Canadian journalist Donna Laframboise. Former National Post & Toronto Star columnist, past vice president of the Canadian Civil Liberties Association. New posts: Mondays & Wednesdays.
It’s 2009 all over again – when people got hysterical prior to the last-chance-to-save-ourselves Copenhagen climate summit.
We are an information-rich society. More people and organizations than ever before are producing “content” and sharing it with the world via the Internet. We are also a more educated society than at any time in history.
This should mean we’re all smarter than we used to be. But as my husband likes to say, the thing about clever, well-educated people is that they can construct an argument for just about anything. If a journalist with a narrow, drama queen perspective interviews only people with the same narrow, drama queen perspective, the results can appear overwhelmingly persuasive.
But this is equivalent to shining a flashlight on three feet square (1 square meter) of a flower bed in the dead of night. Seeing only hostas and day lilies, a reporter can describe their height, colour, smell, and texture in loving detail. He can create the impression that the flower bed contains only those two kinds of plants.
Yet when the sun rises – when the big picture is taken into account – we discover that the flashlight-wielding reporter has misled both himself and us. The flower bed isn’t limited to hostas and day lilies. It also includes morning glories, nasturtiums, and hollyhocks. Wisteria vines and climbing roses smother a pergola a few steps away from where the flashlight-wielding reporter chose to look. Across the way is a raspberry patch. To the right of that, ferns sway in the breeze.
Unanimity versus complexity. Some reporters think their job is to enforce unanimity. The author of this blog, on the other hand, considers it her job to employ floodlights rather flashlights – to acknowledge, reveal, and expose the bigger, infinitely more complicated picture.
An example of that other kind of reporting appeared recently in a Vancouver lifestyle and entertainment weekly called the Georgia Straight. The article, written by Daniel Tseghay, is titled Climate change realism requires lifting veil of denial. It qualifies as Exhibit #8 in this blog’s Drama Queen Files.
No doubt about it, Tseghay has drunk the kool-aid. He doesn’t question or scrutinize what passes for conventional wisdom. Instead, he’s read a stack of books by hard-core climate alarmists (public relations flak James Hoggan, fake Nobel laureate Mark Jaccard, and activist journalist Robert Jensen among them). Evidently, he thinks his purpose in life is to reinforce the ideas in those books via a truckload of emotive language.
It’s as though it’s 2009 all over again, when people got hysterical prior to the private-plane-and-limousine-studded Copenhagen climate summit. The one that was supposed to be our last chance to save ourselves.
Here are some verbatim quotes from Tseghay’s article:
The Drama Queen Files – Exhibit #7 –The Coming Hellhole
The Drama Queen Files – Exhibit #6 – Carbon Dioxide, Superstition & Protecting the Oceans
The Drama Queen Files – Exhibit #5 – Arctic Hunters ‘Gasping for Life’
The Drama Queen Files – Exhibit #4 – Earth Day, 1970
The Drama Queen Files – Exhibit #3 – The ‘Outraged’ Sierra Club
The Drama Queen Files – Exhibit #2 – The ‘Carbon Bomb’ Pipeline
The Drama Queen Files – Exhibit #1 – Greenpeace’s ‘Battle for Britain’
hat tip to Tom Nelson
CORRECTION, July 14, 2013:
The first sentence in the third paragraph originally read: “But this is equivalent to shining a flashlight on three square feet (1 square meter) of a flower bed in the dead of night.” It now correctly reads: three feet square.