Media Don't Stop to Count the Cost of Green Activism

"Conservation is a cause that has been espoused by some thoughtful Americans at least since the days of Thoreau, a cause whose time has come because life is running out," the New York Times editorialized on the first Earth Day, April 22, 1970.Media support for environmentalism is not waning since the first Earth Day, in fact uncritical coverage of green rallies and protest is the norm nearly 37 years later.There are so many green events this year you just might need a separate calendar to keep track. Just make sure it's printed on post-consumer recycled paper.

"What can Al Gore expect now that he is organizing a concert to save the entire planet from a global warming disaster," asked the Los Angeles Times on February 16. Noting that Bob Geldof earned a knighthood for Live Aid, a previous fundraising concert, the paper asked: "Would King Al be out of line?"

When the media report on the many environmental holidays they leave out questions about what the green agenda will cost the taxpayers and businesses.On April 14, people across the country held "Step It Up" events to pressure Congress to regulate carbon emissions with a mandatory 80-percent decrease in emissions by 2050.Step It Up was previewed or covered by ABC "World News Saturday," The New York Times, The Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, The Boston Globe, The Philadelphia Inquirer and BusinessWeek, to name a few.None of those event stories included criticism of the devastating cost of such regulation. Business & Media Institute has reported that signing on to Kyoto would have cost the U.S. several hundred billion dollars per year.But the goals of Step It Up and many other eco-warriors is "far beyond the goals" of Kyoto and would therefore cost considerably more.Myron Ebell of the Competitive Enterprise Institute put the matter in more practical terms, "if you really wanted to cut emissions by 80 percent most people would have to give up their cars, get rid of air conditioning and only heat one room of their house."Al Gore's climate concerts, scheduled for July 7, also recieved uncritical mentions from the press. Accounts left out questions regarding how much energy will be consumed, how much CO2 will be spewed by the entertainers and attendees, or how much waste will be left over after the events.

Julia A. Seymour
Julia A. Seymour
Julia A. Seymour is the Assistant Managing Editor for the MRC's Business and Media Institute.