The Unger Report: Media Warming

Glaciers in Greenland are shrinking. Some researchers point to global warming as the cause, but humorist Brian Unger believes the media is to blame. He argues that when reporters focus on one story for too long, a burst of hot air is released into the environment.

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Researchers from the University of Kansas and NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory say glaciers in Greenland are shrinking at more than twice the rate they did a decade ago. Is global warming the cause? Brian Unger, who is not recognized by any credible scientific body, offers his theory in today's Unger Report.

BRIAN UNGER reporting:

As global temperatures rise, so do sea levels, raising fears of dramatic climate changes and devastation to coastal areas. But a researcher at the Center for Remote Sensing of Ice Sheets at Kansas University, yes, I'm talking about that one, says we don't know whether the mass ice loss in Greenland is due to natural climate change or human influence.

The biggest man-made cause of global warming is carbon dioxide gas trapped in our atmosphere. Where does this carbon dioxide come from? As Americans ponder this question, driving their killer SUV's with rearview camera and laughably low gas mileage, they've probably come to the same conclusion as the Unger Report. All that carbon dioxide comes from the media.

That's right. Too much focus on one thing by so many results in a spectacular release of media gas into the environment. Last week alone the hot air and birdshot bloviating from the media resulted in tons of bilious hot media gases being spewed into Earth's atmosphere. All that CO2 released into the air certainly melted something big. I don't know about you, but I haven't heard from anyone from Iceland in a week.

The largest emissions of media gas originate from two places. In the West, from Tom Cruise's publicist. In the East, from our nation's capital, where as we saw last week the media gas build-up grew quite noxious from intense verbal flatulence emitted by reporters, press secretaries and the Vice President.

On TV, stories like the one about the Vice President mistaking a 78-year-old man for a bird can trigger a massive media gas attack, clouding over other stories of national importance, New Orleans, health care, campaign finance and Iraq, melt away when the media loses its ability to multi-task.

But media gas emissions don't only create a White House effect. Over in Turin, Italy a huge build-up of media gas melted the snow when Bode Miller, heralded as the Second Coming, turned out to be the fifth going. Michele Kwan bowed out, Apollo faded to bronze and Kildo crashed. Seems hot air and Winter Games don't mix well.

So much media heat ignores the smaller characters who make the biggest impact, like Shauni Davis, who won the Men's 1,000 Meter Speed Skating and became the first black American to win individual gold in the Winter Games.

Sadly, the TV news media cannot reverse global warming, the melting of Greenland's glaciers or the rising sea levels. But it can slow them by dispersing its energy over a broader story selection, providing more context and reducing its consumption of fluorocarbinated hair products. Because Mother Earth cannot withstand another accidental shooting by the Vice President.

And that is today's Unger Report. I'm Brian Unger.

BEARD: And a reminder that you can take Brian with you, because the Unger Report is now available as a podcast. To find out more, visit our website, npr.org.

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