Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Setting the story straight

This morning in the Grand Forks Herald you only got into the op-ed section if you were a Morris from East Grand Forks writing critically of Herald coverage related to recent caucuses across the River in Minnesota. That still included three contributors. Pretty good, I guess. What does this indicate about how the Herald may respond to criticisms like mine on their handling of the issue of climate change?

Hard to say. Obviously they allowed themselves to be taken to task on their pages. Perhaps it points to over-riding care about not getting stories wrong. But then the source of the Morris consternation was a news article, and Herald climate coverage in the news section is not so bad - mostly passing along okay generic stories from other sources. It is the op-ed section that occasionally gets trashed with anti-science and/or denial, and there is no indication to me they are not inclined to let whatever flow there. Perhaps if I could know they would nix columns/letters trying to push things like that HIV is not the cause of AIDS or that 9/11 was an inside job by the government, that would demonstrate there are standards requiring some adherence to reality and when the Herald knows better it does not provide a forum for garbage.

There is something more to be said about the content of the column for Tea Party organizer Sally Morris. At the end she laments how few people took part in the caucus in which she was involved. Why in the world would people not want to go and discuss political resolutions regarding sharia law and protecting sheriffs from "rogue federal agencies"? Could it be related to these and other subjects basically directly listed on the Valley Tea Party mission statement not being significant and relevant as Morris wants to believe?

I can at least empathize with Morris in thinking that people in large part do not "get it". But rather than the Tea Party political boogeymen (which tend to drown out legitimate points), my concerns are with avoiding pushing the climate into a state humanity would not recognize and which would impose a broad range of huge costs. It can be depressing when the short-sighted and selfish push away or even deny the threat of climate change, particularly when trying to replace it with something like the "threat" of someone speaking another language. Yet it can also been energizing. The downside of climate change driven by human activities is too severe to let the delayers, deniers, and ignorant keep us from avoiding confronting this issue.

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