A Cry For Help, Wanted

by Julie Walsh on December 4, 2007

(Posted on Human Events)

CBS News likely had no idea just how perfectly it encapsulated the state of environmental journalism with the ad for an eco-reporter it just placed in JournalismJobs.com. They want you to know that “A deep interest in the environment and sustainability issues will serve you well”, at least when it comes to gaining employment as an environmental reporter. To bring “a dash of humor to our coverage” the successful applicant must be “wicked smart, funny, irreverent and hip, [and] oozing enthusiasm.” Knowledge of the issues, well, not so much.

It seems that aspiring applicants capable of reading further into the ad – titled “Seeking Vibrant Reporter/Host for Eco Beat”, which one must admit revealed a bit of a sense of humor in its own right – will learn that “Knowledge of the enviro beat is a big plus, but not a requirement.”. Having seen much CBS coverage of environmental matters, I’d say actual knowledge of the issues would be a tremendous demerit.

But don’t go thinking that any old fool without a grasp on the issues is a sure thing. There are of course requirements. For example, the “position requires” a knack for “story telling.”

Tell me about it. CBS environmental reporters have shown remarkable imagination. Consider Scott Pelley, whose global warming alarmism is so ham-fisted that when asked in a (not wicked funny) interview with colleagues about his bias he explained the he doesn’t need to seek the other side of the story because skeptics are like Holocaust deniers, who he has no need to interview.

Of course, that not long after making this claim he flew halfway around the world to actually interview Holocaust-denying Mahmoud Ahmadinejad only further confuses his analogy. Anyway, it seems the real kind is apparently okay.

So, we see the sort of sense of humor CBS is looking for, and they certainly exhibit plenty of experience in the running joke the press is playing on the public when it comes to story telling about the environment and particularly “global warming,” the greatest threat since that other greatest threat just before it.

We all know our planetary goose is cooked, so why would factual knowledge do anything but get in the way of our panic? Eco-reporting is easy: just claim a continuing, indeed worsening warming trend, and leave it to losers to deal with facts like it has now been a decade since warming peaked in 1998.

There is the occasional pitfall (maybe we should say pratfall, to show CBS we’re wicked funny!). Just this week we were told — by Reuters’s Africa portal, if you happened to be surfing it — that those predictions from January 2007 of the “hottest year on record”, well, they just didn’t pan out. It seems that promising us the year’s weather in January is about as reliable as, oh I don’t know, promising us what it will be like a century from now.

But, hey, that’s funny! Get it? Take a hot day and predict the hottest month ever; take a warm year and predict the end-of-days unless of course the U.S. tosses the United Nations the keys to our sovereignty, in which case they promise to fix things up just right, with a thermostat on the wall of the world in the form of what hardly missed ex-President of France Jacques Chirac called “the first component of an authentic global governance.”

He of course referred to the Kyoto Protocol or global warming treaty, and in fact I was in the audience when he said that, in The Hague, in November 2000 while the Florida recount was going on. I didn’t think that was funny.

Neither did my editor at the press service for which I was covering the negotiations, who excoriated me for daring to put words in the mouth of a foreign dignitary. He would never say anything like that. She refused to run the piece. Talk about not having a sense of humor. I knew right then she wouldn’t cut it in the eco-journalism biz. I hear she’s planting questions in Iowa now.

So, show the right mix of wit and vapidity about that on which you are to write and you might get hired by CBS to tell stories about that very same Kyoto Protocol, from which our yuk-yearning friends in the environmental press corps cannot wean themselves if it means no longer writing dire stories about the state of America’s international relations because President George W. Bush “refused to sign” it. Some even go so far as to also assure us in the very same story of a metaphysical impossibility, that he withdrew from it, as well as never agreeing to it in the first place. Wicked smart.

Of course, regular readers of HUMAN EVENTS (or my book) know full well that the United States signed Kyoto on November 12, 1998, that Bush like President Clinton never asked the Senate to ratify it, but that this signature is all the permission that the Senate requires under our Constitution and laws. The press don’t write things like that. They don’t want to. Doing so would take away the issue, would bestow ownership of our blessed exclusion from that pact in its rightful place, and make the media tell a different story. The truth.

Now, that would be funny.

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