On last night’s late news, KATU (whose building I can see through my window right now) aired the most horrifyingly asinine segment I’ve ever seen on a television news show.
Called “Hummer Vs. Hybrid,” the piece profiled Art Spinella of Oregon-based CNW Marketing Research, who put out a report last year claiming that Hummers (as in the paramilitary SUVs) are better for the environment than hybrid cars. Spinella, who, BTW, makes a living doing market research for automobile companies, allegedly looked at the full cycle of development for both vehicles, including manufacturing, research & development, how far employees had to drive to get to the factory (!), etc. Only problem: CNW won’t divulge its research methodology, so it’s not peer-reviewed, or even verifiable.
The piece that ties it all together is the lifespan of the vehicles. The report claims that the average lifespan of a hybrid is 100,000 miles, as opposed to 240,000 for SUVs. That’s a convenient piece of mathematic wizardry with no public methodology to back it up. If anything, it’s based on the fact that hybrid owners are more likely to drive fewer miles per year than Hummer owners (you know, because they’re not fat-assed morons), so that after, say, 15 years, the average hybrid will have fewer miles on it. Perhaps as few as 100,000.
The bottom line: This “report” was ripped to shreds a year ago (see here, here, and here). KATU presenting Spinella’s report as legitimate is like the Bush Administration trotting out a couple of “scientists” who don’t believe in global warming and then claiming that the scientific community is “split.” One of the newscasters (during the insufferable pre-commercial chitchat they always do) even says, “Well I guess it just depends which side you’re on!” Right. It depends whether you’re on the side of science and verifiable research, or whether you’re a gullible dunce who’ll swallow whatever you’re told.
Two side notes:
1. When I first opened the video link to the story, it was prefaced by an ad for the Ford Edge—a small SUV. A banner for the Edge also lined the bottom of the screen.
2. Not counting KATU-branded vehicles, there are currently 25 SUVs, vans, and trucks in the KATU parking lot.
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