Register Flirts with Climate Denial

Dear Friends,

I wish Des Moines were Los Angeles. Well, not really. But I wish we had a newspaper that embodied the integrity of the LA Times. Two years ago, the Times announced it would no longer print letters from climate deniers. Wrote editor Paul Thornton: “Simply put, I do my best to keep errors of fact off the letters page; when one does run, a correction is published. Saying ‘there’s no sign humans have caused climate change’ is not stating an opinion, it’s asserting a factual inaccuracy.”

Alas, The Des Moines Register seems content to publish factual inaccuracies, and to fail to reference climate change in stories where to do so amounts to misinforming readers. As the list of people, organizations, businesses and nations who expound the urgency of climate action grows, The Register buries its head deeper in the sand.

I submit to you three pieces of evidence:

1. Today’s Register contains multiple stories on the unprecedented, record-smashing weather in Iowa and across the nation – without even a single mention of climate change!

2. In a story about the latest poll on the Democratic presidential candidates, the Register lists 22 issues and qualities of purported interest to Democratic caucus goers. Neither climate change nor renewable energy are on the list!

3. A story in last week’s Register about the Bakken Oil Pipeline notes that environmentalists object “to developing infrastructure to transport fossil fuels, which they believe contribute to climate change.” (italics mine)

“Believe?” “Contribute to?” Maybe a media outlet could have been forgiven such a claim a decade ago. But it is absolutely an established scientific fact that human activity and the burning of fossil fuels cause climate change. Period. Debate over. Surely, The Register knows this, regardless of whatever crazy, climate-denial talk some of those running for President are inclined to spout.

To put it in perspective, a story claiming that environmentalists believe fossil fuels contribute to climate change makes as much sense as a story that might say:

“The young sailor crossing the Pacific said she believes the Earth to be round,” or

“A man threatening to jump off the Principal Building was coaxed down yesterday as rescue workers convinced him to believe the law of gravity.”

Even as the local corporate-owned paper teeters on the brink of climate denial, the world moves closer to decisive, concrete action. The UN Climate Summit in Paris accomplished an historic step forward, even if the agreement reached doesn’t go far enough. Our challenge now is to push hard for policy and lifestyle changes that keep the projected temperature rise to 1.5 degrees Celsius, and to gird ourselves for the inevitable battle with that Den of Denial known as the US Congress.

Dr. Charles Goldman joins me on today’s Fallon Forum. In addition to discussing “the weather,” we talk with Tom Newmark of the Organic Consumers Association about Monsanto’s recently announced plan to go “carbon neutral.”

And because we can’t help ourselves, we examine the recent rise of Ted Cruz to the driver’s seat in the Republican clown car. Also, since the Right loves to make references to slavery when it comes to things such as Obamacare and abortion, we’ve gotta ask whether the GOP has become analogous to the slaveholder-controlled Democratic Party of the years leading up to the Civil War.

Hear the Fallon Forum live 11:00-12:00 noon CST on KDLF 1260 AM (Des Moines) and online. Call (515) 528-8122 to add your voice to the conversation. The program re-broadcasts Wednesday on KHOI 89.1 FM (Ames) at 4:00 p.m. and Monday at 6:00 a.m. on WHIV 102.3 FM (New Orleans).

Thanks! – Ed Fallon

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