Thursday, August 25, 2005

One more to add to the collection

Why is it that I feel the same way about the BBC's coverage of the environment that I used to feel about the National Geographic magazine: not news but adornment? I used to have a subscription to the NG, but I found it moved into artwork rather than reportage.

This seems similar:

'The stalactites hang like glass daggers over the glacial lake. Ice peaks rise against the bright blue sky like crystal pyramids.
Mounds of dark rock rise up between the snow and ice, discoloured after years of being covered by the glacier.

This is Pastoruri. In the past 10 years, its ice caps have retreated by about 200 metres'

What's wrong with this article is that there's no news in it; none. Glaciers have been retreating and advancing unpredictably for as long as they've been around- and it's not news to point out the latest advance or retreat in a random location. You can't find a single current news item in this article about Peru. Nothing's happening; no drought or flood- even though they're natural too. Such things are simply not news- they're speculatively playing upon a trend of public thinking, what might one day seem to be simple hysteria. Wikipedia is interesting on this:

'Glacial movement has recently become politicized in discussions of global warming. Opponents of global warming like to point out that although some glaciers are retreating, others are advancing and therefore must be growing.'

So guess which side the BBC's on. Go on.

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