Ignorance is Strength

As noted in the previous post, there are some slight ripples in the American Press that indicates the American Press Corps has finally woken up. The ‘question as a headline’ phenomena is certainly a good start. But I believe we are about to find out if the press is capable of doing its job, because, as covered in the BBC, the USA is in the process of committing a criminal action of neglect, that if unchecked and uncorrected, will surely lead to the premature deaths of millions. And of course the USA is isolated from the rest of the global community. This is an important story, but question is: Will there be a special tilt in the USA media?

E_F does find a bit of a tilt. It seems slight at first, but, as headlines do often form the reader’s first impressions, they are telling. The BBC headline is “US opposes G8 climate proposals” which gives one the (correct) impression that the USA is going it alone, vs. the New York Times headline reads: “U.S. rejects German proposal to cut carbon emissions” which gives the impression that its USA vs. Germany, or perhaps WWII redux, which is an awfully comforting subtext to a message that should be rather unsettling.

The fact the information is contained in the story itself is heartening, but consider this: those who read the whole article are apt to already be convinced of the importance of this issue, whereas those who just scan the headlines, can easily discard this news item, not getting the least imformed that the USA is becoming deeply isolated on the issue of climate change. It’s probably just the case that the New York Times writers, Helene Cooper and Andrew C. Revkin, (or perhaps their editor) are in denial of how isolated the USA is on this issue, and just didn’t want to write headline that speaks directly to that painful reality. After all, with the Iraq war , there has been plenty of bad headlines about America being isolated. But the New York Times still has a responsibility, a responsibility they belatedly realized they shirked with the Iraq War. Will they continue to shirk their responsibility with respect to the war the Bush administration, and the USA by extension, is waging against the health of the Planet?

From the BBC:

US ‘opposes’ G8 climate proposals

The US appears to have rejected draft proposals by Germany for G8 members to agree tough measures in greenhouse gas emissions, leaked documents have shown. Wide-ranging US amendments to a draft communique prepared ahead of June’s G8 in Germany summit cite a “fundamental opposition” to the proposals.

Germany wants all G8 members to agree timetables and targets for major cuts.

Greenpeace, who leaked the document, said it showed UK PM Tony Blair failed to persuade the US to alter its stance.

In the document, US officials make major changes to the communique.

In comments printed in red ink, the US negotiators express disappointment that earlier concerns have not been taken on board.

  We have tried to ‘tread lightly’ but there is only so far we can go given our fundamental opposition to the German position
US comments on leaked communique

The changes strike out entire sentences and significantly reduce the certainty with which the statement addresses climate change. “The US still has serious, fundamental concerns about this draft statement,” a red-inked note reads.

“The treatment of climate change runs counter to our overall position and crosses ‘multiple red lines’ in terms of what we simply cannot agree to,” it continues.

“We have tried to ‘tread lightly’ but there is only so far we can go given our fundamental opposition to the German position.”

However, in Washington, senior US lawmakers have written to President Bush expressing their dismay at the administration’s position, the AFP news agency reports.

US ‘isolated’

Correspondents say the document hints at a looming struggle over the issue of climate change at the G8 summit, to be held on 6-8 June in Heiligendamm, Germany.

Chancellor Angela Merkel wants to use Germany’s presidency of the G8 to secure a major climate change deal, including:

  • Agreement to slow the rise in average temperatures this century to 2C
  • A cut in global emissions by 50% below 1990 levels by 2050
  • A rise in energy efficiency in power and transport by 20 percent by 2020.

Greenpeace Director John Sauven described the US position as “criminal”.

“The US administration is clearly ignoring the global scientific consensus as well the groundswell of concern about climate change in the United States,” he said.

Mrs Merkel should make it clear the US was isolated on the issue among G8 members, he added.

Ignorance is Strength

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