USA Today Neglects Science, Panders to Politics

Unstated truths in news media do not magically reveal themselves to the masses. With my stance established, I would like to expend some energy calling out USA Today for their front-page coverage of natural disasters and FEMA resources.

In USA Today science doesn’t take backseat to politics and economics, in fact it’s not even in the car. USA Today frames increased frequency of extreme weather events as a political scandal. It seems they took Bill McKibben’s sarcasm as literal advice: “It is vitally important not to make connections.”

 Not once in Thomas Frank’s cover story does he mention climate, let alone climate change, which increases the frequency of extreme weather events and the economic cost of recovery, according to the EPA and re-insurance agencies. Instead, Frank focuses on criticism of political players.

Perhaps the most heinous offense, journalistically speaking, is that the article undermines Obama’s declarations for small-scale disasters. The headline puts ‘disasters’ in quotation marks to diminish the legitimacy of their severity and then frames the article for discussion of use of federal funds.

Increasing frequency has been something we have known about for at least a decade, but here we are finding inarguably climate-related news being conveyed with political and economic focus. This article therefore refutes my thesis by showing how news media doesn’t even get the science right, let alone the political-economic structures that cause it.

It's articles like this that truly make me feel alone against an evil empire. I’ll leave you with a reading of McKibben’s dark and terrifying op-ed so you can feel the same way!