WASHINGTON: The League of Conservation Voters (LCV) has launched a grassroots campaign directed at television political journalists the group claims have mostly ignored the issue of climate change during the 2008 primary season.
The LCV has been reaching out to the public in early primary states such as New Hampshire, Iowa, and South Carolina in an effort to boost debate over climate change policy among Republican and Democratic candidates.
Accompanied with a video and Web site, the "What are They Waiting For?" petition calls on Fox News' Chris Wallace, NBC's Tim Russert, ABC's George Stephanopoulos, CNN's Wolf Blitzer, and CBS' Bob Schieffer to ask more questions about global warming during interviews with the candidates. The effort is being handled in-house.
In a video posted on YouTube, the LCV says that of the 2,275 questions posed by the five journalists to various candidates, just three have involved the words "global warming" or "climate change."
The petition will be delivered to the TV journalists in a week or two, said LCV communications director David Sandretti.
"Our goal is not necessarily to get thousands of petitions," he said, "but simply to get the candidates talking more about the issue. Candidates themselves are raising the issue [in interviews], but the purpose of journalism is to draw out distinctions."
Sandretti said the aforementioned journalists have told the LCV that their lack of climate questions stems from a need to cover a broad range of issues and from what they believe is a basic similarity between all the candidates' environmental policies.
But according to the LCV, there are, in fact, huge differences in the Republican candidates' stated environmental policies, as well as some important distinctions among the Democratic candidates in such areas as nuclear policies and the use of fossil fuels.
The LCV will continue to drive interest in the petition through outreach to traditional media outlets, as well as environmental and political bloggers.