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.
I’m going to be generous today and celebrate Nick Stockton of Wired magazine for writing about world overpopulation on Earth Day. The headline alone is worthy of high praise:
The Biggest Threat to the Earth? We Have Too Many Kids
This topic is still so taboo even a poorly sourced story gets Wall of Fame status (more about that sourcing in a moment).
“TODAY IS EARTH Day…. There will be speeches about sustainability, discussions about air quality, and pamphlets on how to reduce your carbon footprint. You might even learn how to help save some sub-Saharan elephants, but nobody will be addressing...
Yesterday the Wall of Shame spotlighted particularly biased reporting by an Australian journalist, celebrating without question the economic, population and consumption growth of the state of New South Wales. Today I’m featuring the words of a community leader and policymaker in the city of Sanford, North Carolina.
The Sanford Herald recently ran this letter from Richard Hayes, a former county commissioner:
Sanford Must Summon Courage to Overcome Obstacles
The letter’s first paragraph contains all the usual suspects in growth mythology (I’ve underlined the culprits):
“The Sanford Herald has pinpointed various activities Sanford leaders have planned to ensure quality economic growth and to...
Class is now in session. We have an over-the-top illustration of extreme pro-growth bias in news reporting. The first hint of this came from the headline in the Sydney Morning Herald:
Surging NSW Ensconced as Number One State, WA Slips
Ranking cities or states according to population or economic growth may seem a small thing in terms of bias, but the public sees this over and over and over again. By the time you’re 30 years old, you’re convinced the fastest growing are at the top of the heap, and the slowest growing, or the contracting, are losing the race.
You know what they say, “Think globally, act locally.” While growth addiction is a global problem, it is practiced regularly at the local level. You may not know, but I say: “You can’t have a sustainable world if it’s made up of lots of communities behaving unsustainably.”
That leads us to shame a story in the Tyler Morning Telegraph reported by Adam Russell. This is a textbook example of reporting founded on pro-growth assumptions (Don’t take it too hard, Adam; we’ve all been programmed from birth to believe growth is the Holy Grail. We forgive you, but we encourage you to...
My standard approach when evaluating a news story for Wall of Shame dishonor is to copy all the examples of pro-growth bias I might want to highlight. That process took quite awhile in the case of this New York Times front page story:
California Drought Tests History of Endless Growth
“Some studies suggest the drought is the worst in more than a thousand years.”
“…until recently, it seemed that the California dream was sustainable….”
What may well be the new normal for California water is raising lots of questions.
“a punishing drought — and the unprecedented measures the state announced last...