Media need to do better on explaining climate crisis

Posted: Aug. 6, 2019 3:40 pm

To The Herald-Whig:

Is this newspaper, the one you are reading now, being irresponsible? How about the TV stations you watch? Are the U.S. media covering the possible "collapse of our civilization and the extinction of much of the natural world?"

The answer is yes, the news media are being irresponsible for not covering this climate crisis. The above quote is from David Attenborough, a noted environmentalist, in his speech to the United Nations climate summit in Poland. The accusation is the conclusion of Covering Climate Now, a project of the Nation magazine and the Columbia Journalism Review.

The media need to do better not only to explain how the climate crisis is affecting us now but also "to counter the tsunami of deceptive propaganda unleashed by fossil-fuel companies and the mercenaries, ideologues, and politicians who do their bidding." (Bill Moyers, the Nation.)

Moyers' article, "What if Reporters Covered the Climate Crisis Like Murrow Covered World War II?," reminds us that the "Murrow Boys" defied their bosses and reported the invasion of Poland by Hitler when all the bosses wanted were feel-good stories for their readers at home.

The question is what is journalism for, if not for telling us what we need to know?

Steve Miller

Nauvoo, Ill.