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Wednesday, January 08, 2014

CBS 60 Minutes: Corporate Lies Writ Large

The influence of television is strong. When it is used for good, it's great. But, when it is bad, it's horrendous.

Those who watched 60 Minutes this past Sunday might be under the impression that cleantech is dead, our hope for a much-needed green energy economy down the tubes. Fortunately for the world and unfortunately for good investigative journalism, 60 Minutes got the future of clean energy technology wrong—very wrong.

Their segment, entitled “Cleantech Crash” and hosted by veteran 60 Minutes journalist Lesley Stahl, focused almost exclusively on failed cleantech startups and implied the Department of Energy’s loan guarantee program is a flop—despite the program’s 97% success rate. Worse yet, the segment entirely ignored the driving force behind much of the cleantech economy: fighting climate change.

“Cleanteach Crash” wasn’t only misleading in its focus on cleantech’s failures—it also neglected to mention its massive successes: sustained investments, booming solar business, and declining greenhouse gas emissions in the U.S.

Whatever the reason for this fluff journalism—possibly the influence of CBS News’ president, David Rhodes, also the former VP at the denial-happy Fox News—60 Minutes can still redeem itself by appointing a Public Editor. The role of a Public Editor is to safeguard the integrity of investigative broadcasting by promoting dialogue with viewers, advocating for stories that serve the public interest, and scrutinizing slanted reporting—just like the “Cleantech Crash" segment. Sign the petition to demand CBS appoint a Public Editor to immediately investigate the "Cleantech Crash" report!.