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Tuesday, November 30, 2010

A Rant Directed at the Average News Consumer

NOTE: Got a bit of a project today -- a little involved, so it's going to take some time. As a result, you get a shorty today.

You may not know it, but there's an international summit on climate change going on in Cancun right now. Somewhere along the line, saving the world has become less sexy in terms of newsworthiness than Sarah Palin's twitter feed. So you probably haven't heard about it. It's nice to have a media that focuses on what's really important.

Among the un-newsworthy news coming out of Cancun is that global warming is going to create serious problems for the world, by creating a refugee crisis such as the world has never seen.


Devastating changes to sea levels, rainfall, water supplies, weather systems and crop yields are increasingly likely before the end of the century, scientists will warn tomorrow.

A special report, to be released at the start of climate negotiations in CancĂșn, Mexico, will reveal that up to a billion people face losing their homes in the next 90 years because of failures to agree curbs on carbon emissions.

Up to three billion people could lose access to clean water supplies because global temperatures cannot now be stopped from rising by 4C.

Because we've dicked around and debated the undeniable for so long, this cannot be avoided. We're in for a century of war, riots, shortages, and refugees, because a few morons were able to delay dealing with a crisis for just long enough. Thanks guys. I say we build a monument to climate change deniers, then pelt it with rocks, the way pilgrims to Mecca stone "the devil" during the Haj.

Tyndall Centre's report is here, if you're interested. If you're the average person, you're probably not. I hear Paris Hilton farted, so you probably want to go read up on that. There are only so many hours in a day.

Yesterday, I wrote that our media is broken. Today, I write that our news consumers are likewise broken. Seriously, why do you care about things Kim Kardashian does? I'm still trying to figure out why she's famous. The world is literally falling apart around you, yet for some reason, we've got to waste ink, pixels, and -- worst of all -- our attention on someone of no discernible value for no real discernible reason. The trivial is of earth-shattering importance, while the shattering of the Earth is trivia. One sixth of the world's population homeless? How terribly, terribly dull.

Turn it off. Turn it off, turn it off, turn it off.

Look, I'm not saying that all media is bad or that you should never watch TV. I watch plenty of TV, because there's a lot of good stuff. But our media has become a cupcake with enough frosting to make it look like a wedding cake. Want to know a big reason why the news isn't reporting a coming global crisis? Because you -- the average news consumer -- have told them you don't care. The media is reactive. They make their money from eyes on screens. So if you don't care, neither do they.

There's sports and weather on the hour and break for fun celebrity news, but a report showing that a global disaster has now become inevitable? No time. Lindsay Lohan's fallen over drunk at a nightclub again. And you want to know that, because...

I don't know. You explain it. It makes no earthly sense to me.


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