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Does ACCCE money speak with the Washington Post?

May 2nd, 2010 · 1 Comment

Several months ago, The Washington Post editorial page ever so innocently asked:

What’s going on?

The issue at hand: that scientists are clear as to the realities of human impacts on the climate but the public is confused.

Contrary to what you may have read lately, there are few reputable scientists who would disagree with anything in that first paragraph. Yet suddenly we’re hearing that climate change is in doubt and that action to combat it is unlikely. What’s going on?

What The Post‘s editorial board failed to address (even hint at acknowledging) is their own institution’s role in fostering confusion and giving a podium to those intent on confusing the public about the scientific discussion of climate change and its policy implications. One can simply wonder at the audacity of asking that simple question, with such an innocent tone, considering the column inches given over to the likes of Sarah Palin, Bjorn Lomborg, George Will, and … With having dedicated so much of their newspaper to promoting a Faux and Balanced discussion, is there really any reason to wonder “What’s going on?”

This past week, this press release went out:

The Washington Post, the leading source on politics, today introduces a new politics homepage, The new site offers the best compendium of U.S. political news, as well as the in-depth, original reporting and analysis that has made The Post Washington’s top online destination for politics. ….

“If you care about American politics, you’ll want to bookmark PostPolitics or make it your homepage,” said Washington Post Executive Editor Marcus Brauchli. “No other politics website in the capital reaches more people than we do, and the reason is our depth, our expertise and our talent. The new site builds on that.”

Amid the typically glowing pablum, one (sadly) quite interesting item:

The American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity is the Washington Post’s exclusive launch sponsor of

It would be laughable if it weren’t so sad. The coal industry bought access to the 2008 political campaign by sponsoring presidential debates. It has spent $100s of millions bringing us things like Santas handing out “clean coal” and “clean coal” carolers. The ACCCE, since its “founding” a few years ago, has been right in the center of this effort to white wash coal’s deadly impacts and ACCCE has been, for example, implicated in such above-board tactics as the sending of letters to Members of Congress using organizations’ letter heads without permission.

The opening days of Post Politics featured ads blaring about the “clean coal” and other deceptions from the “exclusive sponsor”.

As of yet, based on the searches that I’ve done, Post Politics has yet to cover coal or the coal industry thus the “exclusive sponsor”‘s direct impact on reporting is, as of yet, unknown.

From that Post press release

“What we bring to the often muddled political landscape is a clarity that is unmatched and an authority you can trust,” said Washington Post National Editor Kevin Merida.

Sorry, Kevin, but the Post’s tradition of faux and balanced reporting on what is likely the most serious challenge of of this century (catastrophic climate chaos) calls into question that “unmatched authority” and whether one can “trust” that “authority”. Jumping into this new endeavor with the ACCCE as the Post’s “exclusive sponsor” doesn’t generate confidence that the site will turn around the Post’s role in the “going on” of public increasing confused about climate change as the scientific community becomes ever more certain.

NOTE: Two truly excellent new books in this domain which I am planning to review.

  • Naomi Oreskes & Erik M Conway, Merchants of DOUBT: How a handful of scientists obscured the truth on issues from tobacco to Global Warming. This is a powerful book, laying out the clearly the truth that enabled the satiric film: Thank you for smoking. Cynical, misguided, manipulative, destructive, diabolical are just a few words merited for the scientists at the center of concerted campaigns to create confusion and misdirection in American (and global) society about issues of, literally, life and death. Powerfully written, compelling, damning, and important … a high recommend …
  • Stephen H Schneider, Science as a Contact Sport: inside the battle to save Earth’s climate provides a window, from what of the world’s leading scientists who has been immersed in climate science for decades. Schneider’s book reads like a who’s who of the world’s greatest scientists, providing a perspective on the challenge of communicating climate science from scientific meetings, to the Reagan White House, to the Johnny Carson show.

Hat-tip to Brendan DeMelle at DeSmogBlog with Washington Post Teams with Dirty Coal Front Group ACCCE on Launch.  And, a third book to highlight: Climate Cover-Up: The Crusade to Deny Global Warming

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Tags: Energy · Washington Post

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