On Monday, the legacy media crossed a critical line. The San Diego Union-Tribune announced, in a column with the grotesquely misleading title "Fair Reporting on Global Warming" by its media columnist Carol Goodhue, that it will no longer cover both sides of the global warming story, instead limiting itself to acting as a conduit for Green propaganda.
This, of course, marks no drastic change in actual policy. Old media has for years acted as a front for various interests ranging from local power centers up to global ideological movements. But it always did so under the pretense of "objectivity" - even when publishing direct handouts from various interests, media outlets usually took pains to present themselves as "objective", although the contortions involved often approached the level of caricature.
But now that mask has been thrown away. If I'm not mistaken, this marks the first time that a major media outlet has, before the fact, stated outright that it intends to act as a propaganda source.
This piece may be something on the level of a trial balloon. From the evidence of her writing, Goodhue is not someone who could formulate such a policy on her own, nor do newspapers usually take their marching orders from columnists. Goodhue shows no awareness whatsoever of the gravity of the step the paper is taking, and makes no serious defense of it - or, for that matter, gives any sign of knowing that it requires a defense. She simply parrots the current line, "The debate is over", several times in several different forms. It would interesting to know how the discussion behind this piece went, and how the editors selected the most expendable columnist.
The aim is obvious. If you can claim that the debate is over for something as shaky as global warming, you can do the same with anything. The stem cell debate? It's over. Abortion? The same. The 2008 election? Why wait for the voters? The existence of Israel? We don't talk about that anymore.
Nothing to it. Once the precedent is set, you can say any damn thing you please. And with Goodhue's column, the precedent has been set.
The word for this is "hubris". Which, according to the great Hellenes (who also invented such things as democracy and freedom of opinion), usually precedes a swift comeuppance. If this piece is any indication, it can't come soon enough.