Sunday, December 30, 2007

News By and For Idiots

By Alan Caruba

One of the great pleasures of life used to be reading the Sunday edition of newspapers, crammed with all kinds of information in thick sections subsidized by advertising. Well, newspaper circulation and advertising revenue has been falling fairly steadily and my guess is because (1) advertisers count heads and (2) the quality of the news being offered is so dreadful.

In the famed Sunday news supplement, Parade, in a section misnamed as "Intelligence Report"(r) the lead story on Dec. 30, 2007 about the "environment" was "The Dirty Side of Domestic Fuel" based on some report by the Natural Resources Defense Council. The NRDC exists to insure that Americans can never benefit from our natural resources whether they are oil, natural gas, coal and other mined minerals, forest products, whatever!

The "intelligence" of the mercifully short piece as that horrid people continue to drill for oil and gas in the United States and that "Extracting oil and gas is known to release toxic chemicals, including mercury, benzene, and arsenic, and harmful chemicals are routinely injected underground to boost output." Wells are exempt from some clean air and water regulations because the process is inherently messy. Crude oil is messy, but if new sources of the stuff isn't found we just end up having to import it from foreign producers. The story ends with the usual stuff about somebody who got ill because they lived close to wells. It makes no effort to make a direct connection between their illness and the well, just that they lived near it. If that person came from a family that had a history of illness, we shall never know.

Ultimately, we're informed that, "The NRDC is calling for the government to tighten its regulation of gas drilling and for the industry to adopt pollution-reducing practicies." Surprise, surprise. The answer for everything as far as Greens are concerned is more government regulation. And, of course, everything is a source of pollution.

Another story in the Sunday news that bore out that observation is one that appeared initially in the Los Angeles Times. The title: "Cremation: A Hazard to the Living?" The story was about a Colorado funeral home that has run into a truly idiotic situation whereby health officials want it to either install an expensive filter in the crematory's smokestack or extract the teeth of the deceased before cremation. Why? Because some loony is worried that there might be mercury emissions from the dental fillings of corpses.

Mind you, these people with those fillings never experienced a moment's problem from the infinitely small amount of mercury in their fillings, but once dead we are expected to believe that everyone downwind from the crematory is at dire risk. Wisely, the EPA does not regulate crematories.

So, in addition to be hectored your entire life about some horrible "environmental" threat, some Greens think that you shouldn't even be allowed to be cremated with a full set of choppers!

This is news by idiots intended to be read by idiots who lack the sense to understand that drilling for oil and gas is the only way to insure you will have enough of it to drive your car or heat your home.

This is news that says that absolutely nothing about your life and death cannot and should not be controlled and regulated based on the "precautionary principle" that anything, just anything, that might possibly be harmful should be banned or sufficiently regulated to drive up its cost to everyone.

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