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Media and Climate

By Eamonn Kelly / filmsforaction.org
Aug 30, 2021
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Media and Climate

There is no conclusive proof that Santa Claus doesn’t exist. In fact, every year we are offered more and more evidence that he actually does exist. If not, where are all those gifts coming from?

That, right there, is the stupidity of corporate climate denial that the mainstream media are selling on their behalf, and that people are willingly buying for fear of being seen as “negative” or a “downer”; despite the fact that their own children are already making life decisions in preparation for the coming apocalypse.

If you think that’s hyperbole, you haven’t been paying attention.

Propaganda Blitz

There was a book published by Pluto Press in 2018 called “Propaganda Blitz: How the corporate media distort reality”.  

The book’s thesis was that mainstream liberal media was acting, either knowingly or unwittingly, as an information/propaganda arm of the corporate world, which is continuing to pursue the destructive logic of consumer capitalism, despite the fact that this economic system is responsible for ongoing and measurable planetary destruction.

We have since learned that there are maybe 200 hundred corporations in the world responsible for much of the damage of climate destruction, and we have also learned, by the admissions of lobbyist Keith McCoy, Exxon's senior director of federal relations, caught on tape by Greenpeace, proudly describing the manner in which climate deniers undermine science and dupe politicians and the public, in order to continue maximising profits.

We know that the corporations are doing this by adopting strategies created by the tobacco industry to cast doubt on science. The book “Propaganda Blitz” argues that the mainstream media is facilitating this deception in a wrong-headed adherence to the idea of “balance”, perpetuating the mistaken idea that there is nothing to worry about with climate change.

Media Deception

Last week the BBC screened a report from Tennessee where an area had suffered flash floods. The report ended with the reporter declaring that while polls showed public opinion was “evolving” towards the belief that climate change is human induced, he “balanced” this with the stupid observation that “even climate scientists have a hard job connecting any one extreme weather event to a changing climate.” An observation which the BBC saw fit to broadcast.

In a sense the claim may be strictly true. You could for instance argue that such an event as a particular flooding or a particular wild fire would have occurred anyway, with or without climate change. But in the broader context of rampant wild-fires and flash floods, such as the floods that killed so many people in German recently, along with the plethora of casually questioned scientific reports, there can be little doubt that these events are manifestations of climate change.

And yet, here was the BBC, just last week, casting doubt on climate science, either in a mistaken gesture towards “balance”, or in a deliberate participation in the deception favoured by ExxonMobil lobbyists and other corporate lobbyists, intent on maximising profit to the bitter end, exactly as the book “Propaganda Blitz” described.

On Channel 4’s main evening news (wed Aug 25) a 25 second mention of a “new report” from the American meteorological society, said that Europe’s temperature in 2020 was the warmest on record by a “significant margin”, 2 degrees hotter than the average, and that despite lockdowns and travel restrictions, CO2 levels still reached record levels.

This 25 second mention was sandwiched between a report on the politics in Washington surrounding US efforts to airlift people from Afghanistan, and a report on the Paralympics, with the newsreader genuinely appearing to hurry past the climate item.  Maybe believe they are helping to ward off public panic by not mentioning the elephant in the room.

The Children See It

The same week, Irish media personality Sean Moncrieff, writing in the Irish Times, began with a warning that he may make some controversial statements. What manner of safe journalism is that? The whole point of journalism, in its ideal form, was to report the truth, no matter how many feathers might be ruffled. But now mainstream news walks on eggshells, like the children of an abusive parent wary of waking the monster.

Moncrieff too was concerned about the findings of the IPCC report, particularly when he heard his own children say that they would not be having children, placing them into a world that was clearly eating itself up.  

This, combined with the findings of the IPCC report, impelled Moncrieff to devote time to write a column warning of climate change. And yet his column was partly an apology for disturbing people’s economic illusions.

Lifestyles

You switch on TV, and between the programming and the advertisements, it streams a propaganda vision of the future that involves swish technology and personal transport, propelling smiling, positive people into a glowing future of equality and fair play.

These advertisements are designed to mislead, created by manipulative hustlers telling you exactly what you want to hear. TV a forum where the latest messages of positivity and equality are cunningly baked into an attractive package, to act as lures to the unwary, to persuade them to continue buying products at a rate that suits the requirements of faceless salesmen, hoping perhaps to cash out early themselves and escape the burning building intact.

It is apparently easier to dupe adults than it is to dupe children. As Sean Moncrieff realized to his horror, children are more switched on to the stark realities of climate change than many adults still enthralled by the media message of fake positivity and Pollyanna confidence, in a future that many climate scientists now heartbreakingly agree will probably never come to pass.

Crimes

The reason why the majority of people so easily dismiss scientific findings is because science, unlike advertising, doesn’t do hyperbole. That’s often what makes the scientific prognosis all the more chilling: the cool understatement of what we are facing into with climate change, in contrast to the yelling can-do salesmanship of the corporate world and its media arm.

Sean Moncrieff’s hesitancy in even bringing up the subject, despite his high-profile media standing, was a demonstration of how the mainstream media is failing the public, by continuing to serve the corporate marketing bumpf, predicated on smiling positivity and endless supply, that is blindly leading civilisation to hell.

The corporations are knowingly and deliberately using strategies of deception, along with distorted versions of positive-thinking and social equality, to continue selling products that the planet simply can no longer afford.

Given what science is showing about climate change, and the manner in which corporate advertisers seek to undermine that science, the authors of “Propaganda Blitz” believe there is a very strong argument for such deceptions to be regarded as crimes against humanity.

Evil

In a Jordan Peterson YouTube clip on the question of Hitler’s evil, Peterson says that it is usually assumed that Hitler’s initial intentions were essentially good: that his goal was to make things better for Germany, but that he got it wrong and then there was a war and terrible things happened.

Peterson then asks, but what if that supposed initial good intention was a deception, and that his goal was simply destruction? This, if it is true, Peterson argues, is the epitome of evil, where the goal is darkness and destruction achieved by deceit.

In the same vein, what if the corporate entities ruling the world are not acting in a well-intentioned capitalist way to maximise profits for their shareholders, as they claim to be, and as they are generally understood to be acting? What if their goal is also destruction?

What if their financial dominance is not so much “success”, as understood in the capitalist model, but is rather the manifestation of a destructive force in a world that often seems weirdly shaped by supernatural forces of darkness and light?

What if, like Peterson’s theory of Nazi ideology, corporate dominance is actually evil in intent?

END

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