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How Mainstream Media Fuels Insane Anti-environmentalism

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Message Maura Stephens
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The corporate-state collusionist framing is working. It's not just a few "Tea Party crazies" in Virginia who now think sustainable development is a plot against "the American way." And MSM isn't helping.

The February 3, 2012 piece in the New York Times by Jared Soares titled  "Activists Fight Green Projects, Seeing U.N. Plot"  underscored how successful framing can be.

Even though this framing was used in all the wrong ways by some viciously evil but clever fear-mongers, we can learn from its absurd success. It has apparently convinced many people in states countrywide (not just in the South) that environmental measures are a foreign plot to steal good ol' U.S. Americans' god-given rights to murder the planet one household at a time.

Corporate Media Business as Usual: Uncritical "Reporting"

We should take critical note of how this story was "reported" in the Times. Instead of sending it up as the preposterous propaganda of a fossil-fuel-backed campaign orchestrated to look like a populist movement, the writer waits until paragraph 21 to even mention that "other conservatives" might not agree with the conspiracy believers. The quote used, though, is completely incomprehensible and sheds no light on the matter. 

The next paragraph -- paragraph 22, deep down in the story, is the first to even vaguely introduce a counterargument to the teabaggers' hysteria. And it's just plain wimpy. 

That's not surprising. When it comes to standing up for the environment or common sense, or, indeed, anything that is critical of the radical rightwing, mainstream media like the  NYTimes  fails every time. Why use half-baked terms such as "some local officials argue" and then ease into a gentle suggestion that the environmental programs being protested are actually money-savers?

Why not just come out and say that people are easily hoodwinked, and that this movement is backed by rich and powerful corporations that want to keep us enslaved to fossil fuels and inefficient automobiles until we bake ourselves to a crisp?

This is the usual lazy kind of "reporting" done all too often by MSM that are too timid to take a stand for truth over BS. And why is it only in paragraph 22 that even an attempt is made to show the other side? There should have been a counterargument in paragraph two, or three at latest. SHAME on the "journalist" and editor.

Just before this, in paragraph, 19, the writer inserted the following:

The Republican National Committee resolution, passed without fanfare on Jan. 13, declared, "The United Nations Agenda 21 plan of radical so-called "sustainable development' views the American way of life of private property ownership, single family homes, private car ownership and individual travel choices, and privately owned farms; all as destructive to the environment."

The RNC statement on Agenda 21 shows just how embedded this is crazy thinking, fueled by the extreme rightwing John Birch Society's flagship publication New American. There are obviously a whole lot of people who'll actively and willfully continue to do their personal best to hasten catastrophic global climate change.

Yet the Times writer offers no comment on this, let alone an intelligent rebuttal. No quote from, say, the Center for Media and Democracy's Lisa Graves, who is working so hard to expose ALEC and awaken the nation to the fact that corporations, not people, are writing our environmental and energy laws, or Greenpeace's Phil Radford, or Starhawk, or a grassroots sustainability activist, or independent environmental journalists from Grist or Orion or Sea Change Radio or DeSmog Blog, or any of a number of other unembedded, non-industry-connected individuals. This is lousy journalism at best.

All the radical anti-environmental right did was plant a seed among an uninformed, easily frightened population. They trained a few spokespeople to get up in public meetings and connect a few dots, even as idiotic as these dots-connections are. 

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An independent journalist, theater artist, educator, activist, and public speaker, Maura Stephens writes and presents most regularly about media, environmental issues, and national and international politics. Her work frequently appears in (more...)
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