Wednesday, May 07, 2014

Fox News and Rupert Murdoch on climate change report: their perverse inoculation … by gimleteye

The so-called news organ of the far right, Fox News, bears primary responsibility for its role for propaganda on behalf of climate change deniers. Rupert Murdoch, the billionaire Australian media magnate, earned immense personal profit by advancing the anti-government, anti-regulatory agenda of corporate advertisers.

On this issue alone -- climate change -- so much money has been thrown at the task of persuading Americans to vote against their own interests that one hopes -- someday -- the scales will be balanced. By what, though? The melting East Antarctic? The melting permafrost? The evidence of real impacts, as the White House noted yesterday, is here now.

Last summer I went to Greenland with a group of childhood friends. We were all curious what we would see. What surprised -- beside the anxiety of Greenlanders whose way of life is disappearing much faster than our own (cushioned as we are by industrial supply chains) -- was not just the spectacular beauty of the place but the inability to put in any kind of historical context what, exactly, we were seeing.

You are in Greenland for a short visit. Three or four days. What you see are glaciers collapsing and hear the sound of massive movements like shotgun blasts from far away. The process is violent, accelerated, and you have never seen anything like it before nor has anyone else for that matter. It has been hundreds of millions of years since C02 emissions in the atmosphere were so high.

The ice that is melting before your eyes is tens and hundreds of thousands of years old. It melts into the same water you splash on your face from the faucet. How do you put that in perspective of time and consequence?


There is also lack of historical context for the impact of Fox News on the short, brief American republican for which it stands. In the history of the United States, there has never been a marketing and merchandising effort to paint "the facts" through such sophisticated marketing and messaging as exists with Fox and through its influence and commanding lead over other networks. Fox is very, very good at training eyeballs.

The corporate sponsors of the GOP -- for whom Rupert Murdoch is a wealthy deacon -- make crystal clear that their primary purpose in protecting profits is through objection to government regulations involving environmental protection. We see the same in Florida, on every issue that involves regulations protecting water quality from polluters. It just happened with the destruction by the GOP led legislature of a bill that might have started to protect Florida's springs from nutrient pollution. Stopped in its tracks by the Great Destroyers.

The US economy and our politics are calibrated to externalize costs associated with protections of our air and water and (now we see) the planet. What you hear from Fox News and its mouthpieces these days is that we can't afford to protect the planet. So we just have to take our lumps, even though those "lumps" portend a future as difficult to put in historical context as the melting glaciers in Greenland and the Antarctic.

Although conservatives -- emboldened by Fox's "fair and balanced" coverage -- wrap themselves in the Constitution, it is highly doubtful the Founding Fathers of the nation would have tolerated economic activities causing climate change. The nation's founders were not only adaptable, they were adaptable to precisely the conditions we are experiencing today: the usurping of government by a wealthy elite representing only their own interests.

If you put it as a simple matter to the highly educated, intelligent men and women who founded the republic: would you approve economic activities that destroy the pursuit of health and happiness for the people, resulting in the concentration of wealth that denies any opportunity for taxpayers to redress their government, they would tell you to have your head examined.

It is no surprise that the far right -- through the reincarnated Tea Party (whoever they are) -- have co-opted this message. What is surprising is that the opposition (dragged to a perceived political center) has been so effectively boxed out of penetrating the public consciousness. This perverse inoculation cost a lot of treasure to design.

In the meantime, here is a short critique of the Fox News response to the White House report on climate change now. My comments, in CAPS.

CARBON EMISSIONS
Administration issues dire climate change report, amid regulatory push
Published May 06, 2014

(THE HEADLINE SAYS IT ALL. THE FOX NEWS FRAME IS THE "REGULATORY PUSH" BY DEMOCRATS. NOT CLIMATE CHANGE OR ITS IMPACTS THAT ARE HERE, NOW.)

Feb. 7, 2014: This file photo shows the cracked-dry bed of the Almaden Reservoir in San Jose, Calif.AP
The Obama administration fueled its push for emissions regulations with a massive new report Tuesday that points to a growing link between human activity and extreme weather across the country, warning of more "climate disruption" if the nation doesn't change its ways.

(FOX INSTANTLY IRRITATES THE FEAR OF GOVERNMENT TELLING PEOPLE WHAT TO DO: "CHANGING THEIR WAYS". OBAMA, ITS LANGUAGE SUGGESTS, NEEDS TO "FUEL" MASSIVELY THROUGH REGULATIONS.)

The National Climate Assessment, four years in the making, gave a region-by-region breakdown of how climate change is impacting the United States -- in the form of droughts, heat waves and increasingly intense hurricanes, though it is still uncertain how much of that is due to "human activity." The report stopped short of definitively attributing a rash of extreme weather to man-made climate change, concluding "there is new and stronger evidence that many of these increases are related to human activities."

(FOX HIGHLIGHTS THE "UNCERTAINTY" BEFORE EVEN GETTING TO THE KEY POINT OF THE REPORT: THAT CLIMATE CHANGE IMPACTS ARE HERE, NOW. THIS "UNCERTAINTY" HAS BEEN THE IRRITANT THAT HAS DRIVEN A WEDGE -- AND A VERY SUCCESSFUL ONE -- OVER THE PAST FORTY YEARS SINCE PRESIDENT JIMMY CARTER WARNED OF GLOBAL WARMING AND LINKED THE FAILURE OF AN AMERICAN RESPONSE TO WEAKNESS IN THE NATION'S MORAL CHARACTER.)

"Climate change, once considered an issue for a distant future, has moved firmly into the present," the 840-page report states. "Corn producers in Iowa, oyster growers in Washington state and maple syrup producers in Vermont are all observing climate-related changes that are outside of recent experience."

