The Really Inconvenient Truth
Like most people I know, I liked this movie. It was factual wiener of information wrapped in a nice emotional bun. With mustard.
But what struck me was not so much that human beings are fucking up the planet (I sort of knew that) but that coverage of this fact has been so incredibly lame.
Well, in a random sample of 1,000 abstracts on climate change in peer-reviewed scientific journals from 1993 to 2003, 0% doubted that “we’re causing global warming.” However, in a random sample of more than 600 articles about global warming in popular media between 1988 and 2002, 53% questioned that “we’re causing global warming.”
Larry Lessig, in Wired, suggests that the journalistic quest for “the other side of the story” could be the explanation. This may be right. If so, it is quite disturbing, akin to teaching both evolution and creation science as “both sides” of the evolution “issue.” Or, to my mind, like teaching theism at all. Sometimes there are right answers. Or at least highly-likely-to-be-true answers.
So “the press” or “the media” or, as some now call it “MSM” (i.e., main stream media) sucks and has been captured by corporate PR. Is this a newsflash?
But it’s nice that this meme is finally reproducing in the culture. It’s about time. Chomsky and Herman have been talking about this problem for years. Their (or it may be just Herman’s) concept of the “5 filters” that distort press coverage is still, to my mind, entirely convincing.