Exclusive: inside the media conspiracy to hype Greta Thunberg

Over 250 news outlets and journalists partnered with Columbia University School of Journalism’s flagship magazine to shape control of “climate crisis” coverage in the lead-up to the United Nations climate conference. The coverage-coordination initiative included directing how much time, space, and prominence should be devoted to the coverage, and asking that climate “news” be added to seemingly unrelated stories.

Some of the biggest media outlets in the country, such as CBS and Bloomberg, joined the effort. But others, such as The Washington Post and The New York Times, declined to participate in a project they reportedly feared appeared activist in nature. More troubling, a number of the major outlets that joined did not disclose participation to their readers.

In addition to CBS and Bloomberg, the effort, called Covering Climate Now, involved BuzzFeed News, HuffPost, The Daily Beast, the Center for Public Integrity, Newsweek, Rolling Stone, Slate, Vanity Fair, and The Weather Channel, among many others. BuzzFeed and The Huffington Post were among the major outlets that did not disclose the coordination. When asked by the Daily Caller News Foundation, the lack of disclosure was criticized by the Society of Professional Journalists.

The coordination effort was organized in part by Columbia Journalism Review (CJR), a nonprofit that represents professional journalists and was traditionally focused primarily on journalism ethics. Covering Climate Now’s founders hope to continue elevating climate news even after the project ends. The effort’s target was the lead-up to, and coverage of, the U.N. “Climate Action Summit,” held Sept. 15-23.

BuzzFeed News reached more than 27 million unique views between September and October, according to Quantcast, a website measuring audience size. BuzzFeed is owned by Jonah Peretti, an internet entrepreneur who founded the outlet in 2006 to track viral online content, and the left-leaning HuffPo is owned by Verizon Communications. Media tycoon Arianna Huffington originally founded HuffPo in 2005 with the help of Peretti.

Covering Climate Now’s founders kicked off the project in April and announced in May that they would ask partners to devote a week to climate-related news, starting in September. The Nation environmental correspondent Mark Hertsgaard co-founded the project under the assumption that the news outlets don’t cover climate change as urgently as he thinks they should.

WaPo and others did not contribute because they believe Covering Climate Now has the “aroma” of advocacy, he complained in September.

“We believe that every news organization in America, and many around the world, can play a part,” CJR posted May 22. Sometimes that will mean committing your newsroom to important and high-impact stories. Other times it will mean sharing your content, engaging your community, or adding a few lines of climate information to stories that wouldn’t otherwise have them.”

Covering Climate Now has not responded to the DCNF’s request for comment.

Much of the group’s coverage leading up to the U.S. climate summit focused on Swedish activist Greta Thunberg, a 16-year-old girl who traveled to the U.S. in August on a racing yacht. Her visit was designed to galvanize American support for policies that seek to tackle climate change.

Thunberg’s activism and Covering Climate Now’s media blitz seemed to fall flat with the crowd of United Nations diplomats: No major promises were made to tackle climate change at the summit. The European Union, for instance, didn’t go along with environmentalists’ wishes and set a goal to be carbon neutral by mid-century out of fear that such ambitions would tank its member state’s struggling economies.

“Large parts of the mainstream media have stopped pretending to strive for objectivity in their reporting,” Myron Ebell, a climate skeptic, and director of the Competitive Enterprise Institute’s Center for Energy and Environment told the DCNF. “On the climate issue, many outlets and reporters are now publicly boasting about the fact that they are promoting their own prejudices on the grounds that increasing global energy poverty is a noble cause.”

Ebell was not the only energy advocate to criticize the program. “This is nothing more than what used to be known as ‘civic journalism’ … or propaganda for the left dressed up as news reporting,” Steve Milloy, JunkScience.com publisher, told the DCNF. He also suggested the media are being hypocritical. They would thrash the fossil fuel industry if it attempted to recruit reporters in a quest to support natural gas, Milloy said.

Much Of The Content Was Not Disclosed

BuzzFeed News and HuffPost did not divulge their participation in Covering Climate Now in any of the articles they published on climate change during that week, according to a DCNF review of the project. They never mention the words “Covering Climate Now” in any of their posts during the week-long coverage leading up to the climate summit.

HuffPost did not respond to numerous requests for comment while BuzzFeed News said the partnership did not affect the …

Greta Thunberg awarded children’s international peace prize

The international organization for the defense of children’s rights KidsRights on Friday awarded its International Children’s Peace Prize to the Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg (16) and Divina Malorum (14) from Cameroon.

