Scary: Networks Spent Only 32 Minutes on Perilous Climate Change in 2011
Over your GOP primary fix yet? How about something to read of real significance.
Did you know that the US Networks (ABC, NBC and CBS) devoted a grand total of 32 MINUTES and 14 news stories for all of 2011 to the single most important story of this century last year. It's true. Despite all the evidence, despite all the extreme weather events in the world, despite the study by a climate change skeptic(funded in part by the Koch Brothers) that concluded climate researchers had it right all along when they concluded that climate change was caused by all the giga-tons of greenhouse gases human beings are pumping into the atmosphere, 32 minutes of coverage on the US Television networks was all they deemed fit to broadcast. Take a look at how sharply their coverage declined (from Climate Progress) since 2007, the peak year of coverage about the world's climate:
Heck, I've seen way more commercials from BP, Exxon and other oil and gas companies extolling the wonders of natural gas produced by hydrofracking and and gasoline refined from the oil in from Canadian Tar Sands than I've seen coverage about climate change on major network television. Everyday another commercial pops up funded by the fossil fuel industry. Not hard to figure out who is paying the bills for the
bread and circusestelevision industry. Still, 32 MINUTES of coverage? That's all? Our world's climate is headed for a full on boil, the predictions the climate models made regarding droughts, extreme precipitation events, wildfires, heat waves, famines, etc. are coming true (if anything they were too conservative) and that's it? Thirty-two effing minutes?
Not that the major print media in America is doing a whole lot better.
Media coverage of climate change continued to tumble in 2011, declining roughly 20 percent from 2010′s levels and nearly 42 percent from 2009′s peak, according to analysis of DailyClimate.org’s archive of global media.
The declining coverage came amid bouts of extreme weather across the globe – historic wildfires in Arizona, drought in Texas, famine in the Horn of Africa – and flashes of political frenzy. Australia’s approval of a carbon tax, the U.S. presidential election, a Congressional inquiry into the failed solar startup Solyndra all generated significant coverage within the mainstream press, but it was not enough to stem the larger trend.
And remember a lot of that coverage, such as it was, was biased against the reality of man-made climate change. For example, check out this article, on Real Climate from February 2010, IPCC errors: facts and spinabout the media lies and distortions that turned a few minor errors in the IPCC's Fourth Assessment Report on Climate into a major media generated scandal that attempted to discredit all the thousands of climate research studies and the mounds of evidence supporting the consensus view that human beings and their activity are primarily responsible for the rapid changes to our climate. Or check out the recent Wall Street Journal's attempts to mislead and deny the Earth Surface Temperature Study study (BEST) funded by climate deniers such the Koch brothers that confirmed climate researchers had the facts right all along:
[T]he Wall Street ... Journal‘s U.S. paper did not mention the Berkeley Earth Surface Temperature Study for over two weeks after the results were published. The Yale Forum on Climate Change and the Media noted that the Journal published an editorial in the following days titled “The Post-Global Warming World” that was “dismissive of climate change” and had not “a word about the BEST study.” [Yale Forum on Climate Change and the Media, 11/1/11] Journal Publishes Article Focusing On “Uncertain Nature” Of Global Temperatures. On November 5, The Wall Street Journal published an A2 article titled “Global Temperatures: All Over The Map” by Carl “The Numbers Guy” Bialik. The article focused on the “uncertain nature of tracking global temperature.” [Wall Street Journal, 11/5/11]
Journal Previously Claimed Temperature Records Were “Rigged.” In a November 2009 editorial titled, “Rigging a Climate ‘Consensus,’” the Journal wrote that the emails between scientists at the University of East Anglia — whose temperature record was reaffirmed by the recent BEST study — left the impression “that the climate-tracking game has been rigged from the start.” The editorial also suggested that we cannot know if the scientists’ work is reliable since citations and peer-review are also rigged. [Wall Street Journal, 9/27/09]
All of these "reports" by the Journal were unsubstantiated and shown to be false. Thus, even when the media does bother to cover climate stories, much of their coverage is biased or misleading and attacks the legitimacy of peer reviewed climate research. So, despite the ever increasing danger and damage our warming climate poses to our food and water supplies, our economy and human health, the US news media, and especially the news media with the greatest reach, the news programming by the Big Three Networks (ABC, CBS and NBC) have for all intents and purposes censored themselves from covering the most important story of this century. This is especially egregious since the media in the rest of the world is running around with their hair on fire over this issue.
The world is likely to build so many fossil-fuelled power stations, energy-guzzling factories and inefficient buildings in the next five years that it will become impossible to hold global warming to safe levels, and the last chance of combating dangerous climate change will be "lost for ever", according to the most thorough analysis yet of world energy infrastructure.
Indeed, the International Energy Agency, known for being conservative regarding its analysis of the long term effects of ever increasing carbon emissions now is ringing alarm bells about a catastrophic rise in global temperatures if we continue to stay the course and ignore the current increase in greenhouse gas emissions:
On planned policies, rising fossil energy use will lead to irreversible and potentially catastrophic climate change. [...]
[W]e are on an even more dangerous track to an increase of 6°C [11°F]
Delaying action is a false economy: for every $1 of investment in cleaner technology that is avoided in the power sector before 2020, an additional $4.30 would need to be spent after 2020 to compensate for the increased emissions.”
Has anyone on Network TC told you we face a very probable future of a rise in average global temperatures of 11°F unless we make drastic changes to our use of fossil fuels as our main source of energy within the next ten to 15 years? Have they told you the failure to invest $1 in clean energy today will cost us an additional $3.30 by 2010 to deal with all the extra carbon emissions? Yeah, I thought not. Have they told you what the world would look like if the average global temperatures rise by even 3.5°C (6.5°F), which assumes the world's nations will actually implement the modest carbon emissions reductions and investment in green technologies the IEA is proposing? Yeah, I thought not. It's enough to make people who actually have taken the time to make themselves aware of the facts regarding human-made global warming into conspiracy theorists.
The BBC has packaged Frozen Planet so that international networks can purchase the first six episodes in one block. These episodes deal with stuff like the buffoonery of Adelie penguins and killer-whale hunting behavior. Then, if the networks so choose, they can buy the seventh and final episode. It just so happens this one covers climate change, a sensitive topic for many networks. You won't be seeing this episode in the United States, due to a "scheduling conflict" by the Discovery Channel, although parts of it will be edited into the sixth episode for American consumption.
Yes, why spoil all our beautiful minds with information on the effects of climate change? Sharks are so much more entertaining after all.
A big hat tip to salunga.