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An Abundance of Energy Transition Cringe (ETC)
The Los Angeles Times prints ETC almost as fast as the Federal Reserve prints money.
We’re going to look back someday at the Corporate Press just as we look back to the era of Yellow Journalism at the end of the 19th and early 20th centuries.
Author Ashley Rindsberg released a book last year specifically covering the New York Times, called The Gray Lady Winked: How the New York Times's Misreporting, Distortions and Fabrications Radically Alter History. It’s a short, yet scathing critique of some of the Iron Lady’s journalistic malpractices including defending Nazis, covering up the Soviet-caused famine in 1930s Ukraine, propping up Cuban dictator Fidel Castro as a Democracy-supporting hero, and the recent 1619 Project’s historical revisionism.
Batya Ungar-Sargon, Deputy Editor of Newsweek, recently released a book covering a slightly different scope, called Bad News: How Woke Media Is Undermining Democracy. There, she covers the slow changes to journalism, or what she calls a “status revolution” over the 20th century from working class entrepreneurial type positions in journalism to the modern elitist journalists who in order to get a good writing job must attend an elite university.
To quote directly from the City Journal review, emphasis mine:
Ungar-Sargon points to three major trends driving the transformation of once socially eclectic mass media into today’s class-skewed press. First, a “respectability counterrevolution” has stigmatized working-class culture as unworthy of media attention, pushing the urban press to cater to the tastes and interests of American sophisticates instead, as epitomized by The New Yorker. Second, a “status revolution” has turned journalism, once a primarily middle-class profession, into an upper-class one, with aspiring writers and reporters from humble backgrounds having to scramble through a succession of apprenticeships just to get their first job. Third, advertising has replaced subscriptions as the media’s main source of revenue, even as the industry consolidates into five major national conglomerates at the expense of a fast-disappearing local press. Combined, these trends have meant that increasingly upscale journalists cater to equivalently upscale and liberal-minded readers, while the remaining few outlets addressing the working class become conservative outliers.
The author also argues an issue with today’s media largely stems from these journalists, who locked in their own ideological bubbles, writing for others in the same bubble, and one of their methods is to lean on common-enemy identity politics to create a moral panic1.
Someday, I hope someone with far better writing abilities than myself will write a book similar to Reinberg’s or Ungar-Sargon’s about how much of the Corporate Press distorted the facts surrounding the Green Leap Forward and relate energy transition issues.
In the meantime one can document some of the absurdities along the way. And that brings us to The LA Times who (of course) published multiple pieces of Energy Transition Cringe (ETC) over the past few days.
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Their Editorial Board, with an almost religious fervor, praised the Noble Bureaucrats at the CA Air Resources Board (CARB) for voting to ban the sales of gasoline vehicles by 2035.
Among a few passages:
It’s hard to overstate the significance of California’s move this week to end the sale of new gas-powered cars.
The end of the internal combustion engine era, and the toll on our lungs and our planet, is finally on the horizon.
It’s a pivotal moment for a state that has been shaped for decades, often negatively, by automobiles and the health-damaging pollution they generate.
While the vote to ban the sales of gas cars is a remarkable step, it is not aggressive enough to match the grave and growing climate crisis, and will not reduce vehicle pollution quickly enough for California to meet its target of cutting greenhouse gas emissions to 40% below 1990 levels by 2030.
Of course it’s never enough, the Editorial Board Ran a separate piece called, California should go bolder on climate, even if it’s an 11th-hour push.
There the write:
The state’s greenhouse gas reduction goals, once heralded as pioneering and ambitious, now lag other states and countries. California isn’t on track to meet even those outdated targets. And it’s been years since lawmakers have enacted major climate legislation on par with the landmark SB 32 in 2016.
Gov. Gavin Newsom has worked with legislators to set aside tens of billions of dollars of the state’s massive budget surplus and has taken administrative steps to support climate change goals. But he had not, until recently, pushed for new laws with tougher greenhouse gas targets and other mandates at the scale and pace needed to confront the climate crisis.
So in one sense it is encouraging to see Newsom release a five-point legislative proposal to get more aggressive on climate. But it’s hard to understand why the governor waited to propose such sweeping actions until only a few weeks before lawmakers adjourn for the year on Aug. 31.