The award ceremony will take place on November 20 near The Hague (Netherlands) on World Children’s Day.

Both winners were selected from among 137 candidates from 56 countries for the prize, celebrating its fifteenth birthday and involving 1.2 billion people last year, according to KidsRights.

Divina founded the association Children for Peace in Cameroon in order to warn of the recruitment of children to join armed groups in the country, the target of terrorist attacks since 2014, and to consolidate its participation in the peace-building process and sustainable development. The C4P network now numbers 100 children living in the country’s ten regions.

“She gives them the means to be actors in the change and encourages them to take part in peace initiatives within their communities. She has organized an inter-community peace camp for children, set up peace clubs in mosques, and, with other children, drafted a children’s declaration condemning violent extremism,” Kids Rights explained.

As for Greta Thunberg, she is a role model in terms of international student climate activism, according to the organization. Following a period of depression lasting months when she stopped eating, going to school, and speaking, the young Swede resolved to make changes in her own life concerning climate matters. She avoids flying, eats neither meat nor dairy products, and never buys anything new, KidsRights pointed out.

Then, in August 2018, she pepped up and proceed to express herself. Inspired by the March for Our Lives movement and winner of the International Children’s Peace Prize 2018, she effectively sat down in front of the Swedish parliament with a banner of her own making on which “skolstrejk för climate” (school strike for the climate) was written. Greta Thunberg has since become an international figure in the fight against climate change.

Archbishop Desmond Tutu, a patron of KidsRights and the prize it has been awarding for more than ten years, addressed the winners with a personal message. “I have much admiration for you. Your powerful message is amplified by your youthful energy and unshakeable convictions according to which children have the capacity, if not the duty, to better their own futures. You are true actors for change and have shown in the most potent way there is that children can take the world forward.”…

Third Brussels Youth Climate March goes global

El Pais, Le Monde, the New York Times, The Australian, the BBC…the third Brussels Youth Climate March, which on Thursday brought together 35,000 participants, is echoed in all of the international press.“These youngsters will continue their once a week march, as long as the government takes no action,” stresses El Pais. The Spanish daily is citing Reuters, mentioning that Brussels is regularly flagged up as one of the most bottlenecked cities in Europe. 

The New York Times, also citing Reuters, reports the clear figures for the pro-climate demonstration, also stressing the permanent congestion of the Belgian capital and Europe. “This is a sign of shame for the city where the European Union fixes European Climate Policy,” reports the American daily’s website. 

“The third Brussels Youth Climate March was a success,” reports the Dutch daily, Algemeen Dagblad, which also mentions the various gatherings organized in other Belgian cities. No initiative of this kind has been seen in the Netherlands as yet. However, environmental organizations have planned a march in Amsterdam for 10th March this year.  

Le Monde further mentions a “pro-climate school strikes” movement, of an unexpected magnitude, “going beyond Belgium’s traditional linguistic divisions,” youngsters coming from Flanders, Wallonia, and Brussels. “Four ministers, no concrete policy,” the daily moreover reports, citing a slogan displayed by a student in Brussels. 

“We will continue until the politicians finally act,” confided one of the youngsters on the Climate March to the BBC, which also found its way amongst the demonstration. “We came here with those in years 7 and 8. It is actually more like a school trip. Our teacher organized it so we are not missing school,” stated another student to the British channel, which was gathering information on the demonstrator’s motivations.

On its website, The Australian disseminated a video of Thursday’s march. In November, thousands of pupils had also played truant across the country to demand concrete action by the Government. The movement “Strike 4 Climate Action” had been inspired by Greta Thunberg, the Swedish teenager who in a few weeks became a global figure for pro-climate militantism.

Having inspired thousands of pupils across the world, including Belgium, Germany, Australia, Canada, and Switzerland, she has called for an international school strike on 15th March. On Thursday, she moreover described as “heroes” the young Belgians who had skipped classes to demand ambitious political measures against global warming. 

The “New China Agency” (Xinhua) which had already supported the movement at the beginning of January, devoted a story to the march by 35,000 participants. “The demonstrations, five times more significant than a week earlier, gathered together students from all levels of education,” flagged up the Chinese agency, citing slogans such as “Make Belgium Great Again” or “Cool Kids Against Global Warning”. A further demonstration is due to take place, this Sunday 27thJanuary, initiated by the citizen collective “Rise for Climate Belgium”.…