Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Global Warming Bumped by Anna and the Astronaut Scandal

Matthew Nisbet reports on his blog Framing Science that the week after the release of the IPCC report on climate change, the issue failed to make it into the top five news stories. According to the News Coverage Index of the Project for Excellent in Journalism, Iraq policy and events, Smith's death, the presidential campaign, and the obsessed astronaut in diapers, pushed global warming out of the spotlight. (Well, I guess it really doesn't get much better than an obsessed astronaut in diapers allegedly attempting to commit murder.)

As Nisbet points out, there was plenty to report on global warming in the aftermath of the IPCC report, including the fact that both British Prime Minister Tony Blair and German PM Andrea Merkel both said they will be pushing for greater action. But it was all Anna all the time on the cable news channels, as a disgruntled Jack Cafferty himself pointed out on CNN. On air, according to the PEJ, he said, "That’s the only story we reported [yesterday] for two solid hours and we weren’t the only ones. . .Her death was tabloid gold and apparently, we just couldn’t help ourselves.”

Commenting on the tabloid sensitibility of the cable networks, none other than Bill O'Reilly pointed out on his Fox News radio talk show today that when Robert Kennedy, Jr.'s airplane went down years ago, his network focused a camera on the waters off of Long Island for hours on end. They went with that story for an interminable period — with little other than wave-tossed waters to show. Maybe they hoped that the body would just bob to the surface. This time around, they got their body, when Anna Nicole's so-called "death video" turned up (showing her being administered CPR as she was rushed to an ambulance).

How could the single biggest threat to our planet's life support system ever hope to compete?

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