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Items filtered by date: Sunday, 25 October 2020

 

               

"Public broadcasting" is a comical phrase. Its audience is not the public. It is the left. PBS and NPR don't care one iota what everyone else thinks ... even if everyone else pays a chunk of their budget through taxes.

               

On the morning before the last presidential debate, Kelly McBride, NPR's "public editor" -- the person who is supposed to bring outside perspectives from the public into the NPR bubble -- tweeted, "Why haven't you seen any stories from NPR about the NY Post's Hunter Biden story?" Below a link to her newsletter was a quote in bold type from Terence Samuel, NPR's managing editor for news: "We don't want to waste our time on stories that are not really stories, and we don't want to waste the listeners' and readers' time on stories that are just pure distractions."

               

In McBride's newsletter, Samuel added: "And quite frankly, that's where we ended up, this was ... a politically driven event and we decided to treat it that way."

               

This is beyond sick coming from NPR. Nina Totenberg made Anita Hill a legend with sexual harassment allegations against Clarence Thomas that were never proven. It was the very definition of a "politically driven event," a story leaked to Totenberg by Senate Democrats to sabotage the Thomas nomination. No one at NPR said that was an unvetted waste of time, a "pure distraction."

               

Every allegation of sexual assault made against Brett Kavanaugh was a "politically driven event," and Christine Blasey Ford, the most acclaimed accuser, couldn't even define a time or a place to her supposed meeting with Kavanaugh. This is why NPR's declarations about "pure distractions" look extremely partisan.

               

The essence of McBride's argument is simply, "Consider the source." If it came from a Rupert Murdoch-owned newspaper and two supporters of President Donald Trump, then it has to be garbage. "Intelligence officials warn that Russia has been working overtime to keep the story of Hunter Biden in the spotlight. Even if Russia can't be positively connected to this information, the story of how Trump associates Steve Bannon and Rudy Giuliani came into a copy of this computer hard drive has not been verified and seems suspect."

               

They put NPR's media correspondent David Folkenflik on the case -- a man who routinely rains fire on Fox News and who wrote an entire book ripping into Rupert Murdoch. This was a promotional blurb for his book from Booklist: "One cannot, even facetiously, describe this account ... as 'fair and balanced.' It is neither." Folkenflik said the New York Post story was "suspect" and the main reporter worked for Sean Hannity. He scorned it as "speculative partisan advocacy. "

               

When she became NPR's "public editor" in April, McBride promised, "As I watch NPR, I promise to do so through the eyes of you, the audience -- the core audience, and also those of you dipping your toes in around the edges of NPR." She asked how NPR could broaden its audience. "Although I'm the advocate for the audience that NPR has right now, I'll be mindful of NPR's mission to broaden it. Through encouragement and accountability, I hope to hold the door open for new and diverse communities to connect with public radio."

               

That's obviously baloney. NPR is catering every day to its "core audience" of left-wing partisans, and its dismissal of any kind of Biden family scandal reeks of a disdain for "(holding) the door open" to all the taxpayers who pay some of NPR's bills. Just like Folkenflik's book, it's easy to proclaim that one cannot, even facetiously, describe NPR as fair and balanced. It is neither.

               

Tim Graham is director of media analysis at the Media Research Center and executive editor of the blog NewsBusters.org. 

Published in General/Features

In the world’s largest seagrass restoration project, scientists have observed an ecosystem from birth to full flowering.

As part of a 20-plus-years project, researchers and volunteers spread more than 70 million eelgrass seeds over plots covering more than 200 hectares, just beyond the wide expanses of salt marsh off the southern end of Virginia’s Eastern Shore. Long-term monitoring of the restored seagrass beds reveals a remarkably hardy ecosystem that is trapping carbon and nitrogen that would otherwise contribute to global warming and pollution, the team reports October 7 in Science Advances. That success provides a glimmer of hope for the climate and for ecosystems, the researchers say.

The project, led by the Virginia Institute of Marine Science and The Nature Conservancy, has now grown to cover 3,612 hectares — and counting — in new seagrass beds. By comparison, the largest such project in Australia aims to restore 10 hectares of seagrass.

The results are “a game changer,” says Carlos Duarte. “It’s an exemplar of how nature-based solutions can help mitigate climate change,” he says. The marine ecologist at King Abdullah University of Science and Technology in Thuwal, Saudi Arabia is a leader in recognizing the carbon-storing capacity of mangroves, tidal marshes and seagrasses.

The team in Virginia started with a blank slate, says Robert Orth, a marine biologist at the Virginia Institute of Marine Science in Gloucester Point. The seagrass in these inshore lagoons had been wiped out by disease and a hurricane in the early 1930s, but the water was still clear enough to transmit the sunlight plants require.

Within the first 10 years of restoration, Orth and colleagues witnessed an ecosystem rebounding rapidly across almost every indicator of ecosystem health — seagrass coverage, water quality, carbon and nitrogen storage, and invertebrate and fish biomass (SN: 2/16/17).

For instance, the team monitored how much carbon and nitrogen the meadows were capturing from the environment and storing in the sediment as seagrass coverage expanded.

It found that meadows in place for nine or more years stored, on average, 1.3 times more carbon and 2.2 times more nitrogen than younger plots, suggesting that storage capacity increases as meadows mature. Within 20 years, the restored plots were accumulating carbon and nitrogen at rates similar to what natural, undisturbed seagrass beds in the same location would have stored. The restored seagrass beds are now sequestering on average about 3,000 metric tons of carbon per year and more than 600 metric tons of nitrogen, the researchers report.

Seagrasses can take a hit. When a sudden marine heat wave killed off a portion of the seagrass, it took just three years for the meadow to fully recover its plant density. “It surprised us how resilient these seagrass meadows were,” says Karen McGlathery, a coastal ecologist at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville.

She believes the team’s work is more than just a great case study in restoration. It “offers a blueprint for restoring and maintaining healthy seagrass ecosystems” that others can adapt elsewhere in the world, she says.

Seagrasses are among the world’s most valuable and most threatened ecosystems, and are important globally as reservoirs of what’s known as blue carbon, the carbon stored in ocean and coastal ecosystems. Seagrasses store more carbon, for far longer, than any other land or ocean habitat, preventing it from escaping to the atmosphere as heat-trapping carbon dioxide. These underwater prairies also support near-shore and offshore fisheries, and protect coastlines as well as other marine habitats. Despite their importance, seagrasses have declined globally by some 30 percent since 1879, according to an Aug. 14 study in Frontiers in Marine Science.

“The study helps fill some large gaps in our understanding of how blue carbon can contribute to climate restoration,” says McGlathery. “It’s the first to put a number on how much carbon restored meadows take out of the atmosphere and store,” for decades and potentially for centuries.

The restoration is far from finished. But already, it may point the way for struggling ecosystems such as Florida’s Biscayne Bay, once rich in seagrass but now suffering from water quality degradation and widespread fish kills. Once the water is cleaned up, says Orth, “our work suggests that seagrasses can recover rapidly” (SN: 3/5/18).

McGlathery also believes the scale of the team’s success should be uplifting for coastal communities. “In my first years here, there was no seagrass and there hadn’t been for decades. Today, as far as I can swim, I see lush meadows, rays, the occasional seahorse. It’s beautiful.”

Joseph Polidoro
ScienceNews

Published in Environment

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