Brian Fitzpatrick

The liberal media aren’t reporting it, but presidential candidate Barack Obama told an Oregon audience we’re “goners” if we fail to stop global warming, and he intends to ask – or tell – Americans to stop driving SUVs, turn the thermostat down, even eat less. 

Reporters from at least 11 news media organizations were covering Obama’s campaign appearance in Roseburg, Oregon on Saturday, when the candidate said he would expect Americans to make major lifestyle sacrifices to reverse global warming. Only two, Agence France-Presse and CNN, reported Obama’s remarks.

After laying out his strategy for America to fight global warming for an audience consisting largely of environmentalists, Obama added that the U.S. would also have to cooperate with other countries:

We are also going to have to negotiate with other countries. China, India, in particular Brazil. They are growing so fast that they are consuming more and more energy and pretty soon, if their carbon footprint even approaches ours, we're goners.

According to Obama, America will have to “lead by example”:

We can't drive our SUVs and, you know, eat as much as we want and keep our homes on, you know, 72 degrees at all times, whether we're living in the desert or we're living in the tundra, and then just expect every other country is going to say OK, you know, you guys go ahead keep on using 25 percent of the world's energy, even though you only account for 3 percent of the population, and we'll be fine. Don't worry about us. That's not leadership.

Obama’s rhetoric brings to mind former President Jimmy Carter’s ill-starred “malaise” speech.  During the 1970s oil crisis Carter, clad in a cardigan, called on Americans to turn down the heat and start wearing sweaters.  Carter’s speech conveyed a sense of helplessness and a lack of hope in America’s future, and some political observers have described it as the beginning of the end of his presidency. 

No mention of these remarks appears in the accounts of Obama’s speech published by reporters from the New York Times, Chicago Tribune, Washington Post, St. Louis Post-Dispatch, or Los Angeles Times.  Two reporters from the Associated Press covered the speech, but their dispatches include not a word about Obama’s dire predictions and draconian solutions.  Reuters remained mum.  NPR didn’t play the audio tape, and NBC didn’t play the video. 

Brian Fitzpatrick

Brian Fitzpatrick, a writer, editor, and commentator on political and cultural issues, is the Senior Editor at Media Research Center’s Culture & Media Institute.

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