FacebookTwitterRedditEmail

Russia Trumps Ecocide at the Petroleum Broadcasting System

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)

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550

Weekend Edition
June 14, 2019
Friday - Sunday
Michael Hudson
Trump’s Trade Threats are Really Cold War 2.0
Bruce E. Levine
Tom Paine, Christianity, and Modern Psychiatry
Jason Hirthler
Mainstream 101: Supporting Imperialism, Suppressing Socialism
T.J. Coles
How Much Do Humans Pollute? A Breakdown of Industrial, Vehicular and Household C02 Emissions
Andrew Levine
Whither The Trump Paradox?
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: In the Land of 10,000 Talkers, All With Broken Tongues
Pete Dolack
Look to U.S. Executive Suites, Not Beijing, For Why Production is Moved
Paul Street
It Can’t Happen Here: From Buzz Windrip and Doremus Jessup to Donald Trump and MSNBC
Rob Urie
Capitalism Versus Democracy
Richard Moser
The Climate Counter-Offensive: Secrecy, Deception and Disarming the Green New Deal
Naman Habtom-Desta
Up in the Air: the Fallacy of Aerial Campaigns
Ramzy Baroud
Kushner as a Colonial Administrator: Let’s Talk About the ‘Israeli Model’
Mark Hand
Residents of Toxic W.Va. Town Keep Hope Alive
John Kendall Hawkins
Alias Anything You Please: a Lifetime of Dylan
Linn Washington Jr.
Bigots in Blue: Philadelphia Police Department is a Home For Hate
David Macaray
UAW Faces Its Moment of Truth
Brian Cloughley
Trump’s Washington Detests the Belt and Road Initiative
Horace G. Campbell
Edward Seaga and the Institutionalization of Thuggery, Violence and Dehumanization in Jamaica
Graham Peebles
Zero Waste: The Global Plastics Crisis
Michael Schwalbe
Oppose Inequality, Not Cops
Ron Jacobs
Scott Noble’s History of Resistance
Olivia Alperstein
The Climate Crisis is Also a Health Emergency
David Rosen
Time to Break Up the 21st Century Tech Trusts
George Wuerthner
The Highest Use of Public Forests: Carbon Storage
Ralph Nader
It is Time to Rediscover Print Newspapers
Nick Licata
How SDS Imploded: an Inside Account
Rachel Smolker – Anne Peterman
The GE American Chestnut: Restoration of a Beloved Species or Trojan Horse for Tree Biotechnology?
Sam Pizzigati
Can Society Survive Without Empathy?
Manuel E. Yepe
China and Russia in Strategic Alliance
Patrick Walker
Green New Deal “Climate Kids” Should Hijack the Impeachment Conversation
Colin Todhunter
Encouraging Illegal Planting of Bt Brinjal in India
Robert Koehler
The Armed Bureaucracy
David Swanson
Anyone Who’d Rather Not be Shot Should Read this Book
Jonathan Power
To St. Petersburg With Love
Marc Levy
How to Tell a Joke in Combat
Thomas Knapp
Pork is Not the Problem
Manuel García, Jr.
Global Warming and Solar Minimum: a Response to Renee Parsons
Jill Richardson
Straight People Don’t Need a Parade
B. R. Gowani
The Indian Subcontinent’s Third Partition
Adolf Alzuphar
Diary: The Black Body in LA
Jonah Raskin
‘69 and All That Weird Shit
Michael Doliner
My Surprise Party
Stephen Cooper
The Fullness of Half Pint
Charles R. Larson
Review: Chris Arnade’s “Dignity: Seeking Respect in Back Row America”
David Yearsley
Sword and Sheath Songs
FacebookTwitterRedditEmail