There is no serious discussion of environmental costs borne by the public, and there is not one word about climate change–a pretty shocking oversight when one considers the potential ramifications of a massive new investment in a fossil fuel industry.
This week on FAIR TV: How does Obama's "non-mandate" compare to Bush's 2004 "mandate"? Does corporate media factchecking need a reality check? And we look at how superstorm Sandy failed to generate talk about climate change on the Sunday shows. Please watch it–and share it with your friends.<!–preview-break–>
FAIR's new alert takes aim at the Sunday morning chat shows (Meet the Press, This Week, Face the Nation and Fox News Sunday) for ignoring climate change this weekend– right after "superstorm" Sandy devastated the East Coast. As we noted, NBC host David Gregory said early on his program: "Should more attention be paid to a changing climate's impact on the severity of these storms?" That was the last mention of climate change on the show. I know a lot of people might say, "Well, with the election around the corner, politics shows have to stick to electoral politics." I […]
CNN reporter Erin Burnett's comment (10/29/12) that it was "kind of neat" to see New York City break its flooding record as the storm surge from Hurricane Sandy flooded Battery Park was bizarre, to say the very least: I just want to give everyone an update of where we are right now in terms of the record books. This is one for the record books. In terms of the storm surge here in Manhattan, Lower Manhattan where I am right now, almost a three-foot record, three feet. We're at 12.75 feet, as you can see, it's above my ankles now […]
Columbia Journalism Review's Curtis Brainard and I had a somewhat lengthy back-and-forth on Twitter about his view (10/30/12, 11/1/12) that some journalists and environmental activists are misleading the public by pointing to superstorm Sandy as an outcome of human-caused global warming. I argued on FAIR Blog (11/1/12) that saying that global warming caused Sandy is simply accurate–and later tried to make my point via tongue-in-cheek metaphor in a tweet. I don't think I convinced Brainard–"Wow. You're spinning words like tops," pretty much summed up his reaction. But I thought I'd try to explain what I was saying in a medium […]
Writing about journalistic treatment of the superstorm and climate change, CJR's Curtis Brainard (10/30/12) criticizes the New Yorker's Elizabeth Kolbert for the wrong reason. He takes issue with her statement (10/29/12): As with any particular "weather-related loss event," it's impossible to attribute Sandy to climate change. However, it is possible to say that the storm fits the general pattern in North America, and indeed around the world, toward more extreme weather, a pattern that, increasingly, can be attributed to climate change. He's unhappy with the second part–retorting that you can't attribute a trend toward extreme weather to climate change. But […]
The Washington Post editorial page (10/5/12) weighed in on the contentious environmental issue of fracking. No surprise–they're all for it. "Fracking's Green Side" is the headline in the print edition. (The Web version is different.) The editors write: Those who would ban fracking or regulate it into oblivion ignore the exceptional benefits that inexpensive natural gas can provide in the biggest environmental fight of our time–against climate change. Of course, many people who fight climate change don't think fracking is the answer. They point to the considerable local environmental hazards–water and air pollution, for starters–but they also question the argument […]
NBC's Tom Brokaw from the Republican National Convention last night (8/30/12): The best line, I think, in the speech was the one in which he said: "President Obama wants to slow the growth of the oceans, I want to help you and your family." Yeah, wasn't that great when Romney pretended we weren't facing an ongoing global catastrophe, and made fun of people who thought we should do something about it? How can you top that?
In an attempted factcheck of Mitt Romney's acceptance speech at the Republican convention, AP's Calvin Woodward (8/30/12) takes on Romney's big laugh line: President Obama promised to begin to slow the rise of the oceans and to heal the planet. My promise is to help you and your family. Woodward looked into it and found that, indeed, Obama had said something like that. But aren't the important factual questions here whether ocean levels actually are rising, and if so whether it's possible to do anything about them? (The answers are "yes" and "yes," as it turns out.) The Washington Post […]
"Mitt Romney Sees Path to Energy Independence," an L.A. Times piece by Seema Mehta (8/22/12), doesn't mention climate change at all. It also doesn't mention tar sands, the Canadian oil deposits whose extraction would devastate the environment, even though that's what Romney's talking about when he says that approving the Keystone pipeline will be one of the keys to energy independence for "North America." Nor does it mention the ongoing ecological disaster in the Gulf of Mexico, even though that's surely relevant to Romney touting offshore drilling as the other major piece of his energy plan. The story also leads […]
You would think–or maybe hope–that journalists who have to appear alongside climate change deniers would find it a bit awkward. It used to be that media were faulted for creating false "balance" in coverage of climate change–quoting reality-based scientists in roughly equal measure with non-scientists who either don't think there's a problem or don't think human activity has anything to do with it. That doesn't seem to be as much of a problem anymore (though it made a comeback after "Climategate"). But ABC has a built-in climate problem: The network's Sunday morning show regularly includes right-wing climate denier George Will, […]
FAIR has noted the tendency of corporate media to play down the connection of extreme weather to climate change. (See Neil deMause's piece in Extra!, 8/11.) This summer, as the country is beset by another devastating wave of drought and fires, the approach seems to be to acknowledge climate change–in the 10th paragraph–but end up by concluding that it's impossible to say whether there's any connection between climate change and any particular weather phenomenon. As in this L.A. Times piece (7/2/12): Since 2000, it has not been uncommon for wildfire seasons to end with a tally of 7 million to […]