Saturday, 22 December 2007

The Business of Green in the International Herald Tribune

Don't get me wrong: I'm a global warming believer, and I want to see radical change.

The Business of Green is an inspired addition to the International Herald Tribune.

If the rubric helps attract 'green' adverts from the likes of Exxon (their quarter pages currently regularly appearing in the IHT - the content of which IMHO are risible) helps pay for this coverage, then all power to the advertising department.

In fact, these adverts from large corporations trying to project their green credentials are all part and parcel of a term I think is going to enter the MSM in 2008 - 'greenflation' - as journalists writing about the environment search around for 'the new vocabulary of green.'
The cost to business, and consumers, ranging from the cost of cutting car exhaust emissions (sorry, tailpipe) to the rules being imposed by the EU on airlines (both well covered this week by Kanter and Rosenthal) is I think going to be the next big thing in The Business of Green. Corporate image advertising on green issues is another cost to business that will contribute to greenflation.

My only concern about the IHT's coverage is Rosenthal.

Careful reading of some of her pieces indicates to me that this particular journalist is verging on, and I say only verging on, being unbalanced. My strong sense is that she is a 'true believer' in climate change.

I have no problem with that as an individual, but she is a news reporter, not a opinion former, and the weighting of some or her articles, and her story selection, is close to being unbalanced.

I have to say that's a gut feel, based on recent reading of her pieces, rather than the result of any quantitative and qualitative analysis, but I think she needs to pay attention to this.

Just to give you an flavour of what I am talking about, compare her piece last Thurday headlined EU to increase fishing quoats, rejecting scientists advice with the more balanced articles on ethanol in last Wednesday's paper (Food vs. Fuel: Ethanol blamed for higher grocery prices and U.S Ethanol plan may be just a dream)

Keeping fact separate from opinion or bias or lack of balance in news reporting is crucial for the credibility of the green movement. MSM must provide balanced news reporting if readers are to take these issues seriously.

(Vinocur's piece on how green rhetoric is not necessarily helping the cause was also a point well made.)

No comments: