FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Russia Trumps Ecocide at the Petroleum Broadcasting System

by

Photo by Kristoffer Trolle | CC BY 2.0

There’s something really wrong with “Public” Broadcasting System “NewsHour” host and Council on Foreign Relations member Judy Woodruff.

Nearly every weekday night she participates in the corporate state media’s elevation of the dubious, politically motivated charge that the ridiculous Insane Clown President Donald Trump is a Russian agent who stole the 2016 presidential election in collusion with the Kremlin.

Like her counterparts in other dominant media outlets, she and her producers privilege this endlessly broadcast story above other topics that might hold special interest to “public” media consumers.

There’s no shortage of other and terrible things to cover, God knows.  The list of horrors that deserve lead-story status from one night to the next is daunting.  I could fill pages listing them, including things like these:

* Global capitalism has so savagely concentrated wealth upwards that five absurdly opulent people now have as much net worth between them as the bottom half of humanity,

* The top tenth of the U.S. upper One Percent owns as much wealth as the bottom U.S. 90 percent, along with a giant, outsized share of the nation’s plutocratically (s)elected officials in a nation that has become an open corporate-financial oligarchy.

*  15 million children (21% of all U.S. children, including 4 in 10 Black and Native American children) live at less than the federal government’s notoriously inadequate poverty level (more than 1 in 10 U.S. children ages 0-9 is living at less than half that level).

*  Half the U.S. population is poor or near-poor and lacks any assets.

*  Median Black U.S. net worth is less than seven cents on the median U.S. white wealth dollar.

*  The U.S. has the highest incarceration rate in world history, achieved in ways so deeply racist that 1 in 3 adult U.S. adult Black males is saddled with the crippling lifelong mark of a felony record.

*  The U.S. dedicates more than half of its discretionary federal spending to a giant military empire that transfers wealth upwards while killing millions the world over and accounting for more than 40 percent of global military spending.

* The U.S. interferes in the political process of countless nations across the world

* The U.S. is leading the planet over the environmental cliff through the championing of endless growth and attendant “anthropogenic” – really capitalogenic – climate destruction.

Stuff like that.  I could go on.  (More on the capitalist destruction of life on Earth below).

But no, Judy and the NewsHour join in the New York Times-, Washington Post- and CNN-led chorus of Russia Trumps All.

This is no different than most of the talking heads across the dominant “mainstream” corporate media.  It is silly to expect anything else at “P”BS, which depends heavily on corporate, including big oil money contributions, and where the “P” seems to stand for “Pentagon” and/or “Petroleum” most of the time. It’s a predictable part of the Brave New Russified news media world that surrounds us.

Still, Judy really got under my skin last Wednesday night.  It turned out that the “NewsHour” had to interrupt its “Russia File” for eight minutes by giving its second news segment over to reports that an iceberg the size of Delaware had just broken off from Antarctica.

That’s no small development.  As Kelly Brunt, a glaciologist at NASA’s Goddard Spaceflight Center, explained to “P”BS science reporter Miles O’Brien, ice-loss at the bottom of the world is moving faster than previously expected, in “pretty catastrophic” ways. It’s naturally linked to climate change.  Satellite data shows, Brunt told O’Brien, that “our ice sheets are changing where they are in contact with both a warming atmosphere and a warming ocean.”

O’Brien looked a little depressed when Brunt said that.  But he cheered up during two minutes of wrap-up chatter with Ms. Woodruff. Judy and Miles left the false impression that there is scientific doubt about whether the latest great breakoff from the Antarctic is related to climate change.  “This is long-term science and will just have to watch it for years to come,” O’Brien said.

That must have pleased Exxon, a leading “P”BS funder.

Yes, we’ll just watch the science for years to come – from underwater.

O’Brien did relate some good news: the new giant iceberg floating around in the Southern Ocean won’t “be in the way of any shipping channels so it shouldn’t be a hazard to navigation.”

That’s a great relief! What a shame it would be if the global petro-capitalist system that is cooking the planet to the point of inhabitability was slowed down giant, anti-commerce icebergs.

Then came the killer sign-off. The NewHour’s Antarctic segment ended with a big smile on Ms. Woodruff’s face. “Alright, our iceberg man Miles O’Brien,” Judy said, “thank you very much. Now we continue our series inside Putin’s Russia….”

Yes, back to the (post-) USSR, the real story. “And now we return to regularly scheduled programming.”

But, Judy, Judy, Judy….not funny! Silly pillow-talk-like joking (“our iceberg man”) is not appropriate here, Ms. Woodruff. Atmospheric carbon parts per million (ppm) is now at a shocking 409.21,  nearly full 10 points above just four years ago. We are now heading to 500 ppm by 2050. As Steven Newton wrote on Huffington Post last year, “That’s only 35 years away. A child born today will barely have moved out of Mom’s basement (at least, judging by some millennials) by the time CO2 reaches 500 ppm. The hundred-point rise between 300 to 400 ppm took about a century; the rise between 400 to 500 ppm will take only about 35 years, and with accelerating rates, the rise to 600 ppm will happen even faster.”

Newton left something out: that is not survivable for the species.  It’s part of why serious scientists are now raising the real specter of near-term human extinction. As the Australian Earth and paleoclimate scientist, Andrew Gliskon explained seven years ago:

“The consequences of open ended rise in atmospheric CO2 are manifest in the geological record (Frontispiece)… At 460 ppm CO2-equivalent, the climate is tracking close to the upper stability limit of the Antarctic ice sheet, defined at approximately 500 ppm [5,7]. Once transcended, mitigation measures would hardly be able to re-form the cryosphere. According to Joachim Schellnhuber, Director of the Potsdam Climate Impacts Institute and advisor to the German government: ‘We’re simply talking about the very life support system of this planet.’…Humans can not argue with the physics and chemistry of the atmosphere. What is needed are urgent measures including: Deep cuts in carbon emissions; Parallel Fast track transformation to non-polluting energy utilities – solar, solar-thermal, wind, tide, geothermal, hot rocks; Global reforestation and re-vegetation campaigns, including application of biochar. The alternative does not bear contemplation.”

