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E-M:/ The biggest environmental challenge right now



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Enviro-Mich message from Larry Nooden <ldnum@umich.edu>
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I think it is the relentless and ruthless attacks coming from radical-right talk show hosts (e.g., Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, et al. on WJR, 760 am Detroit and other radio stations) and partisan TV stations (e.g., Fox). At this time, they are focused on President Obama's economic initiatives, but that includes his energy policies. Many of our fellow citizens accept these highly partisan infomercial/infotainment sources as the whole truth and nothing but the truth. With his scientific expertise, Rush (Jan., 2009) feels qualified to inform his followers that ?Man-made global warming is a hoax.?

Compared to this battle, the CAFOs, Dow Chemical, etc. (important as they are) are minor skirmishes. The stakes are high as demagogues clammer for ever more power. This battle could easily trump all the others.

These talk show moderators/hosts practice some remarkable techniques for shutting out/putting down differing ideas, even the simple facts, and retaining their faithful followings. For example, Sean Hannity will turn down the volume and blur the voices of callers if they express a dissenting idea and then cut them off as insulting if he can not handle the topic, even if they are polite and correct on facts. Fox TV hosts bring on guests with differing ideas, but talk right over them (a technique called 'eating alive') when their answers head in unwanted directions, and/or they bring on ?light weights? and then ?run over? over them. Clearly, they are only interested in promoting their political agendas no matter what it takes. Their influence is so great that the editor of the journal Science (a weekly publication of the American Association for the Advancement of Science) laments the educational deficiencies that leave so many unable to understand what is wrong (Alberts B [2009] Redefining Science Education. Science 323:437). It's a major problem that is affecting our environment, consumer protection and even democracy.

Who profits from this and who pays Rush Limbaugh $400,000,000+/8 years? Even lower-level spokespersons seem very highly paid. This is a very, very big business; a small number of people made an enormous amount of money from application of these political ideologies in the recent past. It is also political campaign financing with no limits and little or no scrutiny.

In spite of pious claims, these radical right-wing ideologies have produced antienvironmetal and social results that run counter to the prosocial mandates of all the major religions, especially Christianity.

Solutions? Get these partisan infomercials/infotainments out into the open, at least the more outrageous stuff. Make sure the suppressed/ omitted facts reach these audiences somehow. Who can do it? MoveOn.org, the Sierra Club, League of Conservation Voters, others?

LCV has an interesting start on this: <http://www.withusorwithrush.org/>



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