walter russell mead peter berger lilia shevtsova adam garfinkle andrew a. michta
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Published on: December 31, 2011
NYT Squeezes Bad News From Good
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  • David

    Michael Klare is a professor of”Peace and.World Security Studies” at Hampshire College. Asking a NYT reporter to contact an academic energy expert from a place like Texas A&M or Colorado School of Mines would be like asking him to split his summer vacation between Vermont and Branson Missouri.

  • Richard Quigley

    That farmer is overstocking the land. A cardinal sin on fragile soils and sure to cause desertification.

  • Don Fulano

    A quick check shows that the price per head for sheep in that neck of the woods has been over US$500. That makes the poor shepherd’s flock worth over US$700,000.

    The poor NYT reporter grieves.

  • Kansas Scott

    The whole concept of weighing risks and rewards seems to have been sucked out of the universe. If I am for something and I can identify one reward, then everyone must agree to be for it. However, if I am against something and I can point to one risk, then all must be opposed. Not only that, those who don’t follow along are bad, bad people probably after something even more bad like a profit.

    Thank you for another well-written example of how a formerly well-respected media outlet has lost its way.

    On another note, I did notice the cheap Buffalo Commons reference without acknowledging that the only true such Commons was envisioned for the great plains states such as Kansas. Another example of a solution for excessive resource consumption proposed by an academic in the east that involved the homes of people far away living in a manner the professor finds unsustainable. For some reason, the idea was resisted. Probably another failure of a risk/reward analysis.

  • joe

    Will no one think of the deserts and preserving them for future generations?

  • Eurydice

    Well yes, it’s complicated – the NYT reaction, that is. There are the usual green politics, and left-wing politics, and the cynical manipulation of the news – plus, the first world “elite” assumptions about what’s good for the “little people,” and some kind of lingering romanticism that longs for the purity and poetry of the rural life. Perhaps the NYT might like to satisfy that longing with season in the desert tending a flock of thirsty sheep. A good dose of heat stroke can make natural gas seem positively lyrical.

  • http://www.nohotair.co.uk Nick Grealy

    Interesting how all the anti-frackers in South Africa are white. In a twist on the US experience where the shale debate is led not by the rural residents themselves but by nimby incomers or Manhattan part time residents who dream of a sylvan paradise populated only by a cheap source of waiters for organic restaurants, the Karoo opponents are really scary right wing Boers of the old school.

    These guys care a lot about the environment because it’s the only place they can still practice the good old days of apartheid. More here

    http://www.nohotair.co.uk/2011/63-shale-gas/2320-shale-gas-goes-international-paranoia-follows.html

  • CJ

    A worthless desert in South Africa, largely inhabited by drought-stricken sheep and a handful of marginal farmers, turns out to contain rich natural gas reserves that could bring a new wave of economic growth to South Africa and provide huge numbers of well paying jobs for poorly educated workers.

    Get me rewrite!

    “A barren frozen wasteland in Alaska, largely inhabited by migratory caribou and a handful of unemployed Eskimos, contains rich oil reserves that could bring a new wave of economic growth to America and provide huge numbers of well paying jobs for Americans.”

    A head start on Prof. Mead’s next post. I think I got that right, but the story of fracking is a much bigger story. Fracking, for those who don’t know it yet, means not just the end of the “energy crisis” in North America but probably the extension of gas and oil supplies worldwide for centuries. BTW, I personally know people who worked on drilling projects using early fracking techniques in the 1970s (with the company Canadian Fracmaster in Alberta, Canada) and the process has been happening on a large scale in British Columbia for the last ten years without any environmental devastation.

  • http://atlantarofters.blogspot.com The Sanity Inspector

    Sidebar: the Karoo has been fruitful with some very old pre-dinosaur fossils of land dwelling vertebrates. I hope South Africa has some spare paleontologists to send along with the gas prospectors.

  • Kris

    “Big gas find; women and minorities hardest hit.”

  • Mkelley

    Any journalist/lefty activist has a rolodex full of other lefties to put down as “sources” for the usual propaganda. That’s why I never trust them any more.

