Year 2, Month 4, Day 26: Coal-Baggers Unite!

This weekend (April 15/16/17) is the Power Shift conference in Washington. 10,000 young environmental activists came to DC to try and influence the power structure. The WaPo, naturally, covered it as a political story: the kids don’t like Obama’s policies! Oh, no!

Sent April 16:

The real story is hardly that environmentally conscious young people are disappointed in President Obama’s energy policies. The real story is that thousands of people came to Washington to offer their dedication and initiative to free our country, once and for all, from its crippling dependence on fossil fuels — and that the print and broadcast media almost completely ignored them. If the standard reporter-to-teapartier ratio had applied to the Power Shift conference, more than five hundred journalists would have filed stories. While the teapartiers have amusing signs and wear amusing costumes, their contribution to public discourse is based on fundamentally erroneous premises — something which cannot be said of the Power Shift participants, whose perspective on public policy is based on hard and irrefutable scientific facts. What must these responsible and forward-looking young people do to obtain fair media coverage? Wear funny hats festooned with lumps of coal?

Warren Senders

Month 6, Day 20: Whatever You Do, Don’t Mention The Oil!

The New Orleans Times-Picayune ran an AP story on global warming; it was written by Joe Conason, who is excellent. So I built on that. This letter, remarkably for something sent to Louisiana, doesn’t mention the Gulf spill once.

It is certainly true that “global warming has lost momentum as a public concern” since 2007. It is also true that our media have contributed to this problem. Through superficial reporting and an editorial policy built around a specious equivalency between scientific truth and industry-funded denialism, print and broadcast media have fostered the illusion that there is still a “debate” about the reality of global climate change. There is no debate; climate scientists are overwhelmingly in agreement that anthropogenic global warming is both real and dangerous. Of course some scientists’ predictions or analyses don’t match the work of others; that’s inherent in scientific processes. Enabled and encouraged by an inattentive and irresponsible media, our politicians refuse to come to terms with the reality: shared sacrifice is essential for shared survival.

Warren Senders