Conflict Hungry Media Feeds on (and Reinforces) the Two Americas Of Global Warming Perceptions
Everywhere you look, polarized views from the tail ends of the bell curve of opinion on climate change are being picked up by the media. Indeed, only at a few outlets like the NY Times, WPost, or NPR can Americans get that "invisible middle" of views on the issue. Unfortunately, these are not the outlets that reach the wider public.
Consider the stories linked to at the Drudge Report today, one of the major agenda-setters, especially for cable news and political talk radio.
From a Vanity Fair article excerpting the script of Leonardo DiCaprio's upcoming documentary The 11th Hour (see note at end of post):
So, we find ourselves on the brink. It's clear humans have had a devastating impact on our planet's ecological web of life. Because we've waited, because we've turned our backs on nature's warning signs, and because our political and corporate leaders have consistently ignored the overwhelming scientific evidence, the challenges we face are that much more difficult. We are in the environmental age whether we like it or not.
From a columnist at the conservative NY Daily Sun reporting on the Coal Association meetings (no joke):
One of the guest speakers was Bob Murray, founder and CEO of Murray Energy Corporation and probably one of the few CEOs brave enough to challenge the militant climate control movement that threatens the future of America's economy. In his speech, he dared to say that he regards Al Gore as the shaman of global doom and gloom. He is not joking when he says, "He is more dangerous than his global warming."
From a column at Real Clear Politics by William F. Buckley:
The heavy condemnatory breathing on the subject of global warming outdoes anything since high moments of the Inquisition....Critics are correct in insisting that human enterprises have an effect on climate. What they cannot at this point do is specify exactly how great the damage is, nor how much relief would be effected by specific acts of natural propitiation.
The whole business is eerily religious in feel. Back in the 15th century, the question was: Do you believe in Christ? It was required in Spain by the Inquisition that the answer should be affirmative, leaving to one side subsidiary specifications. It is required today to believe that carbon-dioxide emissions threaten the basic ecological balance. The assumption then is that inasmuch as a large proportion of the damage is man-made, man-made solutions are necessary. But it is easy to see, right away, that there is a problem in devising appropriate solutions, and in allocating responsibility for them.
(Note: I will be tracking DiCaprio's movie, and indicators of its impact, pretty closely. As I wrote in a recent report by the Center for Social Media and the Ford Foundation, although any film has to get over the barriers of selectivity bias, I believe more and more that it's entertainment media and celebrity culture that will shift mass opinion towards action.)
Malcolm Gladwell teaches "Get over yourself and get to work" for Big Think Edge.
- Learn to recognize failure and know the big difference between panicking and choking.
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Can sensitive coral reefs survive another human generation?
- Coral reefs may not be able to survive another human decade because of the environmental stress we have placed on them, says author David Wallace-Wells. He posits that without meaningful changes to policies, the trend of them dying out, even in light of recent advances, will continue.
- The World Wildlife Fund says that 60 percent of all vertebrate mammals have died since just 1970. On top of this, recent studies suggest that insect populations may have fallen by as much as 75 percent over the last few decades.
- If it were not for our oceans, the planet would probably be already several degrees warmer than it is today due to the emissions we've expelled into the atmosphere.
Research has shown that men today have less testosterone than they used to. What's happening?
- Several studies have confirmed that testosterone counts in men are lower than what they used to be just a few decades ago.
- While most men still have perfectly healthy testosterone levels, its reduction puts men at risk for many negative health outcomes.
- The cause of this drop in testosterone isn't entirely clear, but evidence suggests that it is a multifaceted result of modern, industrialized life.
Michael Dowling, Northwell Health's CEO, believes we're entering the age of smart medicine.
- The United States health care system has much room for improvement, and big tech may be laying the foundation for those improvements.
- Technological progress in medicine is coming from two fronts: medical technology and information technology.
- As information technology develops, patients will become active participants in their health care, and value-based care may become a reality.
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