Enough to Make You Cry

by on Jun.22, 2011, under Politics

Al Gore has a long essay in Rolling Stone that’s 90 percent about the complete failure of print and TV media to tell the public the truth about the dangers of global warming in the face of industry-financed denialists. The opening paragraphs:

The first time I remember hearing the question “is it real?” was when I went as a young boy to see a traveling show put on by “professional wrestlers” one summer evening in the gym of the Forks River Elementary School in Elmwood, Tennessee.

..

But the most unusual and in some ways most interesting character in these dramas was the referee: Whenever the bad guy committed a gross and obvious violation of the “rules” — such as they were — like using a metal folding chair to smack the good guy in the head, the referee always seemed to be preoccupied with one of the cornermen, or looking the other way. Yet whenever the good guy — after absorbing more abuse and unfairness than any reasonable person could tolerate — committed the slightest infraction, the referee was all over him.

That is pretty much the role now being played by most of the news media in refereeing the current wrestling match over whether global warming is “real,” and whether it has any connection to the constant dumping of 90 million tons of heat-trapping emissions into the Earth’s thin shell of atmosphere every 24 hours.

The headline in the New York Times? “In Essay, Gore Criticizes Obama on Climate.” CNN? “Gore: Obama has ‘failed.'” Shit, even-the-liberal TalkingPointsMemo: “Al Gore: President Obama Has Failed To Lead On Climate Change.”

Granted, Gore does make that charge, buried after 5,000 other words (approximately) of a 7,000-word essay, and it is true. And I think he foresaw the headlines: “Even writing an article like this one carries risks; opponents of the president will excerpt the criticism and strip it of context,” he writes.

But it must be damned frustrating to be Al Gore,  criticizing institutions to their face and having them deliberately mishear you in real time.


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