We’ve lived so long under the spell of hierarchy—from god-kings to feudal lords to party bosses—that only recently have we awakened to see not only that “regular” citizens have the capacity for self-governance, but that without their engagement our huge global crises cannot be addressed. The changes needed for human society simply to survive, let alone thrive, are so profound that the only way we will move toward them is if we ourselves, regular citizens, feel meaningful ownership of solutions through direct engagement. Our problems are too big, interrelated, and pervasive to yield to directives from on high.
—Frances Moore Lappé, excerpt from Time for Progressives to Grow Up

Saturday, July 7, 2012

STUDY: Media Avoid Climate Context In Wildfire Coverage [supplemented at 8:00 PM Seattle time]

Click here to access article by Jill Fitzsimmons, Jocelyn Fong, Melody Johnson, and Shauna Theel.

The article provides the details on this study which revealed that...
Only 3 Percent Of Wildfire Coverage Mentioned Long-Term Climate Change Or Global Warming. The major television and print outlets largely ignored climate change in their coverage of wildfires in Colorado, New Mexico and other Western states. All together, only 3 percent of the reports mentioned climate change, including 1.6 percent of television segments and 6 percent of text articles.
We have to go to "Democracy Now!" via Huffington Post to find a discussion about this lack of linkage between the recent catastrophic forest fires, record temperatures, and global warming.  

Democracy Now is an alternative liberal news agency that uses a variety of media including TV, radio, and internet. Note carefully my wordage to describe this news agency: "alternative liberal". Thanks to right-wing ascendency in the US and the influence of Rupert Murdoch's Fox News empire (re-branded as News Corporation) that has successfully used tabloid journalism to seduce its readers, liberal perspectives have largely disappeared from major mainstream media. The only source coming close is MSNBC TV broadcasts which seem to confine their coverage to news and analysis that favors the Democratic Party.

Unfortunately, "Democracy Now!" is not completely independent. In a recent article (You may need to reload the page to get past the funding pitch.) Dr. Stuart Bramhall has confirmed my long held suspicions about this source.  She has uncovered well documented evidence that much of what passes for left media coverage, including "Democracy Now!", in the US is funded, at least in substantial part, by right-wing non-profit institutions such as the Ford Foundation, Council on Foreign Relations, other CIA front organizations, and various liberal foundations

These foundations do this to contain news coverage from targeted media within limits that are acceptable to governing class authorities. Hence, you will never find any questioning of capitalism in Democracy Now!'s programming; and you will note that in their coverage of the fires and global warming, no linkage is made to capitalism. In fact, you will have to look long and hard to find even the word "capitalism" in any of their programs. In other words, given this lack one might easily conclude from following this news source that "there is no alternative"--the mantra of all capitalists.

So, why is a linkage of the present extreme weather and related events to capitalism important? Let me quote some paragraphs written by Paul Messersmith-Glavin from his Foreward to the book entitled Imperiled Life: Revolution against Climate Catastrophe by Javier Sethness-Castro.
The basic structure of capitalism is at the heart of the climate crisis. Carbon emissions, the primary source of our changing climate, are the by-product of industrial production. Capitalism is literally changing the weather. Often, industry is blamed for climate change. People frequently talk about burning oil and coal, or fault cars and factories, but this misses the underlying dynamic that ties all these things together: industry is an expression of a system. Ascending over the last four hundred years, capitalism continues to be the dominant organizing forced in the world, shaping life as we know it. All attempts at slowing--much less stopping--its growth have failed. The emission of climate-changing gases is intrinsic to the capitalist logic. Every day that this continues, the climate will continue to change. The year 2010 saw the highest emission of greenhouse gases in history.
Capitalism is based on a philosophy of "grow or die" and ruthless competition; companies need to continually expand and grow, or they will not survive. It is a system that seeks to maximize profit by exploiting labor as well as treating nature as both a "resource" and garbage dump. Despite all the warning signs--such as news of drought, heat waves, and new species being threatened by changing habitat--and what scientists say, the system marches on, with absolutely no sign of letting up. That is because it cannot change its fundamental nature. It is a form of economic and social organization at odds with nature and human community that has come to shape nearly everything in life, such that we can hardly imagine the possibility of life outside capitalism. It promotes qualities like greed and selfishness, and creates us in its image. Capitalism is more than an economic system; it is a way of life. Maximizing profit at the expense of all else is its very metabolism. To stop catastrophic climate change, we must stop capitalism.