When It Comes to Environmentalism, We Don’t Really Get News

Believe it or not, this Josh Lederman Associated Press article made it to the front page, above the fold, of today’s Providence Journal, and it’s difficult to think of a better example of the fact that “news” on environment-related issues is less a means of informing the public about current events than it is a vessel for the propaganda produced by activists and Democrat partisans.  One need go no farther than the headline and lede that the Projo pins on the story:

U.S., China unveil new emissions targets
Ambitious antipollution goals seen as global breakthrough, but GOP-led Congress sure to mount opposition

Even using the word “targets” is debatable, here.  Sure President Obama is committing his country (after he’s gone) to cut emissions by more than a quarter by 2025 (from 2005 levels), which is a modification of his previous pledge of a 17% decrease by 2020.  That’s either a reckless declaration of disastrous policy or political illusion-making, plucking numbers out of thin air while pushing back the date a few years.

It’s on the Chinese side, though, that “targets” seems truly inapplicable:

Chinese President Xi Jinping, whose country’s emissions are still growing as it builds new coal plants, didn’t commit to cut emissions by a specific amount. Rather, he set a target for China’s emissions to peak by 2030, or earlier if possible.

In other words, Chinese officials have given some lip service to the notion of stopping their country’s increase in emissions in sixteen years, if it works out that way.

Moving on to the lede, note the passive voice of the first clause.  By whom are these goals “seen as a global breakthrough”?  Well, by the Democrats and environmental activists (between whom Lederman doesn’t make much distinction).  The passive voice makes it seem as if either broad public consensus or some objective authority has assessed the lip service as a “breakthrough.”

As for the GOP dig, the lede is actually the first of three lamentations of opposition that the article provides before allowing any Republicans to speak for themselves.  Finally, almost at the very end of the article (no longer on the front page, of course), we get this:

“This unrealistic plan, that the president would dump on his successor, would ensure higher utility rates and far fewer jobs,” said incoming Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky.

Here’s a significant differentiation between news and propaganda: For the former, concerns about the agreement would appear within the first few paragraphs, and the lede would have read, “Democrats, activists hail ‘breakthrough,’ Republicans warn of costs and job losses.”

As it is, it’s difficult not to conclude that your jobs and your families’ wellbeing aren’t very important to mainstream journalists, and that they don’t think you can be trusted with straight reportage.


Of the following two issues related to Rhode Island’s public schools, which one is a greater concern?

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