You can read about the Senate Democrats’ climate change discussion online … if you click the scroll bar eight times at NBC News. It’s two clicks at CNN and one Fox News. CBS News has no front page story. ABC News has a top-of-page banner to a live stream, but their story highlights Republicans. (More)

Shouting in an Empty Room?

It’s bad enough that I had to cover CPAC again. I’m still not sure why they sent me. We published only two articles about the annual conservative shindig, a Campus Question on Friday and my Squirrel Comes Home story on Sunday. But we were in the minority. As Talking Points Memo’s Josh Marshall explained, the Beltway media give CPAC as wall-to-wall, top-priority coverage because … well … because they do.

It’s not just conservative conferences. Remember Sen. Rand Paul’s babblethon about drones, or Sen. Ted Cruz reading Green Eggs and Ham in a futile quest to defund the Affordable Care Act? Of course you do. Each was the top story on every news outlet.

So I figured I’d wake up to massive media coverage when 30 Senate Democrats joined in an all-night discussion of climate change. Or not so much. Among the stories positioned above the major media’s first mentions of the climate change speeches:

Only ABC News has a link to live-stream coverage at the top of their front page, but their AP lead trivializes Senate Democrats’ efforts:

Senators have found plenty of common ground in an overnight debate about climate change that has been characterized by civil exchanges from lawmakers who hear plenty to like in each other’s words. Could this really be happening in Washington?

Sure, when only one party shows up.

The story focuses solely on partisan politics. It doesn’t mention that 30 Senate Democrats signed on to speak – as TIME does – but the AP/ABC story takes care to note “the issue is so politically charged that a host of Democrats who face tough re-election fights in the fall opted to skip the session,” and concludes:

[Senate Minority Leader] McConnell said the talkathon amounted to “30 hours of excuses” from senators who think it’s OK that “families are losing work because of government attacks on the coal industry.”

“It’s cruel to tell struggling coal families that they can’t have a job because some billionaire from San Francisco disagrees with their line of work,” McConnell said. He was referring to Tom Steyer, a former hedge-fund manager and environmentalist who says he will spend $100 million – $50 million of his own money and $50 million from other donors – to make climate change a top-tier issue in the 2014 elections.

The story has not a single sentence about the science supporting climate change. I suppose there wasn’t room, between the inside-baseball politicking and the right wing talking points. One must have priorities, after all.

George Lakoff has made a career out of attacking Democrats’ speeches. Google {Democrats bad messaging} and you’ll get millions of hits. But here’s the thing: when the mainstream media give headline coverage to CPAC and spewathons by Sens. Paul and Cruz – but ignore 30 Senate Democrats discussing climate change – then “messaging” isn’t the Democrats’ problem.

I applaud the Senate Democrats who spoke all night. I wish they hadn’t been shouting in an empty room.


Good day and good nuts