The Biden (formerly Washington; formerly Amazon) Post featured recently a story about teenage girls who have become global warming warriors. Motivated to save the planet, they dress in black (for mourning), take off school to demonstrate at the Capitol, and should be put on suicide watch if Donald Trump wins re-election.
This is an example of the news media’s chickens coming home to lay fool’s gold eggs. The girls are parroting what the media has been selling for years––not just that we’re facing an uninhabitable planet in ten or twelve years, but also that corporations, Republicans and white males are responsible for the impending catastrophe.
The Post clues us in: Maddie “can’t remember a time when the news wasn’t full of burning forests, melting glaciers and hurricane-lashed cities.” The Post even connects the coronavirus to Maddie’s angst: “The pandemic has shut down Maddie’s life and offered a taste of the global turmoil that scientists say climate change will bring.” Attributing wild claims to science is the kind of unfounded, politically-motivated indoctrination that leads young people like Maddie to think they personally have to save the world.
Girls like Maddie take their lead from a 17-year old Swedish media star and a first-term congresswoman graduate of a university that gives out M.A.’s in economics like McDonalds gives out big macs––to any and all takers.
A consequence of the media’s symphony of negativity is that millions believe African-Americans, Hispanics and women have it worse off today than fifty years ago, and that socialism is a viable economic model. It is also responsible for the rising suicide rate among young people––especially young white males. The media also deserves some responsibility for acts of personal violence, such as the shooting of Congressman Scalise and mugging of U.S. Senator Rand Paul.
While threats to infect the president with the coronavirus by elected officials are taken down quickly, the poster is not punished and the media forwards the message suggesting a ticket to fame awaits she who would undertake that mission.
The Biden Post and New York We Fit the News to Our Narrative Times may argue they only report the news and hide behind claims of objectivity, but those bromides have been shown to hold less water than a social distancing face mask. The location of stories in each edition, the wording of the headlines, and the perspective taken all color a story’s impact. Further, the impact of coverage of a topic cannot be judged on one story. Rather it is the cacophony of stories on a topic that infiltrate a reader’s consciousness leading her to decide, as in the case of the Post’s subject, that she has no choice but to give up planning for the future in order to save the world today.
When her parents try to reason with Maddie, she replies “But it’s zero hour. Two minutes to midnight.”
I doubt that the media that now promotes these teenager warriors will be around when they discover planet Earth is doing fine without them, but meanwhile Maddie expresses fear and others no doubt feel anger and consider violence. But that too will be reported as if someone else is responsible.