It's the media, stupid.A local anti-fur rally I participated in years ago was attended by about 100 animal activists and a clique of 10 or so fur supporters, recruited by the fur show we were picketing. The local paper, which carried ads for all the local furriers, juxtaposed jux·ta·pose
tr.v. jux·ta·posed, jux·ta·pos·ing, jux·ta·pos·es
To place side by side, especially for comparison or contrast. news photos of the two groups, giving the impression they were of equal size--and making sure to focus on the most unkempt individuals in the anti-fur crowd.
I noted the same media tendency years later when I marched in Washington against the U.S.-backed Contra war in Nicaragua. There were zillions more protestors than there were flag-waving "patriots," but many papers played that down, quoting the low estimates for the numbers of protestors, and running photos that misrepresented the relative attendance numbers.
Things haven't changed--and are arguably much worse. Watching Fox, ABC ABC
in full American Broadcasting Co.
Major U.S. television network. It began when the expanding national radio network NBC split into the separate Red and Blue networks in 1928. , NBC NBC
in full National Broadcasting Co.
Major U.S. commercial broadcasting company. It was formed in 1926 by RCA Corp., General Electric Co. (GE), and Westinghouse and was the first U.S. company to operate a broadcast network. , CBS--even the supposedly liberal CNN--you'd never guess that there's overwhelming scientific consensus that climate change is indeed happening, and that irresponsible human behavior is partly to blame. Instead, a parade of conservative news and talk show hosts, along with their hand picked commentators, throws up an endless array of smoke and mirrors calculated to muddle the issue with the illusion that the "jury is still out."
I was delighted at comedian Al Franken's recent victory against Fox, which sued him for using their supposedly trademarked phrase, "Fair and Balanced "Fair and Balanced" is a trademarked slogan used by American news broadcaster Fox News Channel. The slogan was originally used in conjunction with the phrase "Real Journalism. ," in his book, Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them: A Fair and Balanced Look at the Right. "Two all-beef patties, special sauce, lettuce, cheese, pickles, onions on a sesame seed bun" might pass for a trademark. "Fair and Balanced?" Hardly. These conservative commentators are some of the lyingest liars in the media profession.
The truly unbalanced media coverage that Americans now numbly accept (remember the "embedded journalists" in Iraq?) has everything to do with why most people are still not sure what to make of climate change--or, for that matter, a whole host of important issues. Progressive voices are either not invited to--or are shouted down--in those form over-substance programs like Hardball with Chris Matthews Hardball with Chris Matthews is a talk show on MSNBC broadcast weekdays at 5 and 7 PM hosted by Chris Matthews. It originally aired on now-defunct America's Talking (as "Politics with Chris Matthews") and later CNBC. and The O'Reilly Factor. Between that, and the gargantuan gar·gan·tu·an
Of immense size, volume, or capacity; gigantic. See Synonyms at enormous.
huge or enormous [after Gargantua, a giant in Rabelais' coverage given to J-Lo and Ben, the environment gets very short shrift in the mainstream media.
Even though the airwaves are a public trust, the demise of the Fairness Doctrine fairness doctrine: see equal-time rule. and the recent FCC (1) (Federal Communications Commission, Washington, DC, www.fcc.gov) The U.S. government agency that regulates interstate and international communications including wire, cable, radio, TV and satellite. The FCC was created under the U.S. ruling allowing even greater corporate media ownership have ensured that only a few privileged voices are heard. Blatant unfairness--like giving Arnold Schwarzenegger but not his rivals a Time cover and access to Oprah--rules the day. Journalism has lost its soul as media has increasingly consolidated under the umbrella of large corporations that put the interests of their investors and advertisers above all else, while also following Washington's official line.
So, here's a form of environmental activism, though it may not seem one: Join the efforts of Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting Fairness & Accuracy In Reporting (FAIR) is a media criticism organization based in New York, New York, founded in 1986.
FAIR describes itself on its website as "the national media watch group" and defines its mission as working to "invigorate the First Amendment by , Free Press and others in mobilizing a movement for media reform. A great place to start is at the National Conference on Media Reform, in Madison, Wisconsin November 7 to 9. For more information, go to www.mediareform.net.