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Pressing the Silence: At the U.N. Climate Change Conference, the Media Center is Oddly Quiet

StoryDecember 06, 2010
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Guests
Oliver Morton

Reporter with The Economist.

Amy Goodman reports from the U.N. Climate Change Conference in Cancún, Mexico, where the media center is eerily quiet. At last year’s climate meeting in Copenhagen, the room was buzzing with thousands of reporters. However, today climate change seems to be a forgotten story. Democracy Now! reviewed the transcripts of last week’s evening news broadcasts on ABC, CBS and NBC in the United States. The Cancún talks were not mentioned a single time. [includes rush transcript]


TRANSCRIPT
This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.

AMY GOODMAN: Well, I’m Amy Goodman, here in Cancún. We’re covering the U.N. global warming summit. You know, last year this time, we were covering the Copenhagen summit. The press room was packed. There were thousands of journalists. It’s empty now. I mean, it’s nice to have printers and computers galore, but with no one in the room but folks who are cleaning up and keeping it tidy and IT people galore, well, I don’t think this was just meant for me. But I think there’s a bigger story here about the lack of interest in the Cancún meeting as the world is getting warmer.

Someone has just walked in. Why don’t we go over and interview them?

Well, I was alone until you walked in. What’s your name?

OLIVER MORTON: I’m Oliver Morton. I’m the energy and environment editor of The Economist.

AMY GOODMAN: Well, the reason we’re talking is because you were the first person to walk in as I was sitting here. Were you in Copenhagen?

OLIVER MORTON: I was, yes.

AMY GOODMAN: How does this compare to Copenhagen? We have the resources all to ourselves.

OLIVER MORTON: Well, obviously, the Copenhagen press room was about eight times larger and kind of packed. But there again, the Copenhagen press room was within five minutes’ walk of where the negotiations were going on, of where the delegations were, of where the NGOs were, and it was a much higher-pressure event. But your point being that there’s a lot less going on here, that’s undeniably true.

AMY GOODMAN: And what kind of access are you getting to the diplomats?

OLIVER MORTON: At the moment, I’d say it was similar to what we had at Copenhagen. You can go and find people, if you can find them. The difficulty is actually finding them. It’s not like there are sort of like official barriers. It’s just, in Copenhagen, everyone was all collocated, and so you could wander in and find them. And here we are in an extraordinarily vast resort, and it’s very hard to actually find people that you — the people you might want to talk to, other than absolutely at the event itself.

AMY GOODMAN: Am I being unfair? Across the hallway is the writing press room. Oh, it has seats for hundreds and hundreds of journalists. And there are now, what, maybe three? All this, as the earth gets hotter and hotter.

On a side note, we reviewed the transcripts of last week’s evening news broadcasts on ABC, CBS and NBC. The Cancún talks were not mentioned a single time by any of the networks.

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