Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Bad Reporting Example

So I just ran over to Yahoo AP news and saw this
article . It is an article on a Bush/Blair news conference about the fact that the other 7 of the G8 could not get Bush to budge on the Kyoto climate control agreements. The article is essentially a report of each man's words. In short, it is the sort of article that anyone with a tape recorder could write, and it leaves out almost all context or assessment of what the political leaders say. Examples:

"Now is the time to get beyond the
Kyoto protocol and develop a strategy forward," Bush said.

OK. Has the administration ever presented this new strategy? Mention the publication of the document and one or two critical ways it is different.

'The president says the Kyoto treaty, aside from being bad for the U.S. economy, is seriously flawed because it does not include developing countries such as China and India.'

OK. What evidence does Bush present that it is bad for the economy and how bad? Just a couple numbers. And then why are the other 7 of the G8 members so stupid to sign this thing which will wipe out their economies? Do they agree with the US numbers, and why not? Also, they have started to implement the Kyoto protocols already. How are the costs actually coming in?

'Bush said he would stick to what he has previously supported — a reduction in U.S. emissions by roughly 18 percent.'

OK. Assuming not everyone has the Kyoto Treaty memorized, how does this compare to what the other nations agreed to? And why was the US stupid enough to agree to an 18% reduction since it will damage our economy?

"The goal of the United States is to neutralize and then reduce greenhouse gases," he [Bush] said. "We are now developing the better way forward."

OK. So the US has this goal. First, why, since they don't believe there is global warming anyway, do they have such a goal? Of if they do think the global warming models are accurate, and they think warming is related to green house gases, hence this goal, what is better about the new way forward, as opposed to Kyoto?

Finally, don't let Blair and the other G7 off without some context as well. Explain in 3-4 sentences that there are models predicting global warming, and at what human and economic cost. Then mention how those models are models, and Kyoto is based on a scientific "guess" for lack of a better word, but one based on evidence.

This article was written by an AP Economics Editor, so let him show off what he knows. The way it comes out, I, with no economics or climatology or government policy background, could have written it.

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