Please visit our new blog - The Union News.

"Vote early and vote often." - Al Capone (1899-1947)

Saturday, December 2, 2006

The Oregonian Ads: Simply Unsustainable

Hypocrisy: the act of pretending or claiming to have beliefs, feelings, morals or virtues that one does not truly possess or practice.

In an alarming journalistic stunt dripping with hypocrisy and reeking of Multiple-Standard Syndrome, The Oregonian editors left in charge of the state's rudderless leading news organ climbed aboard the anti-global warming bandwagon last week, even as its out-of-state owners disregard their own significant detrimental impact on the environment. The Oregonian's long-tolerated brand of cynicism, intolerance, and stridency that dates to 1950 now poses a direct threat to its own establishment advertisers.

According to The New York Times, the Newhouse brother billionaires and their far-flung print media empire that includes The Oregonian are doing little-or-nothing to reduce greenhouse emissions at their aging printing and incineration facilities in Portland and throughout the nationwide chain of monopoly Newhouse newspapers and ultra-glossy, chemical-rich Condé Nast magazines.

The Newhouse's privately-held Advance Publications Inc. is the 9th largest media company in the United States, with an estimated net worth in excess of $20 billion. Compared to its peers, Newhouse assets are disproportionately hard-copy, monopoly properties. Oregonian Publisher Fred A. Stickel, originally brought here from New Jersey to run up profits after the local owners sold out to the Newhouse chain in 1950, declined to comment for this article.

Among the well-documented effects of The Oregonian's manufacture and distribution are the over-consumption of old-carbon, the release of huge amounts of atmospheric CO2 greenhouse gases, and the genesis and propagation of toxic levels of benzene, a known carcinogen and byproduct of high-temperature combustion.

In the first installment of a new "Global Warming Series", Nov. 26, The Oregonian confronted readers: "Making your breakfast every morning pumps nearly 200 pounds of CO2 into the air each year. What can you do about it?"

However, just weeks earlier, Oct. 25, The New York Times published a stinging indictment of the newspaper and magazine industry in a comprehensive article titled, "The Hidden Life of Paper and its Impact on the Environment," The article, excerpted below, was prompted by a recently released study from The Heinz Institute: "Following the Paper Trail."

"Because of its consumption of energy, the industry - which includes magazines, newspapers, catalogs and writing paper - emits the fourth-highest level of carbon dioxide among manufacturers, according to a 2002 study by the Energy Information Administration, a division of the Department of Energy.

The life of a magazine or a newspaper starts with trees being cut down in a forest and ends with the burning or recycling of old magazines or papers. The most harmful part of the process is paper production. Breaking down wood fiber to make paper consumes a lot of energy, which in many cases comes from coal plants. Time Inc. and the News Corporation are ahead of most publishers in their public commitment to reducing carbon emissions. Other media companies contacted for this article - including Dow Jones, The New York Times Company and Condé Nast - would not comment on the levels of emissions produced by their publications."
In other words, Si Newhouse's Condé Nast magazines and Donald Newhouse's chain of newspapers, that includes The Oregonian and the Parade Magazine Sunday supplement, are doing nothing to bring their practices into line. To the contrary, the editors' so-called blog recently boasted that The Oregonian's 5.5 lb., 318-page Thanksgiving issue was their biggest ever.
"Few people realize the sheer scale and magnitude of activities it takes to produce millions of copies of a magazine," said Donald Carli, a senior research fellow at the Institute for Sustainable Communication, a nonprofit group in New York that is working to help advertisers estimate their ads' greenhouse emissions. "There's a hidden life that products have, and one of the challenges of sustainability is to make these lives known."
Now readers and advertisers are asking one another: "Reading your Oregonian every morning and Vogue & GQ every month pumps tens of thousands of pounds of CO2 into the air each year. What can you do about it?"

No comments:

Label Cloud