Apr
24
2009

Neutral Coverage of Climate Change?

Andrew Revkin's April 24 piece, about how an energy industry group publicly denied links between emissions and global warming even as their own scientists confirmed such links, is pretty damning, if utterly unsurprising.

This part leaps out:

George Monbiot, a British environmental activist and writer, said that by promoting doubt, industry had taken advantage of news media norms requiring neutral coverage of issues, just as the tobacco industry once had.

"They didn't have to win the argument to succeed," Mr. Monbiot said, "only to cause as much confusion as possible."

Note that it isn't Monbiot who refers to media's "neutral coverage," but the Times. In reality, what the industry counted on, successfully, was not neutrality at all, but the corporate media's entirely artificial balancing of the overwhelming consensus of climate scientists with the patently self-interested views of industries profiting from fossil fuels.

The Times' rendering has a tone of "our strength was, ironically, a weakness is this case." But really it was just their weakness being a weakness. Again.

About Janine Jackson

Program Director and Co-producer of CounterSpin
Janine Jackson is FAIR's program director and and producer/co-host of FAIR's syndicated radio show CounterSpin. She contributes frequently to FAIR's magazine, Extra! and co-edited The FAIR Reader: An Extra! Review of Press and Politics in the '90s (Westview Press). She has appeared on ABC's Nightline and CNN Headline News, among other outlets, and has testified to the Senate Communications Subcommittee on budget reauthorization for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. Her articles have appeared in various publications, including In These Times and the UAW’s Solidarity, and in books including Civil Rights Since 1787 (New York University Press) and Stop the Next War Now: Effective Responses to Violence and Terrorism (New World Library). Jackson is a graduate of Sarah Lawrence College and has an M.A. in sociology from the New School for Social Research.