Elections Coverage in Rear-View Mirror: How Key Media Played Climate and Prop 23 Vote

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“It’s the climate, stupid.”

So far as anyone knows, that was decidedly not the campaign counsel that first-string political confidants were giving their top-rung candidates, Bill Clinton’s campaign savant James Carville notwithstanding.

The pre- and post-election punditry focused more on the economy, jobs/jobs/jobs and the lack thereof, and repealing, repairing, or retaining the Obama administration’s landmark accomplishment, health care reform. Climate change, to the extent it was a campaign issue at all, was miscast as “cap-and-trade” and as part of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s political ploys.

Check that: the cap-and-trade issue, at least, did indeed capture some national attention, albeit post-mortem, when the West Virginia outgoing Governor and Democratic Senate candidate Joe Manchin took a rifle and plugged a bullet through the front page of the bill as part of a campaign commercial. It was not entirely clear how the cap-and-trade effort widely seen as already embalmed could be made still more dead.

Pundits and partisans will parry (it’s in their DNA) on where and whether climate change — no one truly familiar with it dare call it simply “cap-and-trade” — played a significant issue in an election outcome.

Few, however, will question that California voters’ decision not to overturn their state’s landmark greenhouse gas legislation was a positive highlight for those wanting action and not just rhetoric on the issue. On that score, San Diego freelancer Bruce Lieberman explores major California newspapers’ pre- and post- Prop 23 coverage ( read more ).

Looking more broadly at major national newspapers’ post-elections coverage of climate and related energy issues, Maryland-based freelance writer Lisa Palmer finds coverage spanning the range … from the meticulous reporting of some to the … let’s say … incongruous ( read more ).

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