The New American | Hits & Misses | Salt Lake City | Salt Lake City Weekly

The New American 

A fourth Utah city makes a pledge to have 100 percent renewable energy. Sensationalism adds to #fakenews. Plus, how much to Utah Republicans despise the poor?

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The New American
The "New American" can't help but call everything #fakenews, and so the good news becomes bad. Yes, we're talking about what should be cause of cheer now that Cottonwood Heights has pledged to go to 100 percent renewable energy by 2032. What could be wrong with that, other than the fact that the Utah news media all but ignored it? Why the Deseret News put this story on B3 is beyond reason. This is the fourth Utah city to make such a commitment, so where's the high-five? Enter the trolls in the comments. "Wouldn't it be nice if we had quotes from someone who doesn't concur with global warming. It's getting old to see the agenda-driven Sierra Club quoted in many articles concerning environmental issues. They don't have a monopoly on science or the environment," one commenter wrote. Another claimed that 80 percent of our pollution is caused by what's blowing over from China. False. It's closer to 65 percent and the country is actually spending more on renewables than the U.S.

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What Is Truth?
Speaking of #fakenews, here's the reason: Journalists might not be doing their due diligence in tracking down the facts. But who cares? People seem to really, really like stories and would just as soon not hear the truth if they don't agree with it. This was emphasized by the front-page story "What is truth? Why Pontius Pilate's question still resonates today," in Sunday, Jan. 13's Deseret News. Oh, and let's not forget Rudi Giuliani's now infamous quote, "Truth isn't truth." So it was not at all surprising to see KUTV Channel 2 post that it was "working to confirm the authenticity" of a photo that showed graffiti saying "Joseph Smith was a pedophile." You may well wonder why this is news, but the initial lack of follow-up and posting someone's unsubstantiated Twitter photo is what we like to call sensationalism.

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Sticking It to the Poor
Well, The Salt Lake Tribune said it, but does anyone pay attention to them anymore? "Legislature must keep its hands off Utah's Prop 3," its editorial says. In keeping with the Republican conviction that all poor people are slackers, Sen. Allen Christensen, R-North Ogden, is proposing work requirements—again. It's one of those core beliefs based on nothing but belief. The Center for Budget and Policy Priorities found that 17,000 Arkansans lost coverage after work requirements were implemented, mostly because of the bureaucratic red tape. Of course, work requirements would need federal approval, delaying expansion yet again. Legislators worry about hoards of people applying. Maybe they should worry about how to really help these people.

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About The Author

Katharine Biele

Katharine Biele

Bio:
A City Weekly contributor since 1992, Biele is the informed voice behind our Hits & Misses and Citizen Revolt columns. When not writing, you can catch her working to empower voters and defend democracy alongside the League of Women Voters.

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