One of the many, many indicators that the conservative “media” system is more purely political propaganda and disinformation machine than it is journalistic endeavors is the fact that it often fails to offer fact-based criticisms of its opposition when the opportunity arrives.
Case in point is a recent move by two wildlife conservation organizations to embrace NFTs as a digital version of the classic “adopt a zebra” type fundraising campaigns. Beyond the obvious ponzi scheme aspects of NFTs, and more because of the environmental impacts of blockchains and NFTs as we’ve discussed before, the move has garnered plenty of backlash, like Kate Aronoff’s great New Republic piece asking Why the Hell Is the World Wildlife Fund Selling Animal NFTs?, for example.
From the noted and long-time liberal prestige New Republic, Aronoff offers a criticism of the larger commodification of nature approach, but the even more cutting response would be to simply point to recent research showing that NFTs can be expected to kill people.
Flagged by Skeptical Science, instead of some hypothetical legitimate conservative media outlet that operates in reality instead of in the realm of alternative facts, the study explains that based on how much energy creating NFTs requires on the blockchain: “the mining devices verifying NFT sales in one month in 2021 would be responsible for approximately 18 unnecessary future deaths from carbon emissions.”
And it’s only getting worse. Operating the Ethereum blockchain (one type of many) for one year produces 4,434 metric tonnes of CO2, which “projects an unnecessary future death rate of 8,326 people.”
Over 8,000 deaths from one year of one network of blockchain operation. One that happens to be 10 times cleaner than the bigger Bitcoin network, a transaction on which causes almost 10 times more emissions than Ethereum’s. Overall, “Bitcoin is responsible for an estimated 18,818 unnecessary future deaths per annum as of October 2021.”
Here we have a case where rightwing media could rightfully skewer liberal animal-huggers for seemingly protecting wildlife at a very human cost. And given that this is, if anything, an underestimation of NFTs damage as fossil fuel pollution also hurts animals whose lives lost to air pollution and climate damages are a bit more difficult to quantify, some conservative data wiz could no doubt put together a studious argument that the NFTs these wildlife groups are selling to conserve wildlife are actively contributing to the destruction of ecosystems and deaths of the very animals they’re trying to save.
But that would require someone, anyone in rightwing media to actually acknowledge real science (that they otherwise denigrate) and actually care about other people (that they otherwise sacrifice to
corporate profits the economy) and actually do some real reporting instead of just airing grievances to rile up their base.
But of course riling up their base is about all they every want to do.
Tomorrow, by way of example, we’ll take a look at a trio of stories from The Federalist that offer a tidy encapsulation of their real priorities: angrily policing (cartoon) women’s bodies, preaching ignorance by attacking colleges, and, of course, spreading climate disinformation.
But hey, at least they’re not trying to entice their audience to support them by buying into a digital ponzi scheme with thousands of deaths already at its emerging technology doorstep! (Yet…)