Environmental reportage: eyeing the sparrow

I'm always amazed at the selective reportage of environmental issues. Yesterday, the AP reported:

An Associated Press analysis of a little—known government research project shows that black Americans are 79 percent more likely than whites to live in neighborhoods where industrial pollution is suspected of posing the greatest health danger.

Thus, we have  a news media analysis of a government research project which  concludes that "industrial pollution is suspected of posing the greatest health danger" in neighborhoods where blacks are 79% more likely to live than whites.
 
We are not given the factual basis for these suspicions. We, in fact, are given no evidence to conclude that industrial pollution poses a greater health danger to the residents of these neighborhoods than to those of other neighborhoods.
 
We do have rather stringent environmental protection laws to prevent harm from industrial and other pollutants. Yet the article never indicates they are inadequate or not being properly enforced.And, as usual, the AP article devolves into anecdotal, not scientific, reports to plump up this thin gruel.
 
In sum, we have speculation on top of speculation which gets top billing because it has a highly charged minorities—as—victims—of— capitalism and the Bush— Administration— is— bad subtext.

On the other hand we know by this time that millions of Third World residents —— mostly children —— are dying because of a misguided and foolish ban on DDT (both directly from malaria, and indirectly because  its impact on Third World economies has been an unmitigated disaster).

Since the environmental movement garnered its stripes in that battle, this serious, well—documented effect is rarely given press space. Worse, until today when I read this, I had no idea that was the deliberate intention of some of those who fought for the ban:

Population control advocates blamed DDT for increasing third world population. In the 1960s, World Health Organization authorities believed there was no alternative to the overpopulation problem but to assure than up to 40 percent of the children in poor nations would die of malaria. As an official of the Agency for International Development stated, "Rather dead than alive and riotously reproducing."

As usual, the reporter eyes the speculative, partisan sparrow and ignores the actual vulture flying overhead.
 
Clarice Feldman  12 14 05

I'm always amazed at the selective reportage of environmental issues. Yesterday, the AP reported:

An Associated Press analysis of a little—known government research project shows that black Americans are 79 percent more likely than whites to live in neighborhoods where industrial pollution is suspected of posing the greatest health danger.

Thus, we have  a news media analysis of a government research project which  concludes that "industrial pollution is suspected of posing the greatest health danger" in neighborhoods where blacks are 79% more likely to live than whites.
 
We are not given the factual basis for these suspicions. We, in fact, are given no evidence to conclude that industrial pollution poses a greater health danger to the residents of these neighborhoods than to those of other neighborhoods.
 
We do have rather stringent environmental protection laws to prevent harm from industrial and other pollutants. Yet the article never indicates they are inadequate or not being properly enforced.And, as usual, the AP article devolves into anecdotal, not scientific, reports to plump up this thin gruel.
 
In sum, we have speculation on top of speculation which gets top billing because it has a highly charged minorities—as—victims—of— capitalism and the Bush— Administration— is— bad subtext.

On the other hand we know by this time that millions of Third World residents —— mostly children —— are dying because of a misguided and foolish ban on DDT (both directly from malaria, and indirectly because  its impact on Third World economies has been an unmitigated disaster).

Since the environmental movement garnered its stripes in that battle, this serious, well—documented effect is rarely given press space. Worse, until today when I read this, I had no idea that was the deliberate intention of some of those who fought for the ban:

Population control advocates blamed DDT for increasing third world population. In the 1960s, World Health Organization authorities believed there was no alternative to the overpopulation problem but to assure than up to 40 percent of the children in poor nations would die of malaria. As an official of the Agency for International Development stated, "Rather dead than alive and riotously reproducing."

As usual, the reporter eyes the speculative, partisan sparrow and ignores the actual vulture flying overhead.
 
Clarice Feldman  12 14 05