Mainstream Media Omits Climate Change Mission from Antarctica Ship Rescue

Global warming experts adrift in Antarctica since Christmas have finally been rescued, as the valiant efforts to save the Russian ship Akademik Shokalskiy were documented throughout the mainstream media. 

Yet one major detail – what the ship was doing in Antarctica at all – seems to have eluded almost every major media outlet.

Breitbart News previously reported that the New York Times's account of how the Russian ship was finally freed from a large chunk of ice after attempts by a Chinese icebreaker failed mysteriously omitted the original purpose of having 25 professors on board a ship in Antarctica in the first place. 

However, the Times was not anywhere near alone in covering only the details of the rescue without any look into why the crew needed rescuing.

CNN's earlier reports on the ship coincide with this week's news that the crew on the ship was finally saved by an American icebreaker ship, both mentioning that the crew onboard the Akademik Shokalskiy were, indeed, "on a climate change research ship." It stands out among media sources in pointing this out. The Associated Press, for example, mentions only that the Akademik Shokalskiy was a "research ship." The Washington Post version of the AP story claims the ship was in Antarctica "re-creating Australian explorer Douglas Mawson’s 1911-13 voyage to Antarctica." NBC News went with this story, too, as did Reuters – omitting any mention of climate change research. ABC News went with no mention of any motive for the ship's being down in the Antarctic at all.

Not every media outlet merely reported a straight story without that key fact; some attempted to find new angles to the story that distracted from the purpose of the voyage and the tragedy that befell it – during Antarctica's summertime, no less – and the terrible optics these implied for the climate change lobby. USA Today, for example, wondered whether there would be any impact on the Antarctic tourist cruise industry thanks to the media's covering a ship stuck in the region (it concluded that no, no cruise companies seem to be worrying about this). National Geographic went with the very bizarre twist of emphasizing the American rescue ship's horsepower compared both to the Russian ship and its initial Chinese icebreaker savior, admiring the sheer power to break ice of such a ship.

Only publications with "conservative" reputations like the New York Post and the Boston Herald addressed the climate change angle of the story. The Herald ran an editorial hoping that the incident would increase awareness of the continued growth of Antarctica's polar ice caps, a fact contrary to much global warming speculation. The Post also mentioned the record-breaking ice in Antarctica's summer and highlighted the ship's goal to document the hypothetical record-breaking melting the scientists expected to find.

The Akademik Shokalskiy first sent out its distress call that it was stuck in ice on Christmas morning and has been lodged there ever since until finally having its passengers saved this week. The Snow Dragon, a Chinese icebreaker, moved closer to the Akademik Shokalskiy but, rather than managing to break a path through which it could escape, the icebreaker got stuck itself. A helicopter the ship brought with it did manage to take some passengers out of the Akademik Shokalskiy before the full rescue. An American vessel, the Polar Star, arrived this week from Australia and is in the process of returning the passengers to Tasmania, where they are expected by mid-January. The ships themselves remain lodged in ice.


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