The Truth About the Press' Anti-Car Global Warming Jihad

William C Montgomery
by William C Montgomery
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the truth about the press anti car global warming jihad

The political right likes to claim that the mainstream press has a liberal bias. These self-appointed media watchdogs see a cadre of left-leaning fascists looking to manipulate popular opinion, to infringe on individual freedom by stripping law-abiding citizens of their God given right to own guns, smoke, pray in public, eat supersized fatty foods and drive gas-guzzling CO2–belching behemoths. In truth, the American press isn’t red, blue, pink or green. It’s yellow.

Once upon a time, journalism was considered a public service. The news media was owned by beneficent potentates; men who cloaked their more obvious commercial enterprises in the sanctimony of servicing our “right to know.” When technology fractured the audience, when news was made to stand on its own, it suddenly became more of what it was all along: a business.

The news media’s unshackled economic motives have amped-up their insatiable desire to be seen, heard and/or read. To that end they cater to our basest instincts with stories about all sorts of human extremes: fires, fanatics, fatalities and most important of all, anything urgently threatening.

Even before the news media lost their dignity, they perpetuated pervasive paranoia. My childhood was haunted by visions of nuclear attack, food shortages and dwindling oil supplies. These stories eventually gave way to dark tales of nuclear disaster and Y2K meltdown.

Thankfully, all of these perceived calamities are still largely theoretical. Food is produced in abundance, oil supplies have grown and Japan and France have demonstrated that nuclear power is safe and the Internet lives! And so new villains have arrived, most prominently terrorists but including the automobile.

While it pains me to even partially vindicate Detroit’s anti-media paranoia, it’s certainly true that automobile manufacturers have been victimized by willfully ignorant, self-righteous muckrakers. As contributor Paul Neidermeyer recently recounted, the Chevrolet Corvair and Audi 5000 were both torpedoed by bogus safety concerns perpetuated by self-anointed safety campaigners (Ralph Nader and CBS).

Other popular models have fallen prey to absurd exaggerations of risk, provided without any discussion of context, scientific analysis or mitigating factors. Was the Firestone tire-clad Ford Explorer inherently dangerous? What does that mean anyway? The fact that over half the Explorer rollover deaths involved passengers who didn’t buckle their seat belts escaped the media’s limited attention.

Clearly, this trend has progressed to the point where the news media feels free to demonize the automobile in general, and vilify anyone who dares drive anything other than a [get-out-of-PC-prison-free] hybrid.

How many times does the media use the words “oil addiction” to describe our habit of driving our children to school, commuting to work, buying the things we need to survive and keeping the American economy healthy for ALL of us?

SUVs are regularly portrayed as the sole province of selfish, clueless, amoral Americans. The companies that provide these vehicles are cast as foot-dragging Neanderthals who, ironically enough, cater to their customers’ basest instincts.

Never mind that the news trucks schlepping their high-tech equipment are about as fuel efficient as a Sherman tank, or that the news helicopters that hover over televised tragedy burn more fuel than an entire fleet of Hummers.

And why is it OK to treat a normal, commercially vital activity like driving as if it’s some kind of criminal act? Global warming! And if global warming is the problem, American drivers are the cause. Oh, sorry, did I say “if?" I mean, “because.”

In case you hadn’t noticed, today’s news media never misses an opportunity to remind us of the “fact” that our vehicles’ fossil fuel combustion is creating greenhouse gasses that will hasten an increase in global temperatures that threatens our species’ survival.

Vehicle-induced global warming is a fact because a lot of scientists say it is– even though a large number of reputable scientists say it isn't. Woe betide anyone foolish enough to question global warming in the press; they're served-up as a crank or right wing nutcase.

Ten years from now, after a decade of declining ocean temperatures (as forecast by the National Hurricane Center), we’ll look back and wonder why people bought the paranoid pseudo-reality of global warming. Of course, by then the tragedy industry will have invented some new automobile-related threat to keep us riveted with fear.

