What is Pro-Growth Bias?

Pro-Growth Bias is reflected in the media by the stories and words chosen, which hint and often trumpet that economic, population, and consumption growth is good and essential. We're here to expose the bias and encourage more balanced and thoughtful journalism. Here you can vote, discuss, and even post stories exemplifying the bias.

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Don’t Panic – Water Shortage a False Alarm Yesterday The Arizona Republic occupied this space with a story about Arizona communities starting to reuse their wastewater in order to provide water “for growth.” Today we stick with the same newspaper, but a different reporter. In 5 Reasons to Panic About Arizona's Water, and 5 Reasons Not To, Shaun McKinnon updates us on a flurry of media reports about the dire state of fresh water supply in Arizona, but seems intent on avoiding any interpretation of crisis. “Is Arizona really running out of water? Yes. And no. Here are five reasons why the drought should concern you and five more...
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Arizona Cities Find a Way to Keep Growing Today we honor on the Wall of Shame David Madrid, reporter for The Arizona Republic. He will have to share the honor, however, with Jason Battern, vice chairman of the Goodyear, Arizona Water Planning Commission. Mr. Battern caught our attention with this statement in Madrid’s story, West Valley Cities Eyeing Reclaimed Water Amid Drought, Population Growth: "Without the water, there wouldn't be anybody out here. Water is what's supporting the population. Without it, there wouldn't be any growth." I find this an interesting choice of words. If a water planning official in the arid American West mentions growth today, it should...
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If You Like a Healthy Local Environment, Thank a NIMBY Two weeks ago we featured the story of some citizens in Malibu, California, who were wresting control of major land-use decisions from a city council that too often bows to developer influence. One commentator took the unusual position of defending NIMBYism (Not In My Back Yard). Today we honor another NIMBY defense, this one in Southern Maryland Online, by long-time environmental journalist Tom Horton. Horton comments on thinking that too often stops people, cities, states and nations from adopting sustainable population policies. It always starts with a conversation like this: “Chesapeake Bay is a national treasure. Who are you to say how many...
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Proliferating People a Mere Nuisance to Colorado Water Plans A headline like this begs for a spot on the Growth Bias Busted Wall of Shame: Colorado Girds for Proliferating People and Increasingly Scarce Water Why wouldn’t I be celebrating coverage of the challenges presented by population growth? It’s simple. This story treats population growth as inevitable, and does not include in its water-scarcity responses doing something about the population – like stabilizing or contracting it (it’s actually not that difficult).  I’m afraid Denver Post reporter Bruce Finley has fallen into the same trap that snares 96% of journalists. This report is stuck inside the box defined by a set of...
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Save Water So We Can Grow! In the arid American West, just about any idea to save water seems like a good one. I’m reminded of the Mad Magazine sticker I saw as a kid: Save Water – Shower With Your Steady This story about eliminating property taxes to conserve water introduces some interesting motives and myths to the issue. “A new report shows that the elimination of property taxes funneled to water suppliers could save significant amounts of water in the nation's second driest state and have the largest users — government and the wealthy — paying the ‘true’ cost of water." If property taxes subsidize water supply...
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