Month 5, Day 18: This Kurtz Me More Than It Kurtz You

I got tired of writing about the damned Deepwater Horizon. How many times can you say “they’re killing us!” before it gets old? So I went hunting for something new to engage my monkey mind, and A Siegel delivered, with a piece highlighting the blinkered behavior of our national media, as exemplified by the “coverage of the coverage” carried out by Washington Post media critic Howard Kurtz.

Kurtz noticed that the media didn’t treat the Southern storms as nationally relevant….but it didn’t occur to him that things can be localized in time as well as space.

If the media ignores Tennessee and Kentucky because of their location and demographics, then it’s a case of Elite Liberals Ignoring The Real Americans. Witness Kurtz’ interviewee Bob Sellers, talking about media coverage of the floods:

“On that side of the Hudson, they really lose sight of the rest of the country,” says Sellers, who grew up in Kentucky. “They view it as flyover country. . . . There’s just a feeling among folks here, ‘Look at what the national media are talking about, they’re not giving any attention to this.’ ”

But when they fail to connect the temporal and climatic dots, the media become Enablers of Disaster. Which, needless to say, was something Howard Kurtz didn’t notice at all.


Howard Kurtz has it half right: media coverage of extreme weather is both geographically and climatically parochial, never mentioning that such events are getting more severe and more frequent — and that climate scientists have been predicting this for years. It’s simple enough: if the climate gets warmer there will be more evaporation, which means more moisture in the air, which means that there will be more and heavier storms. Global warming is real; it is dangerous; it is human-caused — and Nashville’s flooded neighborhoods are genuine evidence of it. Climatologists said it was going to happen just like this, and the media disgracefully ignored them. By treating freak weather events as isolated from one another and from the larger trend of increasing precipitation, the news establishment becomes complicit in keeping Americans unaware of the gravest threat humanity has ever faced. We can no longer afford to remain ignorant.

Warren Senders

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