Tuesday, July 17, 2012
Avoiding the words “global warming” puts editors behind the curve
by Larry Geller
The AP gives its members plenty of opportunity to exercise their biases. For example, on p. A3 of today’s Star-Advertiser is a story with the screaming headline “AMERICA PARCHED.’ It’s similar to a couple of versions that Google will find for you out there.
The selected story probably does a good enough job of drawing attention to the drought that currently grips so much of the country, and compares it to the droughts of the 1930’s and 1950’s. Those droughts may or may not have been worse than the current situation, but it’s only July and we’re not out of it yet.
Of course, much of the right-leaning press wants to avoid the two words “global warming” or even “cllimate change.” The story the S-A chose uses neither. The closest another version came was this:
"I have never seen this type of weather before like this. A lot of old timers haven't either," [cattle rancher Brian] Baalman said. "I just think we are seeing history in the making."
[ap.org, Drought now grips more than half of the nation, 7/16/2012]
I’ll venture that most readers are aware of “global warming,” so it’s kind of amusing to see newspaper editors go to such lengths to maintain an ideology that they have no chance of imposing on the reading public.
This is just one article. Let’s see how the S-A handles future articles. And no, I did not sit down and do a comprehensive review of all their coverage. I’ve read many articles on-line that similarly omit “global warming” and will just see how it goes with our daily paper as time goes on. They are not alone in this.
And they could do better.