Monday, April 30, 2007

Hard Rain Journal 4-30-07: Climate Crisis Update -- Media Matters in the Struggle Against Global Warming

Image: An Inconvenient Truth

Hard Rain Journal 4-30-07: Climate Crisis Update -- Media Matters in the Struggle Against Global Warming

By Richard Power

Study after study highlights the profound impact that global warming on every aspect of human life:

Deaths and injuries from climate change are set to more than double in the next 25 years, according to estimates to be published soon.
The World Health Organisation is finalising data forecasting that deaths linked to even a very narrow number of causes most closely connected to shifting weather patterns will reach more than 300,000 a year by 2030.
The number of disease-adjusted life years (Dalys) lost – a measure of injury and earlier death – linked to warming will rise in the period to more than 11m.
The data, set to be submitted to an academic journal for publication over the summer, focus on the impact of temperature change on diarrhoea-related disease, malaria and malnutrition, which will be greatest in the developing world. … The new WHO estimates build on research by Tony McMichael at the Australian National University, which calculated that in 2000 there were already 166,000 deaths and 5.5m Dalys caused by warming that had taken place since the 1970s.
Scientists say his estimates and the new forecasts represent a necessary and serious attempt to quantify the impact of climate change on human health, but underestimate the true impact. …
Financial Times, 4-24-07

A Government Accountability Office (GAO) study entitled Climate Change: Financial Risks to Federal and Private Insurers in Coming Decades are Potentially Significant (GAO-07-285) highlights the “absolute failure” of the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) and the Federal Crop Insurance Corporation (FCIC) to account for increased peril from global warming risk.
David Tuft of the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) remarks: “Not only has our federal government thus far failed to take action to prevent the worst consequences of unchecked global warming pollution, but it has failed fundamentally to take reasonable precautions against global warming-induced storms and drought, and the high costs that will be borne by families, businesses and ultimately, taxpayers.”
National Resources Defense Council, 4-19-07

Yet the US mainstream news media still promote the false frame of serious debate concerning global warming and climate change, and much of the US political establishment still clings to this false frame. Why?

Because the common good is not the primary concern of either grouping.

Consider the example of Frank Luntz.

David Sirota explains.

[PBS Frontline] Reporter Deborah Amos interviews, among others, top Republican pollster Frank Luntz about his famous memo in the mid-1990s that told Republicans to deliberately distort scientific facts about global warming. Frontline notes that the memo is still being used by ExxonMobil as a way to build Republican congressional opposition to measures that would curtail global warming. So what does Luntz have to say for himself? Well, he both admits his memo advocating lying, and then he goes on to effusively brag about his talent for coming up with language that makes brazen lies seem mildly truthful.
"Look, you want me to say it? It was a great memo. It was great language. I busted my ass for that memo. I have spent many sleepless nights going over focus group tapes, writing exercises, trying to figure out what language would work. And in the end, for that time, I think I found good language."
David Sirota, 4-25-07

Now contrast the case of Frank Luntz with that of David Brock.

In the 1990s, Brock, like Luntz, was a propagandist for the Cult-formerly-known-as-the-Republican-Party, but conscience overtook him and changed the course of his life.

First, Brock wrote Blinded by The Right, an extraordinary insider expose on the "vast right-wing conspiracy," then he established Media Matters, a vital resource in the ongoing struggle to bring down Big Brother.

Now Brock and Media Matters have launched a Global Warming Misinformation Action Center to counteract the spin, false frames and outright lies foisted on the public.

Among the common conservative myths and falsehoods advanced in the media about global warming are unsubstantiated claims that human activity is not a substantial cause of global warming; Antarctic ice is increasing, not decreasing; former Vice President Al Gore is exaggerating; and carbon dioxide is not bad for the environment. Worse yet, over the past few years, coverage on the global warming issue has regularly:
Presented global warming skeptics without noting their relationships with the oil, gas, and coal industries.
Given global warming skeptics the same prominence as those within the large scientific consensus on the issue, thus elevating their opinions to a position nearly equal to those among the vast majority of experts.
Cited cold regional weather as evidence that global warming does not exist.
In an effort to stem the tide of conservative misinformation in global warming media coverage, Media Matters for America has embarked on a campaign to educate and inform members of the media and the American people with the facts.
Media Matters Global Warming Misinformation Action Center

Want to wake people up to the US mainstream news media's complicity in misinforming the public on global warming and climate change? Click here for Media Matters' compilation of "Myths and Falsehoods about Global Warming".

Want to participate in the effort to mitigate the impact of global warming? Download "Ten Things You Can Do"

There is a powerful magic in personal commitment.


Hard Rain Journal 4-22-07: Climate Crisis -- Sheryl Crow Confronts Karl Rove, Mother Nature Confronts John Howard; This Earth Day is The Turning Point

Hard Rain Journal 4-15-07 -- Climate Crisis Update: Eleven Retired Admirals and Generals Concur -- Global Warming IS A National Security Issue

Hard Rain Journal 4-10-07: Climate Crisis Update -- April could be the Turning Point for the USA -- Step It Up to Save the Planet

Hard Rain Journal 4-4-07: The Twisted Link Between Peak Oil and Global Warming

Hard Rain Journal 4-1-07: Hartmann & Gelbspan Debunk the Swindle that is "The Great Global Warming Swindle"

Richard Power is the founder of GS(3) Intelligence and Words of Power. His work focuses on the inter-related issues of security, sustainability and spirit, and how to overcome the challenges of terrorism, cyber crime, global warming, health emergencies, natural disasters, etc. You can reach him via e-mail: For more information, go to

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