Accepting Global Warming as Fact: 'It Helps That the German Media Is Less Strict about the Division between Editorials and News Than the News Media in the United States.'
Becker, Markus, Nieman Reports
When Ross Gelbspan spoke about the aftermath of his recent op-ed in The Boston Globe, his comments provoked deep astonishment. As he put it, his article exploded onto the scene at the end of August, sending shock waves through the U.S. media. Angry letters to the editor poured in to the Globe, while Gelbspan himself went on the talk show circuit.
When Gelbspan told this story to a group of visiting German journalists, I among them, we were perplexed. What on earth had this man written to cause such an uproar? The answer was this: In his op-ed, entitled "Katrina's Real Name," Gelbspan, author of "Boiling Point," had claimed that 1. global warming exists and 2. not only does it exist, it even has definite, tangible effects, such as more powerful hurricanes. [See article by Gelbspan on page 77.] When we heard this, confusion gave way to utter bewilderment. For the average German media consumer, this would have been about as shocking as declaring that the world is round.
Cultural differences might well be at play here. After all, Germans are known for obsessively sorting their household waste into plastics, metals, glass, paper and compost and placing it all in separate, different colored plastic bins. The glass--and most Americans think this is a joke--is further sorted by color and tossed into neighborhood containers-but no later than 7 p.m. please, to keep the noise down. Anyone who accidentally tosses regular garbage in with the recycling is asking for serious trouble with the neighbors. And when a hurricane drowns a city like New Orleans, …
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Publication information: Article title: Accepting Global Warming as Fact: 'It Helps That the German Media Is Less Strict about the Division between Editorials and News Than the News Media in the United States.'. Contributors: Becker, Markus - Author. Magazine title: Nieman Reports. Volume: 59. Issue: 4 Publication date: Winter 2005. Page number: 97+. © 1999 Harvard University, Nieman Foundation. COPYRIGHT 2005 Gale Group.
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