Memo to Politico: Do you really aspire to being nothing more than a new media version of the MSM — stenographers of the status quo?
The Politico wasn’t a finalist for the 2009 “Citizen Kane” award for non-excellence in climate journalism solely because it is (supposedly) a new media outlet. But while the Politico offers itself as an antidote to the old media, this collection of political journalists has quickly established itself as more of the same. Squared.
Indeed, because they focus on the political ping pong game, with little or no substantive analysis of the issues they write about in a large fraction of their pieces, they are in danger of becoming a poor man’s David Broder, the sultan of the status quo, stenographer of those centrists who are fatally uninformed about global warming.
For instance, in “Republicans push on ‘Climategate’,” the Politico focused strictly on how the right-wing anti-science crowd were using the purloined emails and didn’t even have a single comment from an actual scientist until the second page of the story — and that was science advisor Holdren from his (terrific) House testimony. And they buried the most important line:
Sen. George Voinovich (R-Ohio) dismissed the controversy as more of a public relations problem than a serious scientific meltdown.
An equally bad piece this month, “Have the greens failed?” sought to pass a negative judgment on the entire clean energy effort of the Obama administration and environmental advocates who support its goals — before Obama’s first year was up (!) and with no mention of many of the president’s remarkable achievements (!!), including for instance, Obama will raise new car fuel efficiency standards to 35.5 mpg by 2015, which is the biggest step the U.S. government has ever taken to cut CO2.
This is standard old-media stuff — when the President’s poll numberes are in a down cycle, declare defeat and failure. Since nobody would read the Politico for substantive analysis, which is done infinitely better at a number of major media outlets and blogs, the only possible reason to read the Politico is for the political analysis. But why bother when that analysis is both so predictable and so influenced by the Politico’s center-right, status quo spin on everything?
Naturally, the Politico’s pundits have turned their substance-free, horserace-heavy attention to the bipartisan climate and clean energy bill, in an article titled “Senate Democrats to W.H.: Drop cap-and-trade.” The piece is a perfect example of journalistic malpractice, intentionally misleading from the very start — the headline and lede: