Local replies to previously published, ‘Should the news strike against Facebook?’ by Matthew Claxton


Its questionable business ethics and other shortcomings aside, Facebook, to its credit, has enabled far greater information freedom than that by the mainstream news-media—and especially the notoriously tight gate-keeping practised by newspapers, including Black Press products.

I’ve been left most troubled by the comparably constrained reporting on man-made global warming and the large part played by fossil fuel extraction, refinement and consumption, including that of Canadian fractured gas and crude oil.

I dread that too many people believe that if the mainstream news media aren’t that concerned about it, then maybe there’s not that much about which for them to be concerned.

In an interview with the online National Observer, Noam Chomsky, a renowned linguist and cognitive scientist stated in regards to “[even] the liberal media” that, though there are stories published about man-made climate change, “it’s as if … there’s a kind of a tunnel vision — the science reporters are occasionally saying ‘look, this is a catastrophe,’ but then the regular [non-environmental] coverage simply disregards it.”

Then there was the unsigned editorial in The Peace Arch News printed just before Earth Day 2017, titled “Earth Day in need of a face-lift.” It opinioned “some people would argue that [the day of environmental action] … is an anachronism,” and that it should instead be a day of recognizing what we’ve accomplished as a society. “And while it [has] served us well, in 2017, do we really need Earth Day anymore?”

This notion was to me so absurd that I mused as to whether it was penned by Tom Fletcher, who fully supports increased Canadian fossil fuel harvesting and criticizes man-made climate change science.

In all my years, I’ve never once heard anyone, in or outside of the news media, suggest that we’re doing so well as to render Earth Day “an anachronism.” Still, considering the sorry state of the planet’s natural environment, it was the most irresponsible form of editorial journalism I’ve yet seen in my three decades of newspaper consumption. It wasn’t that it was just another opinion, but many readers take such unsigned editorials more seriously than one might think—I used to be one.

Indeed, it was the day I read that editorial that I became jaded towards the journalism profession and became more familiar with the completely open forum Facebook platforms.

What’s unfortunate, however, is that such social media open forum availability on this most pressing topic may have still been at least a decade too late.

Frank Sterle Jr.

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