By Barbara Kessler
Green Right Now
Today, I’d hoped to write a story about the big Earth Day celebration in D.C. with its war whoops for a climate bill — or climate solutions.
Indeed, there was a major 40th Anniversary Earth Day celebration in D.C.
Tens of thousands attended. There were strong calls for change. But sadly, this event seems not to have captured the imagination of the media.
The Washington Post carried a story that gave the flavor of the event, and quoted a few people explaining what it was all about. However, the story was heavy on band reviews — Sting got a compliment for his “nuanced performance” — and light on political details. I mean I love Jimmy Cliff and John Legend too, but really, what did Jesse Jackson, James Cameron and James Hansen say, about you know, climate change? The story quaintly mentioned that “Congress-folk” took the stage. I wonder what those people had to say too.
I pick on The Washington Post here only because we turn to them for political coverage. (And maybe the rally was a lot of mush-mush rhetoric. God knows those Congress-folk can be circuitous.) It’s really the overall sweep of coverage that’s most concerning, and I fear that this is part of a larger message malaise around climate change. My local news did not mention the rally. I didn’t pick it up on the CNN evening news. (I didn’t watch all day). And apparently I’m not alone.
Here’s Bill from Middleton, Wisc., looking in at The New York Times online coverage (which did cover the rally) on Sunday:
So proud to be the first commenter, if I’m the first, at 3:38 p.m. CDT. I typed in “climate” and “rally” in Google News and got four stories. If this had been a tea partier rave with a much smaller turnout, how many hundreds if not thousands of stories would there have been? Fox would have covered it wall to wall.
Another dent in the myth of liberal media bias.
And here’s Paul, from Illinois, replying:
Bill from Wisconsin….My thoughts exactly! As I’m reading the story it occurred to me that the scroll on the bottom on the screen this afternoon on CNN and MSNBC, (during the Coal Miners Memorial), didn’t even allude to today’s rally. Yet, as you said, if it were a few hundred tea klux klanners screaming nonsense and holding mean-spirited signs, my God, how much coverage would have been given? Indeed, another dent in the myth of the liberal media bias. I’m off to complain–again–to CNN.
So I wasn’t the only one perplexed about how such a large event, on this over-arching topic, could fly under the radar.
I have a theory though. As a nation, we’ve settled into political trenches. Bill and Paul have it right, we’re busy watching Fox News and railing about the liberals. Or busy watching MSNBC and railing about the right wing. We like the really contentious stuff. We’re transfixed by fringe elements. Environmentalism doesn’t sate our thirst for drama. It’s going mainstream. Clean energy, especially, has support all around. A recent wind power poll released last week found that 89 percent of Americans think increasing wind power is “a good idea”.
And yet, as Congress readies its Climate/Clean Energy bill, we’d all best pay attention. Word is the bill gives enough bouquets to fossil fuel interests to outfit a funeral — ours. We public-folk need to stay in the game, even when the media’s not wrestling the details to the surface.
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