  • Walter Sobchak

    The NYT was having way too much fun to stop with South Africa, not when they have Baja California to kick around:

    “Organic Agriculture May Be Outgrowing Its Ideals” By Elisabeth Rosenthal*

    http://www.nytimes.com/2011/12/31/science/earth/questions-about-organic-produce-and-sustainability.html

    It seems that the Baja has committed green sin by selling too much food to Whole Paycheck and other US merchants — they have sold out the movement. Damn Mexicans. Don’t they know, the only things they are allowed to export to the US, are drugs and refugees.

    * My guess is that Ms. Rosenthal is a legacy. There are a number of NYT bylines like that these days. The institution is becoming terminally inbreed as it enters its death spiral.

  • Jeffersonian

    Even worse, the wonderful tapestry of indigenous culture will be similarly shattered when the locals get wealthy and decide they like things such as XBox, Bruce Willis movies and T-bone steaks. The NYT editors will then have one fewer authentic culture to defend from the horrors of Western civilization.

  • http://thepencilofnature.net Lorenz Gude

    I’m not entirely sure the Times has gone downhill so much as its cultural monopoly has been diluted and outed by our radically evolving media structure. I started reading it in the mid 50s (before TV had entirely altered the media structure) and one of the first thing my father explained was the Times was important because it was the only readily accessible source of the actual transcripts of important speeches, white papers, etc. . He said, “Always read the transcripts, not just the news story. They don’t always match.” He’d been reading it since the 20s, and although he never mentioned Durranty or his whitewashing the Soviets he always spoke of Stalin’s slaughter of the Kulacks with the indignation of a man who had ben lied to. In my turn I became convinced by the Times that the bearded gentleman in Oriente province was a Social Democrat determined to bring democracy and social justice to the oppressed people of Cuba. Back in those days I think it fair to say that The Times was the best single source of news in the US. It was clearly the key player in the still dominant print news media. Currently they still have a strong hold on a certain segment of the ..ahem.. intelligentsia, but are being openly challenged and ridiculed by members of the Eastern Intellectual Establishment like WRM. In today’s media structure where we have a much more open marketplace for ‘print journalism’ their gross manipulativeness gets outed quite regularly. According to a presentation at the media’s self congratulatory Newseum in Washington DC over half the population doesn’t trust journalists in general. People really are getting it that they are being lied to. They notice the predictable memes and drift away. Still the combination of a dominant player (The Times), determining what is news, feeding a medium dominated by the visual and which consequently has the power to mimic first hand experience keeps a large number people living in la la land.

  • http://politicalvindication.com Shane

    But…you don’t understand. The environmental movement expect us all to live like starving Africans. What not racist, it’s martyrdom for a greater cause. Have you no care at all for the planet, Mr. Mead? Where are your priorities?

  • http://richardwooding.com Richard Wooding

    Have you actually ever been to the Karoo? Describing it as a useless desert is very innacurate. Stick to writing about what you know.

  • Toni

    Hey, folks! Look at what’s happening in plain sight! Via Meadia is becoming the antidote to the elitist, deadly cabal led by the NYT.

    I don’t think “deadly” is hyperbole, at least as applied to humans. Sheep dying of drought are more important than more prosperity and hence more funds to, say, improve infant mortality rates.

    Prof. Mead and his interns and us lowly commentators are providing an alternative to the Times cabal. Ten cheers for him, five for his interns, and a few for us. Viva Via Meadia!

  • teapartydoc

    Corrupt governments find ways to exploit resources in ways that don’t benefit the general population of those countries all the time.

  • Alfred Kruger

    The Karoo is a beautiful, pristine location. Full of glorious live and a fascinating holiday destination that provides sustenance to the soul. Mr Mead, try to go there some time – you will change your mind about that “worthless” part.

  • Sam L.

    Well, I’m agin it! There’ll be so much more money coming in for the government to steal and keep from the poor sheepherders!

    Kleptocrats will rejoice!

  • Tom Murray

    Malthus was right in the generality (If benefit is detached from responsibility appetite for a commodity will exceed availability). The free lunch of the welfare state has exceeded the ability of the taxpaying public to support it.

  • Glen

    Might I recommend Love Your Monsters: Postenvironmentalism and the Anthropocene?

    Ronald Bailey reviews this new book by environmentalists Michael Shellenberger and Ted Nordhaus at Reason Magazine.

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