“The alternative” is underway, aided and abetted by a dominant U.S. media that is absurdly obsessed with RussiaTrump to a degree that is egregiously irresponsible given the pressing significance of other topics, including climate change, the biggest story of our or any time.

It’s also a story to which Trump is intimately connected. As Noam Chomsky said before the election, Trump and the lunatic Republican Party’s opposition to climate protection and their promise to “deregulate energy” amounted to “almost a death-knell for the species.”

Not that the dismal dollar Democrats offer any serious opposition to the capitalist melting of the planet.  They don’t. The baking of our only world proceeded apace under Wall Street Barry Obomber.  But Trump and his EPA chief are flat-out climate changer-deniers openly committed to accelerating the destruction of the very life-support system of the planet.

The media, however, wants you to hate Herr Donald because of the one sane thing he stood for: wanting to normalize relations with Russia. What about because of his eco-cidalism? Not so much.  It’s pretty much a non-issue in the dominant media.

Something tells me that the melting of the cryosphere was not a topic of discussion between Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin at the G20 Summit in Hamburg, Germany.

If you’re really looking for a scandal, think about that.  The United States and Russia, the world’s top two nuclear powers, are both headed by petro-capitalist oligarchs who could give a flying fuck about human survival and who both represent an eco-exterminist system that is choking the life out of the planet.

When does that become the top “P”BS new story for weeks and months in a row?  Don’t hold your breath.

More articles by:

Paul Street’s latest book is They Rule: The 1% v. Democracy (Paradigm, 2014)

February 21, 2018
CounterPunch News Service
A Call to Celebrate 2018 as the Year of William Edward Burghardt Du Bois by the Saturday Free School
February 20, 2018
Nick Pemberton
The Gun Violence the Media Shows Us and the State Violence They Don’t
John Eskow
Sympathy for the Drivel: On the Vocabulary of President Nitwit
John Steppling
Trump, Putin, and Nikolas Cruz Walk Into a Bar…
John W. Whitehead
America’s Cult of Violence Turns Deadly
Ishmael Reed
Charles F. Harris: He Popularized Black History
Will Podmore
Paying the Price: the TUC and Brexit
George Burchett
Plumpes Denken: Crude thinking
Binoy Kampmark
The Caring Profession: Peacekeeping, Blue Helmets and Sexual Abuse
Lawrence Wittner
The Trump Administration’s War on Workers
David Swanson
The Question of Sanctions: South Africa and Palestine
Walter Clemens
Murderers in High Places
Dean Baker
How Does the Washington Post Know that Trump’s Plan Really “Aims” to Pump $1.5 Trillion Into Infrastructure Projects?
February 19, 2018
Rob Urie
Mueller, Russia and Oil Politics
Richard Moser
Mueller the Politician
Robert Hunziker
There Is No Time Left
Nino Pagliccia
Venezuela Decides to Hold Presidential Elections, the Opposition Chooses to Boycott Democracy
Daniel Warner
Parkland Florida: Revisiting Michael Fields
Sheldon Richman
‘Peace Through Strength’ is a Racket
Wilfred Burchett
Vietnam Will Win: Taking on the Pentagon
Patrick Cockburn
People Care More About the OXFAM Scandal Than the Cholera Epidemic
Ted Rall
On Gun Violence and Control, a Political Gordian Knot
Binoy Kampmark
Making Mugs of Voters: Mueller’s Russia Indictments
Dave Lindorff
Mass Killers Abetted by Nutjobs
Myles Hoenig
A Response to David Axelrod
Colin Todhunter
The Royal Society and the GMO-Agrochemical Sector
Cesar Chelala
A Student’s Message to Politicians about the Florida Massacre
Weekend Edition
February 16, 2018
Friday - Sunday
Jeffrey St. Clair
American Carnage
Paul Street
Michael Wolff, Class Rule, and the Madness of King Don
Andrew Levine
Had Hillary Won: What Now?
David Rosen
Donald Trump’s Pathetic Sex Life
Susan Roberts
Are Modern Cities Sustainable?
Joyce Nelson
Canada vs. Venezuela: Have the Koch Brothers Captured Canada’s Left?
Geoff Dutton
America Loves Islamic Terrorists (Abroad): ISIS as Proxy US Mercenaries
Mike Whitney
The Obnoxious Pence Shows Why Korea Must End US Occupation
Joseph Natoli
In the Post-Truth Classroom
John Eskow
One More Slaughter, One More Piece of Evidence: Racism is a Terminal Mental Disease
John W. Whitehead
War Spending Will Bankrupt America
Robert Fantina
Guns, Violence and the United States
Dave Lindorff
Trump’s Latest Insulting Proposal: Converting SNAP into a Canned Goods Distribution Program
Robert Hunziker
Global Warming Zaps Oxygen
John Laforge
$1.74 Trillion for H-bomb Profiteers and “Fake” Cleanups
CJ Hopkins
The War on Dissent: the Specter of Divisiveness
Peter A. Coclanis
Chipotle Bell
Anders Sandström – Joona-Hermanni Mäkinen
Ways Forward for the Left
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail