The Monday Morning Teaser

Last week’s Sift came out right after the IPCC’s new climate-change report. With no time to think about it, I ignored it. I’ll try to make up for that this week.

When I did have time to think about it, I was struck as much by the coverage of the report as by the report itself. It almost didn’t matter what IPCC’s scientists had said. The headlines would be about the terrible things that were set to happen by a particular date, and the denialists would denounce those predictions as scaremongering. If the predictions grow more extreme, that’s not taken as evidence that the situation is getting worse, but that the proponents of the climate change theory are growing more desperate.

On either side, the media talks about climate change as if it were a bomb set to go off in some future year. The argument, then, is about whether or not the bomb is a dud or the timer is accurate. That’s a totally screwed-up frame and produces a screwed-up public debate.

So the featured article this week, which I still haven’t titled, doesn’t begin with the predictions of disaster. Rather, I start with why this report was written, why it focuses on the particular parameters it does, and why it is coming out now. I frame the issue with a different metaphor than a bomb: Burning fossil fuels is like smoking cigarettes. That more accurate metaphor makes it easier to see through the sophistries of climate-change denial.

I still have a lot of work to do on that, so it may not appear before 11 EDT. The weekly summary covers Hurricane Michael, how the mid-term elections look, the missing Turkish journalist, the return of Iran sanctions, the ongoing sabotage of ObamaCare, and a few other things. It should be out by 1.

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  • Meg LeSchack  On October 15, 2018 at 9:39 am

    What?! Nothing about the Red Sox or thePatriots?! Just kidding–so many events to talk about, they’re like continuing aftershocks in these times when so many institutions are developing cracks. Thanks, Doug. Meg LeSchack

    Sent from my iPhone


    • knb  On October 15, 2018 at 7:22 pm

      And the deadline to register to vote in Massachusetts is this Wednesday, October 17

  • reverendsax  On October 15, 2018 at 9:40 am

    As a former smoker I appreciate the simile of the planet with our bodies and the many things we put in the air and ultimately into our lungs.

  • Peter  On October 15, 2018 at 11:18 am

    The journalist who is missing is not Turkish — he’s A Saudi Arabian last seen in Turkey.

  • AJ  On October 15, 2018 at 4:01 pm

    I think there’s another analysis of the failure of the News media to help us focus on what’s important. Pretty clearly News is a business that has been doing less than well until they discovered that they make money on every bet no matter which horse wins. If they get us to pay attention to the 90:1 horse they win.

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