadisme insurrectionnel A10 3:33PM

ICE contract with license plate reader company A10 1:14PM

Palimpseste sisyphéen A09 11:23PM

Black Portraiture(S) IV: The Color of Silence...Cuba No...Cambridge Yes A09 5:32AM

Prohibiting Micro-Second Betting on the Exchanges A09 4:18AM

Prosecutors treat Muslims harsher than non-Muslims for the same crimes A08 10:33PM

Amy Goodman interview on cell phone safety A08 10:29PM

Mesa, Arizona police officer kills unarmed white man A08 9:50PM

Israeli leaders should be prosecuted for war crimes A08 9:48PM

Paraphysique de l'autorité A08 12:11AM

Two Podcasts on fbi corruption A06 10:13PM

Fbi assassins assault & try to kill DAVID ATKINS A06 7:29PM

More Breaking News...
© 2000-2018 Los Angeles Independent Media Center. Unless otherwise stated by the author, all content is free for non-commercial reuse, reprint, and rebroadcast, on the net and elsewhere. Opinions are those of the contributors and are not necessarily endorsed by the Los Angeles Independent Media Center. Running sf-active v0.9.4 Disclaimer | Privacy