Jon Stewart and the Daily Show have made a living off of parodying just how vapid and irresponsible some in the mainstream media have become. Although the cable news channels have 24 hours of programming to play with, they rarely scratch below the service in the way TV, at its best, can do. (See: Democracy Now! or 60 Minutes.) Look no further than this week's overheated and trite commentary on President Obama's decision to open up vast areas of the coast for oil drilling. The HuffingtonPost has done a service by compiling the best (and the worst) of this week's punditry. For instance, the talking heads could have invited on guests who could authoritatively speak about EIA projections that found:
The projections in the OCS access case indicate that access to the Pacific, Atlantic, and eastern Gulf regions would not have a significant impact on domestic crude oil and natural gas production or prices before 2030. Leasing would begin no sooner than 2012, and production would not be expected to start before 2017. Total domestic production of crude oil from 2012 through 2030 in the OCS access case is projected to be 1.6 percent higher than in the reference case, and 3 percent higher in 2030 alone, at 5.6 million barrels per day. For the lower 48 OCS, annual crude oil production in 2030 is projected to be 7 percent higher--2.4 million barrels per day in the OCS access case compared with 2.2 million barrels per day in the reference case (Figure 20). Because oil prices are determined on the international market, however, any impact on average wellhead prices is expected to be insignificant.
The fact that the additional areas for drilling will barely put a dent in our need to import vast sums of foreign oil seems to have been lost over at CNN, ABC, Fox and the like. Instead, they cast Obama's decision as a political move and evaluated it as such.
Some in the media need to take responsibility for the fact that the Fourth Estate will not cover climate and energy in any meaningful way. The League of Conservation Voters did a study in 2007 and 2008 that found that the five major Sunday morning political shows asked the presidential candidates over 2,000 questions in 2007, but only three of the questions were on global warming.
More on the media:
With One Week Before Copenhagen, 'This Week' Covers White House Crashers, Almost Skips Climate Change
Hey David and George, You Might Want To Ask the President About Climate Change and Energy