Corporate Media Fiddle as the Planet Burns

Corporate Media Fiddle as the Planet Burns

Disclosure: As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. This page may contain affiliate links, which means I may receive a commission if you click a link and purchase something that I have recommended. There is no additional cost to you whatsoever.

Editor’s notice: We invited Project Censored to spotlight 5 environmental information tales that ought to have made headlines.

Since its institution in 1976, Project Censored has tracked pervasive patterns of omission in company information protection, together with how the nation’s most outstanding information retailers fail to tell the general public about systemic social inequalities, consolidation of company energy, and alternate options to neoliberal financial insurance policies. Important environmental tales are sometimes omitted or coated solely partially owing to a mixture of those elements.

Although the company media do cowl environmental points, these stories seldom emphasize the connections between environmental points — lots of that are international in scope — and the on a regular basis workings of the U.S. financial system, which emphasizes company pursuit of earnings on one hand and a tradition of consumerism on the opposite. Environmental tales that don’t match right into a tidy “pink versus blue” political framework are even much less prone to be coated by the nation’s largest information retailers.

For practically 50 years, Project Censored has revealed an annual report on a very powerful however underreported information tales. These lists, revealed in our yearbook series and archived on the Project Censored web site, show each the gaps in company information reporting and the significance of unbiased journalism that informs the general public about these in any other case uncared for points. (Read our full clarification of the Project’s story identification and vetting process.)

This yr’s story checklist, revealed in State of the Free Press 2023, contains 5 vital environmental tales that had been solely delivered to mild by the dogged work and dedication of unbiased journalists and information retailers. Here we offer the sources of and capsule summaries for every story.

“Smart Ocean” Technology Endangers Whales and Intensifies Climate Change

Koohan Paik-Mander, “Whales Will Save the World’s Climate—Unless the Military Destroys Them First,” BuzzFlash (by way of the Independent Media Institute’s Local Peace Economy mission), December 13, 2021.

Joint army and trade efforts to develop new ocean applied sciences and infrastructure — which engineers and advocates name the “sensible ocean” — could have deadly penalties for whales, considerably undermining their “indispensable function” in sequestering carbon and mitigating local weather disaster.

Plenty of company information retailers, together with Newsweek and Slate, have coated scientific stories on the function of whales in capturing carbon and mitigating local weather change. But Koohan Paik-Mander’s report is uncommon for exhibiting the hyperlinks between new “sensible ocean” applied sciences, catastrophic declines in whale populations, and the local weather disaster.

Wealthy Nations Continue to Drive Climate Change, With Devastating Impacts on Poorer Countries

Sonja Klinsky, “Climate Change Is a Justice Issue—These 6 Charts Show Why,” The Conversation, November 3, 2021.
Tawanda Karombo, “These African Countries Are Among the World’s Worst Hit by Climate Change,” Quartz Africa, January 27, 2021.

In a November 2021 article for The Conversation, Sonja Klinsky outlined how and why poorer areas of the world are disproportionately affected by local weather change. Wealthier nations, such because the U.S., Canada, and Australia, launch roughly 100 occasions the per-capita greenhouse gasoline emissions as many African international locations, but the impacts of this harm have lengthy fallen on the shoulders of probably the most weak victims of local weather change.

In 2019, based on a Quartz Africa report by Tawanda Karombo in 2021, Mozambique, Zimbabwe, and Niger all skilled drastic, unpredictable modifications in temperature and precipitation, inflicting meals shortages, financial disasters, and tons of of avoidable fatalities. These international locations bear little accountability for perilous greenhouse gasoline emissions however have the fewest assets accessible to deal with the implications of local weather change.

Corporate information retailers resembling Time and the New York Times have began overlaying environmental racism within the United States. This protection, nevertheless, usually fails to deal with how the U.S. and different international locations within the Global North have successfully “colonized” the global atmosphere, selling their very own financial development on the expense of fundamental residing situations in different nations.

At Least 128 Members of Congress Invested in Fossil Fuel Industry

David Moore, “Senators Cling to Fossil Fuel Stocks as World Heats Up,” Sludge, November 5, 2021.
David Moore, “GOP Rep Picks up Millions in Pipeline Stock,” Sludge, December 10, 2021.
David Moore, “At Least 100 House Members Are Invested in Fossil Fuels,” Sludge, December 29, 2021.
Julia Rock and Andrew Perez, “Lauren Boebert’s Anti-Climate Legislation Is a Self-Enrichment Scheme,” Jacobin, September 13, 2021.

