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Monday, April 22, 2013

Griper Blade: Overlooked Earth Day

Solar panels
Given the awful week we just went through, it might be easy to overlook Earth Day. After all, terrorist bombings and exploding fertilizer plants and a congress more interested in saving gun manufacturers' profits than in saving American lives aren't problems to be solved by reducing carbon emissions. But the truth is that we need to remember Earth Day now more than ever. If we don't have a survivable environment, none of these other problems will matter. Earth Day comes at a perfect time -- just when we start to lose sight of the importance of the environment, we're reminded that all other problems are of secondary importance.

Fortunately, we're able to walk and chew gum at the same time -- i.e., we don't have to solve problems one at a time, in order of importance. We can deal with terrorism and corporate anarchy and gun fetishism and the environment at once. It's really not that hard. Or, at least, it shouldn't be. But our media makes it more difficult. It's not that the media can't walk and chew gum at the same time -- newspapers prove the opposite. We don't get a big log of paper devoted to one, single subject  on our doorsteps every day. But the electronic media; now there's an example of a one-track mind. The explosion in West, Texas proves that. In any normal circumstance, it would be the story of the year -- but it was unfortunately overshadowed by another tragedy.

Now, I want you to consider how TV coverage of the Boston bomb attacks went. Think back. When you tuned into your favorite cable news network, you spent one helluva lot of time watching talking heads say nothing. They'd learn something new, take the few minutes it took to report that, then yack and yack and yack about nothing. In fact, if you remember correctly, you'll remember that TV media mostly talked about their own coverage; "We're hearing a lot of conflicting reports, so we'll keep you up-to-date when things get clearer." It's an oddity that cable news won't cut away from a story -- even when they have nothing to say -- but the purpose of that is to keep eyes on screens. If you turn on CNN to get news about The Big Story and they're talking about something else, you're switching over to MSNBC. Ratings bias kicks in and we all wind up watching big piles of nothing...[CLICK TO READ FULL POST]

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