It can be interesting to look at a current news article about a reoccurring event and see how it compares to a similar story from decades past. The stories may be virtually identical, but the spin will be completely different.
First, the current story, from the New York Times (May 7, 2014):
Some relevant quotes from the article:
“This never used to happen,” Mr. Toussaint said. “I’ve owned this place eight years, and now it’s all the time.”
“The theme of the report is that climate change is not a future thing, it’s a ‘happening-now’ thing,” said Leonard Berry, a contributing author of the new report and director of the Florida Center for Environmental Studies at Florida Atlantic University. “Alton Road is one of the now things.”
Now, the corresponding historic story from The Miami News (Oct. 24, 1973):
And some relevant quotes from that article:
“We usually get flooding when there are high tides,” she said, “but this year it seems particularly bad.”
“We try to do the best we can to alleviate the problems, but in some areas it’s really difficult,” Aymonin said. “Parts of Miami Beach have settled six inches, and there are those who say the ocean water is rising, anyway.”
See what I mean? It’s essentially the same story, forty-one years apart. Yet the spin is completely different.
- 1973: “We usually get flooding.”
- 2014: “This never used to happen.”
- 1973: “Parts of Miami have settled six inches.”
- 2014: “Climate change is not a future thing, it’s a ‘happening-now’ thing.”
There is a followup post here: From Spin to Outright Lie. Check that post out if you’re interested in seeing how The Huffington Post mutated The New York Times spin into an outright fabrication.