Fascination is the key. The news media is afraid to tackle the tough questions relating to our cars because they believe the public is fundamentally stupid. They’re scared that their audience will take one look at a more complicated truth and switch off. If the information gatekeepers don’t simplify issues (e.g. SUVs suck), Americans will lose interest.

I like to think they’re wrong; that drivers can go beyond sound bites to engage in a proper debate on important issues related to our automotive activities. With your help, we’ll find out.

William C Montgomery
William C Montgomery

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  • 213Cobra 213Cobra on Jun 20, 2007

    KixStart, Let’s separate two things here: First, I noted that the political taint of the EU on AGW was telegraphed by their refusal to give the US credit for reforestation and other sequestering options as weapons against CO2 release. I don’t know of any situation where American researchers agreed with that position, nor did I allege it. Again, it is the filtering of research through the political layer that undermines trust and credibility. Second, that we have American researchers who agree with EU researchers that climate change is being induced by man is undeniable. That’s not a conspiracy, but it’s not proof they’re correct, either. We have no data on whether this is a majority or not, and even at that I don’t care. Majorities are frequently wrong. However, elsewhere in this thread you will see a link to a survey I pointed to that rolls up a mixed picture undermining perception of “consensus” among climatologists. However, going back to Kyoto, there is the swept-under-the-rug matter that over 17,000 scientists went on record to say that the state of climate science did/does not warrant the prescriptive responses mandated by the Kyoto accord. Is that more than the number of scientists who are alarmist, favoring Kyoto? I don’t know. I don’t think anyone does. But it is a lot more than the 2,000 or so scientists Al Gore cites as “proof” that the debate on AGW is settled. I don’t doubt that the majority of people who believe climate change is man’s fault feel they are sincere. I also don’t doubt that much of the political layer advocating dramatic, legislated response is far more motivated by other considerations having nothing to do with climate. This is loudly telegraphed by their own unaltered habits and prioritizing of their personal projection over credibility, and lack of leadership-by-example. Phil

  • Luther Luther on Jun 21, 2007

    I reckon Al Gore is kicking himself for inventing the Internet.

  • Ernesto Perez There's a line in the movie Armageddon where Bruce Willis says " is this the best idea NASA came up with?". Don't quote me. I'm asking is this the best idea NY came up with? What's next? Charging pedestrians to walk in certain parts of the city? Every year the price for everything gets more expensive and most of the services we pay for gets worse. Obviously more money is not the solution. What we need are better ideas, strategies and inventions. You want to charge drivers in the city - then put tolls on the free bridges like the Brooklyn, Manhattan and Williamsburg bridges. There's always a better way or product. It's just the idiots on top think they know best.
  • Carsofchaos The bike lanes aren't even close to carrying "more than the car lanes replaced". You clearly don't drive in Midtown Manhattan on a daily like I do.
  • Carsofchaos The problem with congestion, dear friends, is not the cars per se. I drive into the city daily and the problem is this:Your average street in the area used to be 4 lanes. Now it is a bus lane, a bike lane (now you're down to two lanes), then you have delivery trucks double parking, along with the Uber and Lyft drivers also double parking. So your 4 lane avenue is now a 1.5 lane avenue. Do you now see the problem? Congestion pricing will fix none of these things....what it WILL do is fund persion plans.
  • FreedMike Many F150s I encounter are autonomously driven...and by that I mean they're driving themselves because the dips**ts at the wheel are paying attention to everything else but the road.
  • Tassos A "small car", TIM????????????This is the GLE. Have you even ever SEEN the huge thing at a dealer's??? NOT even the GLC,and Merc has TWO classes even SMALLER than the C (The A and the B, you guessed it? You must be a GENIUS!).THe E is a "MIDSIZED" crossover, NOT A SMALL ONE BY ANY STRETCH OF THE IMAGINATION, oh CLUELESS one.I AM SICK AND TIRED OF THE NONSENSE you post here every god damned day.And I BET you will never even CORRECT your NONSENSE, much less APOLOGIZE for your cluelessness and unprofessionalism.