It hasn’t been easy watching a climate denier get installed on the Supreme Court as my home state is right now being engulfed in climate-intensified infernos. There is something surreal and awful about waking up to the smell of forest fire while Washington politicians and media nonchalantly allow an entire branch of government be permanently taken over by ideologues who could soon shut down all future climate litigation for the rest of our lives. As Mitch McConnell boasted today: “They won’t be able to do much about this for a long time to come."
As much of the national press corps has eye rolled and played dead during the Supreme Court nomination, we’ve spent the last month breaking big story after big story about Amy Coney Barrett.
We broke the story about her involvement in Bush v Gore, her ruling helping employers avoid paying overtime to employees and her record consistently helping corporations crush workers. We were the first to break the stories about her familial ties to the fossil fuel industry litigants that will soon be in front of the high court. And we tracked how Democrats over and over again refused to use all of the power available to them to delay the nomination.
As Barrett now gets confirmed, I would like to tell you all of our work made a big impact, because we put in a ton of hours to report out these stories. But I’m not going to bullshit you.
Yes, we managed to break open stories nobody broke. Yes, we managed to shame Democratic senators into asking a few questions about Barrett’s fossil fuel ties. And yes we were able to better inform the public about the implications of Barrett’s nomination.
But no, our reporting did not make nearly the impact it should have. And one of the reasons it didn’t is because there was simply not a big enough media ecosystem willing to aggressively report on a story like this. Our team is small and we cannot do it alone.
This entire episode is a reminder that without a new, far-more-robust, grassroots-funded media, our future is jeopardized. Politicians today know that they don’t have to answer to anyone other than their donors, because for the most part, they’ll never be called out by a Fourth Estate. They know that the few news outlets who do scrutinize them are still too small to amplify their stories. They also know that as non-corporate media scratches and claws to try to raise grassroots resources, they can snap their fingers and have grassroots donors funnel them literally tens of millions of dollars for their election campaigns.
There are no easy answers here — other than that I encourage you to pitch in to fund independent, non-corporate media. Whether you click here to pitch in to The Daily Poster, or pitch in somewhere else, please — just pitch in somewhere.
Don’t just sit there and accept a cable-TV-driven media that is more interested in entertainment and distraction than in scrutinizing power and materially improving people’s lives.
The Supreme Court is now a 6-3 majority that threatens all of our lives. Without a new revitalized Fourth Estate providing a check on power, things will get even worse. We cannot let that happen.