Pot Calls Kettle Yellow


Either or. Red or Blue. Black or white. In the United States, there is no middle ground, no gray, and if Jack Shafer gets his way, there will be no green.

He writes in Slate about "Green Journalism" and suggests that it "tends to appeal to our emotions, exploit our fears, and pander to our vanity" and puts our TreeHugger up there in the crosshairs.

He is not nice to us, suggesting that we are propagandists who don't really pretend to be journalists. I was personally offended by this; I didn't go to the Columbia School of Journalism but I watched All the President's Men before I started this gig and learned what journalists do:1) Real journalists don't use florid language like "a political agenda in front of the quest for journalistic truth [which] in its most demagogic forms tolerates no criticism, branding all who question it as enemies of the people;" to describe a green lifestyle website; while we are chuffed (Hey Mom, I'm a demagogue!) it is a bit out of proportion, like the ranting of a Westbrook Pegler, talk radio ideologue or internet nutbar. The journalists at TreeHugger don't think it is particularly political to try and inform people how to live with a smaller ecological footprint and help deal with global warming through big steps or small; the more we learn about how neither party in the US has the balls to deal with coal, nukes or CAFE, the more apolitical we become.

2) Real Journalists don't pretend to be unbiased yet write loaded statements like "Now, don't get me wrong. Carbon emissions may indeed be causing harmful climate change, and dramatic reductions by Americans may actually do some good."-that's Denier and Delayer talk. If you don't accept that global warming is a reality, then obviously anything TreeHugger suggests, large or small, will be meaningless to you. If you don't think small steps add up, read Seth Godin. If you think all that Carter era weatherstripping and sweater wearing is "not good enough for the green worshippers at TreeHugger" you are right; most of our readers were not even born. Times have changed.

3) Real journalists don't use an article from the New York Times about a solar-hydrogen house to attack green journalism; if you think the Times writes green journalism then we must look like the Hot Weather Underground. Or the crotchety old farts at the Financial Times who were critical of some of the early and failed offsetting schemes, or the non-sequitor "the car ride back from the grocery store might be the most carbon-intensive part of a fruit, vegetable, or leg of lamb's journey from farm to pantry" when we are comparing the carbon footprint of getting it to the store, not getting it home.

4) Worst of all: When I get bad notices my ex-publicist wife consoles me with "Don't worry, as long as they spell your name right." Jack can't even do that, failing Journalism 101 and calling us Treehugger.org.

Oscar Wilde said "all criticism is autobiography". When Jack Shafer hurls "political agenda in front of the quest for journalistic truth" and "in its most demagogic forms it tolerates no criticism" he proves Oscar nailed it.


More appalling than the article are the comments, which demonstrate that one cannot discuss anything in America, debate is closed. The comments attack Bush, Gore, left, right, red, blue, anything but discuss the issue of climate change, journalism, you would not know they were connected to the same article. Its the same old echo chamber; How sad and depressing.