At least 100 U.S. Representatives and 28 Senators have monetary pursuits within the fossil gas trade. While extra Republicans than Democrats are invested within the fossil gas trade, “Senate Democrats come clean with $8,604,000 in fossil gas property, greater than double the Senate Republicans’ $3,994,126 in fossil gas property,” David Moore reported. Many of the Congressional leaders with investments maintain seats on necessary committees, multiplying each their affect and the extent of the conflicts between their monetary pursuits as buyers and their duties as elected representatives of the general public.

Corporate information retailers report that clear power laws is “stalled” in Congress, however not the monetary conflicts of curiosity which might be the doubtless reason for this lack of progress.

EPA Withheld Reports on Dangerous Chemicals

Sharon Lerner, “EPA Withheld Reports of Substantial Risk Posed by 1,240 Chemicals,” The Intercept, November 1, 2021.
A. Crunden, “EPA’s Failure to Disclose Chemical Health Risks Draws Ire,” E & E News, January 5, 2022.

Between January 2019 and November 2021, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) acquired greater than 1,200 legally required disclosures about chemical compounds that current a “substantial danger of harm to well being or the surroundings.” All however certainly one of EPA’s stories on these chemical compounds had been withheld from the general public, Sharon Lerner reported in a November 2021 Intercept article. E.A. Cruden of E&E News was the primary to report on a lawsuit filed by Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER), pressuring the EPA to publicly reveal TCSA part 8(e) stories below the Freedom of Information Act.

Notably, in February 2022, after PEER’s grievance was filed, the EPA introduced that it might resume publishing 8(e) substantial danger stories. Had it not been for the work of the Intercept’s Sharon Lerner, EPA whistleblowers wouldn’t have had a platform to share considerations that finally led the company to renew these important public disclosures.

Fossil Fuel Industry Subsidized at Rate of $11 Million per Minute

Damian Carrington, “Fossil Fuel Industry Gets Subsidies of $11M a Minute, IMF Finds,” The Guardian, October 6, 2021.
Eduardo Garcia, “Fossil Fuel Companies Receive $11 Million a Minute in Subsidies, New Report Reveals,” Treehugger, October 21, 2021.

A complete research of 191 nations, revealed by the International Monetary Fund in September 2021, discovered that globally the fossil gas trade receives subsidies of $11 million per minute. Fossil gas firms acquired $5.9 trillion in subsidies in 2020, with help projected to rise to $6.4 trillion by 2025, based on the IMF report.

Some of the subsidies are direct — together with insurance policies that cut back costs and supply tax exemptions — however the vital majority of subsidies are oblique, together with lack of legal responsibility for the well being prices of lethal air pollution and damages attributable to excessive climate occasions linked to local weather change.

“It’s important that governments cease propping up an trade that’s in decline,” Mike Coffin, a senior analyst at Carbon Tracker, advised the Guardian, which reported that ending fossil gas subsidies would forestall “practically 1,000,000 deaths a yr from soiled air” and lift “trillions of {dollars} for governments.”

As Project Censored finalized its 2021-2022 story checklist, not one company information outlet had coated the IMF’s report on the adverse social and environmental penalties of more and more large authorities subsidies for Big Oil.

What Can You Do?

How would possibly our shared prospects for 2023 and past look completely different if the institution press did a greater job of informing the U.S. public about environmental points? Answers to that query will take time as a result of they rely upon systemic modifications in company information protection, starting with extra inclusive working definitions of who and what rely as “newsworthy.”

In the meantime, past calling on company information retailers to do higher, individuals in search of reliable and fascinating journalism ought to direct their consideration — and help — to unbiased information retailers, resembling these highlighted right here and in earlier editions of Project Censored’s annual story lists. By constantly connecting the dots between company affect, consumer culture, and environmental points, unbiased information retailers play an important, if oblique, function in serving to to construct broad, inclusive actions for progressive social change, together with options to our most urgent environmental points.

About the Authors

Andy Lee Roth is affiliate director of Project Censored, the place he coordinates the Project’s Campus Affiliates Program, a analysis community of a number of hundred college students and college at two dozen schools and universities throughout North America. He is the coauthor of The Media and Me, a e book on important media literacy for younger individuals.

Mickey Huff is director of Project Censored and coauthor of United States of Distraction, Let’s Agree to Disagree, and The Media and Me. He co-hosts the Project Censored Show and teaches social science, historical past, and journalism at Diablo Valley College.