Mainstream media still ignores global warming

Glaciers in Iceland

It seems everyday there are more studies and reports coming out on the impacts of climate change–now and in the future (at mongabay we see A LOT of them).  Yet, rarely do these studies make it to mainstream new sources.  Either, the media is still run by science-skeptics or the newspapers, news shows, and online media sources actually believe that Brittany Spears’ latest cry for help, Clinton’s (take your pick: Hilary’s or Bill’s) latest remark on race, or the newest electronic gadget is somehow more important than massive shifting of earth’s temperature, causing desertification, species extinction, ocean warming, new migration patterns, flooding, increased intensity of storms, increased unpredictability of weather, changes in agriculture, and the beginning of struggles over dwindling resources, namely water. 

The newest proof of American media’s unwillingness to accept the seriousness of climate change is the presidential primaries, which have received such a glut of coverage that I actually know how much the candidates have spent on haircuts (unwillingly).  Yesterday, both and the National Resource Defense Council (NRDC) reported that in the primary debates  only three questions out of  2,500 have been related to climate change.  A letter from NRDC states: “they have spent more time talking about baseball, UFOs, and Chuck Norris than they have about global warming”. 

While this is patently ridiculous and gross negligence on the part of the news organizations and their top-brass anchors, it’s not all that surprising.  Global warming is a serious issue, arguably the most serious issue in our world today, and arguably one of the most serious issues human beings–as a species and a civilization–have ever faced, but sometimes America has difficulty with serious issues: we’re after all the culture of video games, reality TV, and our stupidest videos.  In general, we prefer distraction and entertainment to serious debate and thought.  For presidental debates baseball, UFOs, and Chuck Norris are much lighter (distracting and entertaining) fare than a global ecosystem undergoing massive change (although I wonder how the candidate’s policies differ regarding baseball, UFOs, and Chuck Norris).

I do not mean this to imply hopelessness.  I have hope that the next president will be serious about global warming.  I have hope our consumeristic, distracted culture can change in time.  I have hope the next generation may possess the skills to take real time on serious issues (and not just climate change).  I have a lot of hope.  I just wish–sometimes–the America of today could buoy that hope just a little, rather than tying stone after stone to it.    

Author: jlhance

Share This Post On