One of those angry letters-to-the-editors was published in the March 16 edition of The Herald attributing the “slow demise of newspapers” to folly born out of liberal bias.
The Miami Shores writer said, “Anything that does not hew to the liberal politics or challenges the conventional wisdom doesn’t get printed.”
He wrote that as a newspaper reader for 45 years he had long taken “as gospel most everything I read.” But along came the Internet. “I found out how slanted some of the news is.”
He then cited three examples as evidence for his thesis. First, he accused newspapers of printing news that supported the notion of global warming. “Opposing views are not aired even though there is a large body of evidence refuting this fraud.” He intimates that newspapers are behind the movement toward organic food “while the Department of Agriculture can find no additional nutritional value in it.”
And finally, and most puzzling, he charges newspaper with spreading around the idea that obesity is not healthy. “The ills of obesity get lots ink while skinny people, too, die from heart attacks and diabetes.”
Gracious sakes. The science supporting global warming is overwhelming and urgent and so frightening, particularly for low-lying islands or nations with arid climates, that it would be nearly criminal not to report the unhappy consensus. Just this week, a scientific exhibition in the arctic reported an alarming retreat of the great glaciers. There remains a diminished minority among climate scientists who are not convinced that global warming has been caused by human activity. But not the fact of global warming. I don’t know how newspapers could dodge global warming.
Nor do I think newspapers can take credit, or take the blame for the organic food movement. I think the fellow from Miami Shores can pin the blame for folks growing concerns about food additives and livestock hormones and pesticides as much on the Internet as the “liberal” news media. Does he imply that conservatives like the idea of filling their children with preservatives and pesticides?
But fatties? Now that takes the (800 calorie) cake. A not so very liberal outfit, the American Medical Association, has worried itself sick over the obesity epidemic. Skinny people occasionally die of heart disease and diabetes, sure, but doctors, liberal and conservative and the utterly apolitical, claim that excess fat increases the likelihood of premature morbidity. I would say that Al Gore and Rush Limbaugh are at equal risk.
But the writer did illuminate, however unwittingly, the vagaries of the Internet, where myth and fact and paranoid conspiracies and scientific findings get equal treatment. It’s where George Bush masterminded 9-11 and where Barack Obama is a secret Muslim.
And the Internet, apparently, is where skinny people go to die an early death.