Why aren't they talking about let alone doing anything tangible about global warming? Why have we heard more questions about aliens (both the outer space kind and the cross-the-border kind) than climate change?
That's the question the League of Conservation Voters is posing, and while its new campaign's ultimate aim is to influence the presidential candidates on both the Democratic and Republican tickets (and by extension the future of the country and world), the LCV campaign is taking aim at the news media. Particularly, the group has singled out the following personalities for the dearth of attention they've paid to the issue when questioning presidential candidates, either in a major interview or during a debate.
Of 2275 questions analyzed, only three mentioned global warming and 24 related to the issue, according to the LCV tally.
The news anchors are likely reflecting, narrowly, the public's stated interest in the issue. Polls have recently shown energy and environmental issues far down the list of most important issues on voters' minds as we head toward the 2008 presidential election. But public interest might rise if candidates were asked more about the issue. It's a hard fact to prove, but you can be sure that not asking the question does nothing to inspire public interest, or leadership on the issue.
In defense of the news anchors, consider this: The Democrats sound very similar on the twin issues of energy and climate change, though there are differences. And Republicans, with the exception of John McCain, haven't made it much of an issue (reflecting the lack of interest among core conservative party supporters, perhaps).
That equation changes dramatically once the major parties choose their candidates. Then, you'll have a point of real contrast between the candidates and you can bet the anchors will be asking about it.
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