Jul
01
2007

Letters to the Editor

A Little Learning I am struck by the fact that George Will referred derisively to those who believe in global warming (which includes, of course, the vast majority of scientists) as “climate Cassandras” in a February 12 Newsweek column (Extra!, 5-6/07). Can it be that Will doesn’t know that in Greek mythology, Cassandra was endowed with the gift of accurate prophecy—but cursed by the gods never to be believed? Joanne Gruber New York, N.Y. Something to ANSWER For Did a bit of the New York Times rub off on its former reporter Frances Cerra Whittelsey? I don’t know, but it […]

Jul
01
2007

The Climate Change Gap

U.S. media fiddle while Earth burns

If 2006 was the year that the issue of global climate change broke through into greater public consciousness—thanks in large part to Al Gore’s An Inconvenient Truth, plus books like Elizabeth Kolbert’s Field Notes from a Catastrophe—2007 could be the year that it becomes old news. Between February and May of this year, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, a joint project of the United Nations and the World Meteorological Organization, issued a series of three comprehensive reports designed to present the scientific evidence for climate change, as well as the likely consequences and how the most catastrophic effects can […]

Jul
01
2007

Disposable People

The ‘upside’ to natural and unnatural disasters

As Hurricane Katrina tore off roofs and exposed the destroyed interiors of homes, it also peeled back the genteel veneer on elite media opinion about New Orleans—revealing that some pundits and reporters viewed the majority of its residents to be essentially irrelevant, if not an outright impediment, to the restructuring of the city’s devastated economy. Whether urban social devastation results from corporate decisions to relocate jobs or a nature-triggered catastrophe, major U.S. media seem to view cities as first and foremost engines of economic growth and profit, with the local population’s needs and culture viewed as barely worthy of mention […]