Editor’s note: Blog Action Day is a moment when bloggers from all across the world and belief spectrum come together to bring attention to a specific issue. This year, that issue is climate change. At BuzzFlash, we have two special pieces for you today. You’re looking at one of them, and you can read the other here. Check out Blog Action Day 2009 online here, and keep reading green!
BUZZFLASH NEWS ANALYSIS
by Meg White
Some of you may know that I’m not the biggest fan of the Huffington Post. Their increasingly scream-y headlines in all caps are irritating and often overblown, and their celebrity news section keeps growing while the news news section seems to be shrinking. And if anyone can explain to me why I should care what Fall Out Boy thinks about recent political events, I’d appreciate it.
Some may brush off my criticism by pointing out my status as a public radio-listening, C-SPAN watching nerd. Arianna Huffington’s news judgment when it comes to the environment, however, needs a serious make-over.
Take a gander at a couple of stories I grabbed over this past week. This one pictured to the right actually comes from the “Green” section of the Huffington Post. I don’t understand what a talking dog has to do with the environment, unless he’s reciting from Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring. But I’m just using this as one example of the many problems with story placement in the supposedly environmental portion of this mega-blog.
I also don’t understand what a video of goats surfing on each others’ backs set to a Beach Boys/Beatles medley has to do with the environment either, but I found that one in the “Green” section back in July. But gee golly, wasn’t it adorable!
HuffPo also invites you this week to vote on who is the sexiest organic farmer. As a frequent farmer’s market attendee (I was freezing my fanny off at one this morning before work, actually), I find the gnarliest, dustiest farmers are usually the most friendly and helpful ones, personally. But then I don’t live in Los Angeles, so what do I know about beauty?
This second one would be funny if it weren’t so callous. Aside from not making any sense, even in the pun world (if Twitter is frozen, how do you come up with a melting sea as a visual?), it’s also a sad misappropriation. So you’re telling me drowning polar bears are equal in crisis level to some ephemeral social networking site which contributes nothing to the economy and for the most part drains productivity in workplaces worldwide not working for a few hours? Please.
Huffington Post hosted Harold Ambler’s rantings against Al Gore and other “climate alarmists” in January of this year. While Gore’s movie An Inconvenient Truth certainly has its fair share of inaccuracies, Ambler goes a step further to say that it’s China’s coal-burning ways, and not our carbon emissions, that are to blame for pollution (oh, and climate change is totally natural, too):
To be told, as I have been, by Mr. Gore, again and again, that carbon dioxide is a grave threat to humankind is not just annoying, by the way, although it is that! To re-tool our economies in an effort to suppress carbon dioxide and its imaginary effect on climate, when other, graver problems exist is, simply put, wrong. Particulate pollution, such as that causing the Asian brown cloud, is a real problem. Two billion people on Earth living without electricity, in darkened huts and hovels polluted by charcoal smoke, is a real problem.
Perhaps the problem at HuffPo is one of ad revenues. On their “green” page alone yesterday, I found the advertisers ranged from Ford Motor Co., Siemens Energy, American Express, and Toyota. I’m sure it’s a lot more attractive to paste one’s ads on green fluff than on a site that tackles real environmental problems.
Huffington Post also has partnered with the now famous “No Impact Man” to encourage readers to participate in “No Impact Week” starting Oct. 18. I applaud the project, though in reading through their guide, I noticed a lot of “just for this week” type of exhortations. For example, put off buying anything (until next week) is day one’s assignment. Uh, OK. Ever had a tight week between rent and pay day? I’m guessing not.
More to the point, the name of the project is really misleading. Participants don’t even have to give up their cars until they’re one-fourth of the way through the week (and there’s even a segment called “If You Must Drive” that gives you hints such as not letting your engine idle and taking shortcuts. “Think About Your Impact Week” is a better name, though it’s certainly not as catchy.
Though we won’t win the hottest green bloggers award, you also won’t catch us selling ads that conflict with our editorial content. And while some of the cute animal videos on HuffPo’s Green page are a nice diversion, that’s not what we need right now; we need action. And what better time to call for action than on Blog Action Day 2009?
BUZZFLASH NEWS ANALYSIS