It’s sure interesting to see the LA Times turn a bit on their Dear Leader Gov. Newsom.
Last year during the failed attempt to recall the governor, they repeatedly showed their biases in favor of him. That stuff on their noses must have been washed off!
Newsom’s support for a faster, more ambitious response to the climate crisis is meaningful and welcome. At the same time, it’s another 11th-hour effort to advance major decisions on energy and the environment, as the governor did in June with a polarizing energy bill that seeks to avoid blackouts, in part, by investing in fossil fuel infrastructure.
That’s not a good way to make sweeping decisions about the future of the world’s fifth-largest economy and its transition from fossil fuels. Legislation of this scale should be crafted transparently over months, or by calling a special session to hash it out comprehensively, rather than rushing to jam it through at the last minute. But if the governor’s support helps advance even some of these climate objectives, legislators and advocates should work quickly to enshrine as much of it into law as possible.
This same Editorial Board also doubled-down on their recent skepticism of their Dear Leader, Gov. Newsom and his recent efforts to want to save Diablo Canyon in, California can’t count on Diablo Canyon's nuclear power, so it should spend now on renewables.
Doomberg ,in December of last year, wrote about one of the Editorial Board’s takes on Diablo Canyon and a few weeks ago I wrote another on a more recent take of theirs. Needless to say, this most recent take doesn’t get any better.
The Anointed Ones at the Editorial Board this time insist an alternative to Newsom’s proposed “rescue” of Diablo is to instead pass a bill currently being drafted in the State Assembly to spend $1.4 billion on renewables instead of passing the bill that spends roughly that much money postponing the closure of Diablo Canyon.
They insist, emphasis mine.
That money would be used to accelerate renewable energy, transmission and storage projects, reduce permitting delays for solar, wind and geothermal developments and support programs that pay consumers to use less power on hot summer evenings when the grid is at highest risk for outages. These are common-sense measures to bolster the electrical grid, and they should be taken regardless of whether Newsom’s proposal to keep Diablo Canyon open another decade moves forward.
There must be seriously something wrong with the water up in LA for these goons to insist any pipe dream proposed by CA’s lawmakers and passed onto the Banana Republic-like incompetent bureaucracy would actually come to fruition. Or the nerve these goons, who have shown time and time again they fail to understand elementary concepts about energy, insist anything idea they worship is common sense.
Unlike Newsom’s plan, this alternative does not depend on a single aging plant that has been operating since 1985 and sits near several earthquake fault lines. It relies instead on a diverse array of clean energy sources that are less expensive, per kilowatt-hour, and don’t pose the safety and environmental hazards of nuclear power.
Legitimate journalists such as those Ungar-Sargon laments the loss of in her book would have properly done their research and realized much of the handwaving around Diablo Canyon’s seismic concerns is greatly exaggerated by anti-nuclear activists. Such competent individuals would understand the price-distortion in the renewables sector that makes them appear cheaper than other sources as well as understand the long history of catastrophizing claims made by anti-nuclear activists with respect to the risks of nuclear energy in general.
And once again, as predicted, a search through their editorial reveals they still have no concept of baseload versus intermittent power yet quip about the need for a reliable power grid.
Ensuring a reliable power grid is going to be crucial to the success of the state’s climate programs. Because when the lights go out during a heat wave it doesn’t only erode confidence in California’s transition from fossil fuels, it poses an immediate threat to people’s lives.
Chances are the propagandists at the LA Times already purchased their generators so they can continue to pontificate to the rest of us from their hilltops though.
The battle is won when the average person regards a corporate journalist exactly as they do a tobacco executive. - Michael Malice
Such example of a moral panic created around identity politics to sell some papers to an ideological bubble and advertisements via such a “respectability counterrevolution” is the recent bigoted screed from LA Times about American expats flooding Mexico City in droves (if any other group of people were portrayed in this way, they’d be canceled out of polite society). Normal people who were only limited to short letters to the editor called out this highly bigoted Progressive/Woke foreplay material while the LA Times piped back with one of their Columnists described the backlash as coming from “smug American expats” who “need to face the truth.”
But blabbering about wokeness is not what we do here, unless that ideology intersects with energy policy.