Thanks DeSmog fans!

As many of you know, last night we co-hosted an event with the UBC School of Journalism on the topic of global warming and the state of the media. With over 200 people in attendence and some great panelists, including out of town guests, Chris Mooney and Ross Gelbspan , the event was a huge success.

Thanks to all of you who attended and contrinuted to the great dialogue. And a special thanks goes to Chris Mooney and Ross Gelbspan for taking the time to come out and share their ideas.

We should have, at the least, an audio version of the panel discussion by the end of this week.

On another somewhat related note, I took Chris on a tour of Vancouver's Stanely Park to check out the damage caused recently by some seriously strong winds and here's what he had to say about that.


I put a bit of a summary on this other desmog page:

I’m going to post a question I had here because I asked it badly last night and because it still interests me: Laziness or unpreparedness, conflict sells, “balance” … all were used to describe why the popular media has always included dissenters from the scientific consensus (sometimes at the front of stories rather than just at the last paragraph). I wanted to contrast that with the lack of dissenting views published, for example, in the run-up to the invasion of Iraq (wrt WMD and Saddam’s ties to Al Qaeda). Mooney answered that there weren’t dissenters prior to the war (which is wrong) and that the government/war proponents always had these ‘classified’ sources that couldn’t be scrutinized (which is correct). But I also asked about the economic side. Every time someone prints an article about doing something to reduce CO2 emissions, only the view that catastrophic economic effects would result seem to be printed. No dissenters; no balance. Why? The economic models clearly are easy to slag in the manner that GCM’s have been. Correlations between CO2 output and economic prosperity are only correlations (and not that great, globally). So why not?

Hadi Dowlatibadi (the partially funded by Exxon-Mobil guy) said, at the end, that there will be basically no economic fall-out from meeting Kyoto. (I’m paraphrasing sloppily there, so I hope anyone interested will listen to the recording.) Great! So how come that’s not in the media?

To be cynical but probably accurate, the media is mostly owned by corporations and they are not likely to depart from the corporate viewpoint that money and the economy is more important than the public good. Also the media has cut back and cut down on staff over the years, while merging so that there is hardly any competition and not many jobs for journalists; so how much time does a journalist have to spend on things like the environment? How can one learn enough to be able to detect BS? In the 1970s, I believe, the Calgary Herald had an environment reporter. Do you think recent owners like Conrad Black or the Aspers would ever spend money on that? Not likely.

I was in Vancouver and attended that panel discussion.

There is a related article here that is interesting:

See the section entitled: “A Tale of Two Medias: The Strand of the Denial Industry”