"The level of dissembling -- of outright falsifying of information, of greedy appeal to fear tactics that has stalled meaningful action now for 20 years -- is hard to wrap one's mind around. It is so far removed from legitimate analysis that it confounds for its devilishly simple appeal to the lowest common denominator of disinformation.
"In the face of a massive and growing body of scientific evidence that says catastrophic climate change is knocking at our door, the naysayers just happily tell us climate change doesn't exist. In the face of melting glaciers and ice caps in the Arctic, Greenland and Antarctica, they say we need to 'warm up to the truth.' And in the face of animals disappearing at alarming rates, they would have us adopt an 'ostrich' policy and simply bury our heads in the sand. ...
"Al Gore spoke of the 'assault on reason.' Well, Exhibit A is staring us in the face: Coalitions of politicians and special interests that peddle science fiction over science fact. A paid-for, multi-million dollar effort that twists and turns the evidence until it's gnarled beyond recognition.- Advertisement -
"And tidal waves of cash that back a status quo of recklessness and inaction over responsibility and change. In short, it's a story of disgraceful denial, back-pedaling and delay that has brought us perilously close to a climate change catastrophe. ...
"What's worse, we've stood by and let it all happen -- we've treated falsehood with complacence and allowed a conspiracy of silence on climate change to infiltrate our politics. ...
"The conspiracy of silence that now characterizes Washington's handling of the climate issue is dangerous. Climate change is one of two or three of the most serious threats our country now faces, if not the most serious, and the silence that has enveloped a once robust debate is staggering for its irresponsibility.- Advertisement -
"The costs of inaction get more and more expensive the longer we wait -- and the longer we wait, the less likely we are to avoid the worst and leave future generations with a sustainable planet."
So what was the reaction to Kerry's address? It got some notice on blogs, especially those dedicated to climate-change issues, but received almost no attention from the mainstream news media.
Ten days after Kerry's speech, the Washington area was struck by a "derecho," a weather event virtually unknown to the people of the region. This straight line of fierce thunderstorms uprooted trees and knocked down power lines leaving much of the sweltering capital area in the dark and without air conditioning.
The devastation -- along with forest fires in Colorado and 100-degree heat over much of the country -- got lots of attention from the news media. But there was almost no discussion of the why.
Granted, no specific weather event can be traced directly to global warming, but climate scientists have been saying for years that the gradual increase in temperatures will be accompanied by more and more extreme weather patterns, exactly what the United States and much of the world are experiencing.
Yet, just as the U.S. news media failed the country in 2003 by caving to the Right's pressure on the Iraq invasion, American journalism is now failing future generations by cowering in front of the loud voices of powerful climate-change deniers.