Accuracy in Media

Under the Trump presidency, the mainstream media brought environmental issues and news reporting back to the forefront. During the eight years of the Obama administration, much of the environmental news coverage appeared to gloat over the Obama administration’s environmental policies, which was met with much disdain and disapproval in coal-mining states such as West Virginia, Ohio, and Pennsylvania.

Fast-forward to 2019, where the mainstream media highlighted environmental news in a negative light and consistently suggested that the Trump administration is to blame for climate change and negative impacts on the environment and the planet. For example, the mainstream media chose to follow teenage climate change activist Greta Thunberg during her tour of America and her advocacy for climate change policies, a stark contrast from the Trump administration’s regulatory rollbacks related to the environment.

Yet, despite the ongoing media narrative that the Trump administration is ruining America’s environment, allegedly worsening America’s air qualities standards, and other accusations, America’s environmental standards remain one of the most effective in the world. Nothing highlighted this more than the media’s coverage of India’s worsening air pollution.

In New Delhi, the capital city of India, residents braced for weeklong smog conditions. The smog was thick and unhealthy to the point that flights had to be diverted from New Delhi to other airports due to the thickness of the smog. Also, the city is imposing regulations on how many motor vehicles can be on the road, to diminish air pollution.

CNN reported that this week’s smog was “more than three times the ‘hazardous’ level on the global air quality index (AQI).” The cable news network also mentioned how this week’s AQI level is “the worst levels seen in more than three years” and the city declared a public health emergency to warn residents not to go to school or travel outside unless it is absolutely necessary. CNN also noted that New Delhi was notorious for poor air quality and high levels of air pollution and has not found a way to fix it. Interesting enough, CNN blamed farmers outside of New Delhi for causing air pollution by burning excess or surplus crops and not the usual suspect of climate change.

Contrast New Delhi’s air pollution problems with American cities, such as New York City, Los Angeles, and San Francisco.  Although New Delhi’s population far outpaces these American cities at almost 22 million inhabitants to a combined 13 million, America’s air quality standards include regulation of motor vehicle emissions to limit air pollution. Also, farming practices in the United States tend to be more environmentally-conscious than in developing countries such as India, in addition to air quality standards imposed on power plants and other emission-producing entities.

Despite the doom-and-gloom reporting about the Trump administration’s rollback of environmental regulations and increasing pollution, CNN’s article on New Delhi’s air pollution woes exposed the climate change narrative for what it is: much-overhyped despite the positive results.

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