What do we mean when we refer to mainstream media? There is even an acronym for it — the MSM. Generally we expect the MSM to express viewpoints consistent with the elites who own that media. And in so far as those who own the media are corporations, and in so far as corporations are interested in one thing and one thing only—profits—we are forced to conclude that the MSM covers only those things which that elite ownership has deemed profitable. It's more complicated than this of course—all human arrangements are—but I think this simple explanation captures the essence of how the MSM works.
If that's how the MSM works, we would expect to see so-called media watchdogs who tell us which subjects have been deemed profitable and which are viewed as counterproductive to making boatloads of money. Media Matters For America is one such watchdog, and they recently noticed that global warming (anthropogenic climate change) is not a money-maker. It's easy to see why: global warming is such a bummer. Flo can't sell people Progressive Insurance during those interminable commercial breaks if the Earth's surface is warming, and humans are causing it, and this warming will eventually result (along with other human-caused factors) in the near-total destruction of the biosphere.
Only 14% Of Heat Wave Stories Mentioned Climate Change. In a study of major media outlets, only 8.7% of television segments and 25.5% of print articles reported on record-breaking July heat waves in the context of climate change.
CNN And ABC Stand Out In Their Incomplete Coverage. Of the six TV outlets included in our analysis, ABC mentioned climate change the least, in only 2% of coverage. Among the cable networks, CNN mentioned climate change the least, in less than 4% of coverage. MSNBC was the only television network to regularly incorporate climate change into primetime segments on extreme heat.
Fox Mentioned Climate Change Once, Only To Dismiss It. In six primetime segments on extreme heat, Fox News raised climate change once. The Five's only liberal co-host Bob Beckel noted that record July heat is consistent with global warming, and was promptly dismissed by co-host Greg Gutfeld, who routinely denies that manmade global warming is occurring.
Quality Of Heat Wave Coverage Varied Among Major Papers. Overall, the major print outlets mentioned climate change in just over a quarter of articles on extreme heat. The New York Times led the pack, mentioning climate change in more than half of its coverage (54.5%), and the Washington Post mentioned it in 26% of articles on July heat. But the Associated Press, the Los Angeles Times, and USA Today mentioned it in less than 15% of coverage. The Wall Street Journal didn't mention climate change at all, although the paper had significantly fewer stories on extreme heat.
Only 8% Of Coverage Pointed Out That Human Activities Are Driving Climate Change. Only 6% of television segments and 12% of print articles noted that climate change is fueled by human activities including the burning of fossil fuels, which emit greenhouse gases that are warming the planet. The Associated Press, USA Today, Fox News and the Wall Street Journal never made that connection.
Associating recent extreme weather events (the record-setting heat waves) with human-caused climate change also breaks down along political lines, so making money is not the sole cause of avoidance of the subject, although I would argue that avarice is indeed the ultimate cause of all political bias, at least in this culture.
Thus we see that Fox News mentioned global warming once, but only to dismiss it. We see that the "liberal" alternative MSNBC associated global warming with the extreme heat 88% of the time. However, political bias does not explain the reticence of CNN, CBS, NBC and especially ABC, which mentioned global warming only 2% of the time. I believe we can chalk up the behavior of CNN, ABC, and the others to their simple desire to not rock the money-making boat.
It is important to see that the omission of crucial information is far more prevalent and effective than telling outright lies about a subject, or distorting it beyond all recognition.
In short, what you don't see is often far more important than what you do see. If you don't believe this, ask a magician (or a Jungian psychologist, if there are any left). How do magicians make a living? They create plausible illusions which look like magic to the uninitiated.
We have now learned that there is evidence suggesting that Progressive Is About To Kill Off Flo.
In adland, it's been stated so often it's now a truism: America loves Flo, the Progressive insurance pitch woman played by comedian Stephanie Courtney, and a huge portion of the company's brand equity is tied up in the Flo character. Progressive spends up to a quarter of a billion dollars a year on ads starring Flo.
Yet this week comes talk of The End of Flo.
The story has taken on a life of its own on the web, and people are heaping scorn upon Progressive, which at one point denied it had paid for the lawyer—only to be contradicted by the court record.
They're also blaming Flo, and suggesting that the character is now a millstone for Progressive because her perpetually smiling face is an inappropriate response to a PR crisis.
As I often do, I am wondering whether Human Life On Earth could be any more ridiculous. I think not, although it is always a grievous mistake to underestimate the human capacity for farce.
Bonus Video — I could watch this stuff all day long. It's so funny, and so true to life.