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Local Media Fails in Climate Summit Coverage

December 18, 2009

Right now 192 global delegates at the Climate Summit in Copenhagen are deciding the future of our world. But what is West Michigan saying about this? Not much.

As previously reported the local coverage of the massive Summit is paltry at best and leaves much unreported.

Only one article about the Climate Summit was written by a local journalist, while the rest of the coverage in the Grand Rapids Press, on WOOD-TV, and FOX-17 was from the Associated Press. On WZZM-13 only one short AP article was found, and over on WMMT-CBS there was nothing about the Climate Summit.

The AP articles used present the basic framework of the situation happening now in Denmark: 

Any major environmental commitment hinges on the determination of developed nations, in particular the United States. A draft of a global climate treaty is being debated endlessly, as developing nations say they will be the ones hit hardest by the damage caused by global warming. Developing nations are demanding the major developed nations help pay for the climate damage caused mainly by their greenhouse gas emissions. 

Out of the vast array of articles, local media chose only AP articles that convey part of what is going on in Copenhagen right now, leaving the rest of the debate unreported for West Michigan citizens.

No articles speak of the massive demonstrations that have been taking place since the Summit began, including the demonstrations on the weekend of December 12th & 13th that saw 100,000 people take to the streets demanding action.

No articles speak of how many environmental organizations have now been banned from entering the Bella Conference Center where delegates and world leaders are meeting. 

No articles speak of the mass arrests of protesters, often for less than credible reasons.

No articles speak of the debates surrounding cap and trade carbon agreements. 

Even if local media did not want to post stories from alternative media such as Democracy Now! or  IndyMedia Denmark, there were plenty of AP articles for West Michigan media to choose from, including this one about the protests and arrests, about environmental groups being banned, or even the plight of island nations in the face of global warming. 

Why is West Michigan’s media failing to pick up on these stories? Why do they deem them un-newsworthy? Whose interests are served by ignoring the real debate raging on the streets in Copenhagen?

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