Jeff Bezos Got as Much Morning Show Coverage in a Day as Climate Change Got All Last Year


Gizmodo 21 July, 2021 - 09:50am 8 views

Who is going with Jeff Bezos to space?

Billionaire Jeff Bezos has made a short journey to space, in the first crewed flight of his rocket ship, New Shepard. He was accompanied by Mark Bezos, his brother, Wally Funk, an 82-year-old pioneer of the space race, and an 18-year-old student. BBC NewsJeff Bezos launches to space aboard New Shepard rocket ship

Where did Bezos launch from?

Bezos launched at around 9:11 a.m. ET from a site in the west Texas desert southeast of El Paso. After liftoff, the New Shepard rocket accelerated toward space at three times the speed of sound. At an altitude of 250,000 feet, the capsule separated, taking Bezos and his crew to the edge of space. NBC NewsAmazon's Jeff Bezos makes history with all-civilian suborbital flight

How much did it cost to launch Blue Origin?

The price was originally $200,000 and later raised to $250,000, but Virgin Galactic stopped sales in 2014 after a crash of its first space plane during a test flight. Virgin Galactic officials say they will resume sales later this year, and the price will likely be higher than $250,000. The New York TimesHow Much Does It Cost to Fly on Blue Origin's New Shepard?

How much did Jeff Bezos spend to go to space?

Jeff Bezos Just Spent $5.5B to Be in Space for 4 Minutes. Here Are 7 Things That Money Could Help Solve. globalcitizen.orgJeff Bezos Just Spent $5.5B to Be in Space for 4 Minutes. Here Are 7 Things That Money Could Help Solve.

It was a cringey and painful reminder that what we witnessed was not some grand human endeavor but a joyride that was basically the equivalent of “area man takes Tesla out for a spin” at a billionaire scale. And yet, the TV media lapped it up and dutifully vomited it back out, even as the world literally burned.

An analysis by Media Matters found that the NBC, ABC, and CBS morning shows devoted 212 minutes to Bezos’ little jaunt. In comparison, those same shows spent 267 minutes covering climate all of last year.

More than 8.5 million viewers combined tune into these shows. Morning shows tend to be more human interest-oriented and a little lighter in terms of their coverage generally.

Bezos did bring along Wally Funk, a woman who was banned from being an astronaut by NASA and became the oldest person to go to space, and Oliver Daemen, an 18-year-old student, son of a wealthy investor, and youngest person to visit space. Whether a cynical ploy to deflect criticism or a heartfelt urge to show space is for everyone, having them onboard certainly gave news outlets uplifting stories if they wanted to tell them.

Of course, fluffing up billionaires’ moneymaking endeavors isn’t exactly anything new. Another view of the phenomenon—let’s call it Billionaire Stockholm Syndrome—was on display less than two weeks ago when Bezos’ billionaire bête noire, Richard Branson, blasted into space for a few minutes on his rival company’s spaceplane. Wall-to-wall coverage ended up meaning that climate scientist Katharine Hayhoe got bumped from CNN to talk about the heat wave millions of people stuck on Earth were living through. While Branson was floating mid-air, Death Valley registered the hottest temperature ever reliably recorded on Earth and hundreds had died in a heat wave that hit the Northwest the week before. But Branson’s little trip was deemed more newsworthy.

At the time of Branson’s flight, a TV news producer told Earther that one issue was ratings just aren’t as good for climate stories. That’s taken as proof viewers don’t want to watch those types of segments, which is then used as an excuse to keep breathlessly covering the likes of Branson and Bezos instead. But to me, it’s a sign that maybe TV news and morning shows just haven’t told climate stories with the urgency they deserve.

It’s hard to remember that the world is getting hotter when the temperatures start dropping in the Fall.

If there were something that would be a daily reminder that the situation is getting worse, then it might finally hit home, though I doubt it because the daily difference would be small enough for most people to ignore.

We might be able to use something that compared each day to the same day a year ago, and ten years ago, and fifty years ago.  Unfortunately, even that is not truly reliable, because not every day is a record high.

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