Mainstream Media Fail to Cover Story on True Costs of Coal

Mainstream Media Fail to Cover Story on True Costs of Coal
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Yesterday, ​Media Matters​ reported in a story titled, “Media Ignore Study On Real Price Of Coal-Fired Power,” that since the release of a ground-breaking report by the American Economic Review, titled “Environmental Accounting for Pollution in the United States Economy,” not a single mainstream media outlet has echoed the findings of the report – not a single one.

Wrote ​Media Matters,

A study published in the prestigious journal American Economic Review estimates that the costs imposed on society by air pollution from coal-fired power plants are greater than the value added to the economy by the industry. The study concluded that coal may be ‘underregulated’ since the price we pay for coal-fired power doesn’t account for its costs.

According to a Nexis search, not a single major newspaper or television network has covered the study. By contrast, an industry-funded report on the cost of EPA regulations of these air pollutants has received considerable media attention.

By contrast, the mainstream media have flocked like vultures to an American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity (ACCCE) “study,” reporting it as gospel, even though ACCCE is merely a coal industry front group. That “study” concluded that two Clean Air rules would result in the loss of 1.4 million job-years by 2020 and increase electricity rates by over 23 percent in some areas.

See the juxtaposition on how it was covered by the mainstream media:
Soon after its release, U.S. News, Greenwire, and Investor’s Business Daily covered the study. In the following weeks and months, Greenwire mentioned the report again, as did the Christian Science Monitor, New York Times, and National Journal.

The old adage “He who pays the piper calls the tune” is applicable in this scenario, as in all scenarios dealing with news media that rely on corporate advertising money, it appears. And let’s not even get into media conglomerates owned by corporations.

The public deserves to hear about important, credible news – the AER report is a prime candidate for coverage. But the mainstream media seems content to feed us a steady diet of industry front group propaganda instead.

Mainstream Media Fail to Cover Story on True Costs of Coal
Steve Horn is a former Research Fellow and writer for DeSmog and a freelance investigative journalist based in San Diego, CA. He currently works as a climate reporter and producer for The Real News Network.

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