Energy coverage: national and local


For a week, I have been monitoring CBS and NBC's national news' coverage of the energy crisis. Each night they give us a "new record" in gas and oil prices, and "discuss" the controversy. Their debate is almost always framed as a choice between "drilling" and "conservation."

The networks go into "depth" (as much depth as sixty second TV news stories can) about the candidates positions on whether or not to drill in ANWR or offshore, or conserve. often mentioned is more "clean" coal (if such a thing exists) or more nuclear plants.

Shale oil, hydrogen cars, reporting on hybrid sales, and environmental stories are also covered along with the rare story on corn ethanol driving up the price of food. Along the way, we are subjected to interminable statements by industry "experts" who are usually lobbyists.

Now and then, one hears the words, "alternative energy sources," but they are seldom explored with any serious or persuasive intent, and of course, this whole charade is surrounded by oil company advertisements which tell us how Big Oil loves us and is looking out for our interests.

My local paper, the Albuquerque Journal, is no better. It ran a lead story on "NM's Energy Gurus (6-15-08)" and in a full page and a half of questioning our two Senators, who chair the Senate Energy Committee, the word "SOLAR" is only mentioned once (tangentially) and "WIND" not at all!

When the Senate refused to renew tax credits for solar and wind energy companies, the Journal put the story in Section C (6-18-08). Imagine that, with $4 gasoline the Senate will not renew solar and wind energy credits, and it is not a front page story!

Two week later (6-2-08) the Journal's front page story was "Public Says Drill." It highlighted only two solutions for our energy crisis, more drilling or conservation with nuclear and alternative energy mentioned only in passing. It mentioned drilling in ANWR three times.

Today's Journal article, "Time for Energy Debate?" gives readers the same old choices--drill more or conserve--not a word about renewable sources of energy.

What do you think?

Why do we see so little about alternative energy in our news?

Some say that if we had spent the $150 Billion economic "stimulus" package (that we borrowed) on wind and solar, instead of giving most of us a $600 check, we would be on our way to energy independence, building whole new industries with good jobs and employing legions of Americans for decades and lowering the price of oil.

Many scientists say there is enough solar power in NM to free the whole country from mideast oil. They say the same thing about wind in North Dakota.

Could Big Oil and Big Coal be tilting our news, both national and local? Are they afraid of energy sources that they cannot control?

Something to think about.

Have a great Fourth of July weekend.