Kathleen Hall Jamieson: Missing Coverage of Climate Bill | NewsHour
I'm not suggesting that Michael Jackson's death and his legacy aren't newsworthy. But, rather, the question is one of proportion.
When you look at news and what you see is that the accountability function was missing on climate change, we didn't get good stories that asked, how much of the House bill actually captured what candidate Obama had promised?
There weren't the news stories in many places that let the process ask the question, will this legislation do what it promises? Is a 17 percent reduction in emissions by 2020 over a 2005 base actually going to address this serious problem of global warming?
We also didn't have the fact-testing. The costs per household of this legislation are widely different across various partisan sources. And as a result, news didn't perform the functions it needs to perform to keep the political process honest and accountable.
And when that happens, advertising becomes the means by which the public learns about this legislation. That's partisan and one-sided. Special interests, influence, and money gain impact.
And, finally, the public loses the connection between campaigning and governance. Candidate Obama promised climate change legislation. He's trying to deliver. When the public doesn't realize candidates try and often as presidents to deliver on their promises, they become more cynical about governance.
In other words, when news is distracted and doesn't do its job because it doesn't keep things in proportion, democracy isn't as well-served as it needs to be.
Hat tip: Climate Progress