Sunday, November 4, 2012

The media must connect the dots on extreme weather and climate change.


Hurricane Sandy caused terrible devastation and loss. But it is also a teachable moment in educating the public about the connection between extreme weather and oceans that are warming up due to fossil-fueled climate change.
But too many major news outlets and reports are still relying on hackneyed weather reporting -- windblown "reporters" with microphones on beaches, rather than asking why storms are getting bigger and more dangerous.1 Hurricane Sandy was no act of God -- it was a record-setting killer storm that is becoming the new normal -- and is a harbinger of much worse to come if we do not change course.
If we are ever to have sufficient will to attack global warming, the public needs to be let in on what many climate scientists are already saying.
Fortunately, there are at least a few media outlets starting to make the connection -- NBC's Rachel Maddow, Chris Matthews, Brian Williams and even Jimmy Fallon are at least raising the question and bringing on thoughtful guests.2
But most of Big Media is relying on lowest-common-denominator weather reporting to cover record-breaking extreme weather.
We deserve better. Much better.
Tell CBS, ABC, the NY Times, Washington Post, Fox, and even NPR to report the connection between climate change and extreme storms.
When it comes to confronting climate change, we have a major structural and political problem. Our broken system of campaign finance and lobbying has allowed major polluters to buy off one party and essentially scare the other. The result is gridlock, science denial, and a continuance of policies which subsidize, promote and even invest in fossil fuels for the long-term, when we should be phasing them out as fast as we can -- maybe faster.
We must, very soon, work to overcome the power of the fossil fuel polluters and their hold on our elected leaders to get the policies we need.
Part of that will be the media fulfilling their obligation to inform the people of this country. We need to know the whole truth. They must start to report it.
Tell CBS, ABC, the NY Times, Washington Post, Fox, and even NPR to start reporting the truth about climate change.


1. Michael Calderone, "Hurricane Sandy Cable News Coverage Avoids Talk Of Climate Change," Huffington Post, October 29, 2012
2. Stephen Lacey, "Watch: Television News Starts Covering The Link Between Climate Change And Superstorm Sandy," ThinkProgress, October 31, 2012
3. Wen Stephenson, "A Convenient Excuse," The Phoenix, October 31, 2012
4. Mark Hertsgaard, ""Hurricane Sandy as Greek Tragedy," The Nation, October 30, 2012
Photo credit: Casual Capture

http://act.credoaction.com/campaign/sandy_media/?rc=tw1