The report predicts that the weather-related repercussions of climate change "are expected to become increasingly disruptive across the nation throughout this century and beyond."

The report, though, quickly came under fire from Republicans, who said the administration would use it to muscle through job-killing regulations.

(FOX REMAINS TRUE TO MOST SUCCESSFUL DRUMBEAT AGAINST CLIMATE CHANGE ADAPTATION: HEARD THROUGH INITIATIVES -- LIKE THOSE TRIGGERED BY ALEC, THE AMERICAN LEGISLATIVE EXCHANGE COUNCIL -- FURTHER INOCULATING WHETHER CITY AND COUNTY COMMISSIONS OR CONGRESS -- AGAINST "JOB KILLING REGULATIONS". THERE IS NEVER, WITH FOX, A RECOGNITION THAT THE PURPOSE OF GOVERNMENT IS TO MANAGE THE AFFAIRS OF PEOPLE, WHICH CANNOT HAPPEN ON THEIR OWN IN A WAY THAT IS EQUITABLE AND FAIR, AND THAT TO DO SO ENTAILS THE CREATION OF JOBS. JOBS AND AIRPORTS, JOBS AT PORTS, JOBS AT HOSPITALS AND ON HIGHWAYS AND IN SCHOOLS: THESE JOBS ARE ALL OUTGROWTHS OF POLICIES THAT ARE ESTABLISHED BY GOVERNMENT AND TRACEABLE TO REGULATION.)

"Instead of making the environment drastically better, the president's strategy will make the climate for unemployed Americans even worse," Sen. John Barrasso, R-Wyo., said in a statement. "The American people have made it clear that they want Washington to focus on the economy and make it easier for them to find good jobs. Once again, President Obama is completely ignoring their concerns -- and doubling down today on extreme regulations that will put more Americans out of work."

(YES, WELL. THE FOX "NEWS" REPORT DEFAULTS TO THE MESSAGE THAT HAS WORKED SO WELL, TO CEMENT THE POSITIONS OF THE EXTREME RIGHT: THE DEMOCRATS ARE OUT OF TOUCH, OBAMA DOESN'T LISTEN TO REPUBLICANS, AND BRANDS REGULATORY APPROACHES TO PROTECT PEOPLE AND JOBS AS THE REVERSE: EXTREME MEASURES THAT KILL JOBS.)

In a counterpoint of sorts to the report, Barrasso and other congressional Republicans representing western states released their own findings later Tuesday morning highlighting state efforts to protect the environment. The report highlights local air and water policies, and criticizes "one-size-fits-all" regulations it accuses the administration of imposing.

The administration's latest report comes as the administration battles congressional Republicans over its climate agenda. A day earlier, White House counselor John Podesta warned that attempts by congressional lawmakers to block the administration's climate action plan will fail.

Podesta told reporters during a briefing at the White House that President Obama is committed to moving forward with controversial Clean Air Act regulations to cut carbon dioxide emissions for all new coal and gas-fired power plants.

Republicans have branded the president's climate plan as a "war on coal" and have sponsored legislation to roll back planned Environmental Protection Agency greenhouse gas standards they argue will harm the nation's economy.

"They'll find various ways, particularly in the House, to try to stop us from using the authority we have under the Clean Air Act. All I would say is that those have zero percent chance of working. We're committed to moving forward with those rules," Podesta said.

The report also comes as the administration delays a decision on the controversial Canada-to-Texas Keystone pipeline. Environmentalists oppose it, but Republicans and some Democrats are pressuring the administration to approve it.

The climate report looked at regional and state-level effects of global warming, compared with recent reports from the United Nations that lumped all of North America together. A draft of the report was released in January 2013, but this version has been reviewed by more scientists, the National Academy of Science and 13 government agencies and had public comment.

Even though the nation's average temperature has risen by as much as 1.9 degrees since record keeping began in 1895, it's in the big, wild weather where the average person feels climate change the most, said co-author Katharine Hayhoe, a Texas Tech University climate scientist. Extreme weather like droughts, storms and heat waves hit us in the pocketbooks and can be seen by our own eyes, she said.

And it's happening a lot more often lately.

The report says the intensity, frequency and duration of the strongest Atlantic hurricanes have increased since the early 1980s, but it is still uncertain how much of that is from man-made warming.

(UNCERTAINTY, AGAIN, FUELS THE FOX NEWS AUDIENCE. AND IT IS THE APPEAL TO UNCERTAINTY THROUGH WHICH THE FINAL PARAGRAPH FILTERS.)

Winter storms have increased in frequency and intensity and shifted northward since the 1950s, it says. Also, heavy downpours are increasing -- by 71 percent in the Northeast. Heat waves, such as those in Texas in 2011 and the Midwest in 2012, are projected to intensify nationwide. Droughts in the Southwest are expected to get stronger. Sea level has risen 8 inches since 1880 and is projected to rise between 1 foot and 4 feet by 2100.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

How about that Charlie Crist: Bigots are a ‘big reason’ I left GOP.

Rick or Charlie - either way no real leadership.

Anonymous said...

…" Gov. Rick Scott has said he does not believe climate change is real. As a result, the state Department of Environmental Protection has no specific programs aimed at dealing with climate change. Spokeswoman Dee Ann Miller said the agency has "various programs . . . indirectly working on projects and collecting data that may be used for the purposes of studying climate change."
http://www.tampabay.com/news/weather/florida-squarely-in-cross-hairs-of-climate-change-new-report-says/2178516

Anonymous said...

Charlie is such an embarrassment! It even makes me sad to look at him make such a fool of himself.