Monday, August 06, 2007

US Media Meltdown on Global Warming

The U.S. media are an enormously powerful engine driving public opinion in the most powerful nation in the world (wait a second, aren't all nations - by definition - "in the world"?).

Getting back to the point, the American media are now recognized as having been instrumental in misleading their nation's populace on the war against Iraq, WMDs and Iraq's connection to al-Qaeda.

A big part of the problem is the "new media" - the Fox News types that, in saner times, would have been consigned to the lunatic fringe but now enjoy a huge following of the easily deluded.

A new study suggests that what the American media did for Iraq it's also accomplished when it comes to public perceptions of global warming. This from, dare I say it, CanWest:

The report, in the latest edition of a magazine published by Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting, said there are multiple examples of major American media organizations watering down recent warnings from peer-reviewed scientific literature about the consequences of global warming and the human-produced pollution that is causing it.

The watchdog group based its analysis on a comparison of American and British headlines and articles about the release of a series of international reports that assessed the latest peer-reviewed on climate change.

"Where U.K. media generally presented climate change as an urgent crisis that requires immediate action, in the U.S. it's still widely portrayed as an unresolved debate," says the article, written by Neil deMause in the July-August edition of Extra!.

The coverage is helping to prop up U.S. government policies which suggest aggressive action to tackle climate change could be economically costly, deMause said. For example, he explained that many Americans were unaware of a British government study by former World Bank chief economist Nicholas Stern that warned the cost of doing nothing would be much worse than immediate action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

"The Stern report is something that has been hashed out in the British and Canadian media and argued back and forth, whereas in the U.S., nobody has heard of it," said deMause in an interview. "That's the problem. It's not particularly what stand the media takes on what should we do about climate change, it's the information is getting out about climate change, and I think that in the U.S., it's a very limited debate."


The Mound of Sound said...

It's pretty rich for CanWest to run a story critical of US media for sowing confusion about global warmihng. I had to check the National Post's website. There under the heading, "Current Features", is their link entitled "Climate Change: The Deniers" which has been up since, oh last February. That little bit of denial liturgy has outlived anything else on their list - by a wide margin. Then there's NatPo's Terry Corcoran - denier extraordinaire - who ran two features last week just flat out denying that global warming is anything but a hoax. I think CanWest and its National Post are splendid examples of American-style media bias.

Anonymous said...

For lack of integrity better they be sombody's barking dog; they have their reward.

tdwebste said...

The problem is CanWest has effective control over so much media in Canada. So much single control should never have been allowed.

Canadian Media Breakdown:

CanWest controls the Global TV network of 11 stations in 8 provinces. And 14 independent stations and speciality channels including Fox feeds.

Bell Globemedia controls the CTV network and 15 specialty channels.


In print news we don't have much choice.
Bell Globemedia know for the Globe and Mail

CanWest Global Communications Corporation known for, Natinal Post and western news papers.

Quebecor Inc. know for the, Sun news papers "not all are owned by Quebecor, some are owned by CanWest", many central and eastern news papers.

Torstar Corporation know for the Toronto Star and many Ontario news papers

Transcontiental Inc. know for the TV Guide, Time and other business consumer periodicals, a few news papers.

And a few bit players.

The Mound of Sound said...

Tim, I couldn't agree with you more. Being a British Columbian you know better than most the suffocating, all-pervasive influence of CanWest in our province.

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