A look at U.S. mainstream media vs. foreign environmental coverage increasingly shows that Europe, Australia, and even India do a better job than we do.
A perfect example of the underreporting by the US press of extraordinarily important climate change news came on October 10th when The Guardian UK announced that, “An unexplained and unprecedented rise in carbon dioxide in the atmosphere two years running has raised fears that the world may be on the brink of runaway global warming.”A Google search shows that the story has barely made a blip in the U.S. media — with minor reports on CNN online, CBS online, Salon.com, and in a few other places, and with “papers of record” like The New York Times remaining utterly silent. Around the world, the story has been trumpeted by at least 33 major foreign news sources including Reuters, BBC, the Telegraph, Scotsman, The Age Australia, the Turkish Press, News24 South Africa, the Hindu in India, and New Zealand Herald.
The Guardian story goes on to quote a number of highly respected climate change scientists who fear that the abrupt speed-up in atmospheric carbon dioxide “may be evidence of the long feared climate change ‘feedback’ mechanism,” by which human-caused global warming triggers alterations to the earth’s natural systems, which in turn causes the release of more and more C02, causing the warming to escalate and accelerate out of control like the Doomsday Machine from Dr. Strangelove. If these new atmospheric measurements really are a warning sign of impending “runaway” climate change, then humanity has no time to lose in cutting CO2 emissions and in converting to alternative fuels. Indeed, it could already be too late. Meanwhile, the U.S. media on October 10th and 11th reported the latest Bush/Kerry name calling, the death of “Superman,” the Nobel Prize in Economics, and a mysterious bus crash in Arkansas …
This is the kind of irresponsible underreporting, and misreporting, that keeps the American electorate ignorant of the looming threat of climate change, and other environmental problems.
What, I wonder, would have happened to the Bush campaign if every major U.S. newspaper had featured the CO2 story on Page 1? What and who would Americans be more afraid of then: terrorism or climate change? Osama bin Laden or George W. Bush?
Oh well, I think I’ll just give it all up and go to the grand ballroom of the SS Titanic and have another strawberry daiquiri.