Have you seen Spike TV’s new show on coal mining in West Virginia? I haven’t, but I’ve read the Washington Post’s review, and while it didn’t tell me anything about the show, it did provide an interesting insight into jaded lens through which the mainstream media views the coal industry.

January 28’s “TV Column” starts

“You know that West Virginia coal mine that’s the star of Spike TV’s new reality series “Coal,” from the same guy who brings you Discovery’s “Deadliest Catch””

O.K….so far so good. But in the second paragraph, the post television critic takes an unexpected turn:

“Federal inspectors have cited the Canadian coal company that they say owns the mine for 19 health and safety violations during the nearly three months the TV crew was filming there.”

The remainder of the article is given to the hazardous nature of coal mining. In fact, the regulation of underground mines is an extremely technical and controversial subject. If the Washington Post wants to run stories about this issue, they should be in Section A, written by someone with expertise on the matter. Section C should keep to entertainment.

After 7 months of negotiations, Senators John Kerry and Joseph Lieberman last week unveiled a major climate bill to a chorus of…silence. On the day after the rollout, the American Power Act failed to make the front page of a single paper with a national scope. The Sunday political talkies also ignored the bill. I didn’t hear a single mention of the American Power Act on Fox News Sunday, ABC’s This Week, NBC’s Meet the Press, the McLaughlin Group, or the Chris Matthews Show.

What gives? The mainstream media LOVES global warming as an issue, because it’s divisive and it’s yellow. So why would they ignore it? The only explanation I can think of is that the media believes the bill is dead. My only evidence is anecdotal. Last Thursday I did a taped interview with a very pro-cap-and-trade reporter from Al Jezeera, and the first thing out of his mouth was, “So this bill is dead, right?” I’m not so sanguine, because I once thought the same thing about health care “reform.” Nonetheless, the media’s evident apathy is curious.