Deconstructing media coverage of the California drought

Brian Devine has written one of those special pieces that made me smack my forehead repeatedly and say, “Yeah, that!”:

To conflate the myriad problems of water in California into a single problem is the hallmark of a generalist reporter on deadline, as if I wrote that the Detroit auto industry’s collapse was because they made lousy cars. Did they? Probably. Certainly I could find some evidence for that. Have we planted too many almonds? Are we growing too much of China’s forage crops? Do we have too many lawns? Do we still drink bottled water unnecessarily? Yes. No doubt. But to write about one of those things and omit the others- not out of malice or ignorance, mind you, but to find an interesting story that appeals to busy readers from all walks of life- has real consequences for how the general public- the ultimate arbiter in the market and the voting booth- think about our very, very complicated problems.

I recommend clicking through to read the entire piece. It is very good.

One Comment

  1. yes – concise, clear and apt. Articles that suggest California would be best off with less agriculture and more manufacturing probably underestimate the water used in the latter ( Pace, Intel) but certainly have unrealistic expectations of living growing things – like those we eat – and their water requirements.

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