Global Warming I: Journalism Breakdown
July 8, 2005
Katrina's piece on global warming created quite the stir. In Katrina's defense, she referenced a (no pun intended) hot topic covered in an article in USA Today ("The Debate's Over: Globe Is Warming"). Sharing an article from "America's best-selling newspaper" simply isn't a "...leftist political smear against American Industry," as one reader responded.
Consider the headline of the article: "The Debate's Over: Globe Is Warming." What self-respecting journalistor news organizationwould take what is todaystilla scientifically debatable position? (Plus, what self-respecting, national newspaper would use italics in a headline?) To support that headline, the article states
"After decades of debate over whether the planet is heating and, if so, whose fault it is, divergent groups are joining hands with little fanfare to deal with a problem they say people can no longer avoid."
and continues to mention the following organizations who have, apparently, "joined hands"
General Electric U.N. International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Battelle Joint Global Change Research Institute U.S. Catholic Conference of Bishops National Association on Evangelicals National Council of Churches Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger Environmental Protection Agency
C'mon. Gimme a freakin' break. Add the National Rifle Association, Pee-Wee Herman, and The Vatican to the list, and I might pay attention.
1. General Electric, as another reader states, is clearly business-motivated.
2. Everyone at the U.N. IPCC, the aforementioned Battelle JGCRI, and the EPA would be out of jobs if it were determined that human actions won't make all that much of a difference in global warming.
3. Add to the aforementioned religious institutions another organization, Christian Brothers Investment Services, mentioned prominently in the article. That's four Christian institutionsin a single USA Today articleused as sources for one of the most heated debates in scientific history. Excuse me, but why are these organizations mentioned at all? And if you're gonna quote Christians as All Knowing Scientists, where is the journalistic balance of also representing other religions? (Hey, I was born and raised a Christian and this sort of journalism makes my skin crawl.)
4. Schwarzenegger owns more Hummers than God Himself, and showed up to give his $60 million 'Hydrogen Highway' speech in a GMC Yukon. Hey, at least he unveiled the Hydrogen Hummer.
The only instance of balance in this article is mention of the Climate Stewardship Act proposed by Sens. Joe Lieberman and John McCain, Democrat and Republican, respectively.
Global warming should bemust bean issue of science, not covering your own butt, not politics, not profits, not votes. Science hasn't taken a back seat in the USA Today article. It's been gagged, bound, and stuffed in the trunk.
Seems Michael Crichton's onto something.
(More to come.)