Big Picture News, Informed Analysis

Canadian journalist Donna Laframboise. Former National Post & Toronto Star columnist, past vice president of the Canadian Civil Liberties Association.

When Name-Calling Passes for Journalism

What journalism has now come to: calling industries you don’t like outlaws, rogues, and evaders of ‘climate justice.’



The airline industry is known for being a brutal one. According to a 2011 paper, US airlines lost $60 billion during the previous decade. A recent report by the International Air Transport Association concludes that “Airlines have one of the lowest levels of [return on investment] of any industry.”

MBA students are advised that airlines are, essentially, a vanity business. Rich people buy airlines for the same reason they buy newspapers – for the prestige – not because it’s an easy way to make money.

That’s the real world. But you won’t find the merest acknowledgement of these cold, hard facts in a recent column by Damian Carrington – who heads the environment section at the UK’s Guardian newspaper.

Titled Aviation is a rogue industry on a runway to nowhere, this column is a depressing example of what now passes for journalism. Carrington’s argument amounts to this: I’m worried about climate change, therefore airlines are evil and deserve to be called names.

He declares that

The fundamental problem is that aviation is a rogue industry, darting across international borders to escape climate justice. [bold added here and below]

He describes the aviation industry as “an outlaw,” and elsewhere complains that

the outlaws of aviation pay no tax at all on their fuel nor [value added tax] on their tickets…

He cites, as though it’s gospel truth, a report written by a committee stacked with climate alarmists regarding what might happen in 2050:

Aviation made up 6% of UK emissions in 2011 but will make up at least 25% of the total in 2050. [links in original, the second goes to the 165-page report by the Committee on Climate Change]

This is a journalist who, while accusing other people of hubris, thinks he knows better than industry insiders how many runways and flights to particular destinations make sense. This is a journalist who thinks the rest of us should pay more taxes and fees – and who chides elected politicians for caring about apparently irrelevant matters such as “short-term economic growth.”

Brimming over with self-regard, Carrington looks into the future and declares his belief that

Aviation will be brought under national and regional carbon caps as progress continues on international action on climate change.

Earth to the Guardian: the Kyoto Protocol died at the end of 2012. There is no evidence whatsoever that anything meaningful is about to happen in the way of “international action on climate change.”

Progress is not continuing. It has stalled. But the head of the environment section of your newspaper hasn’t noticed.



Print Friendly, PDF & Email


This entry was posted on July 19, 2013 by in ethical & philosophical, media and tagged , .
%d bloggers like this: