Announcing DrudgeWatch! Also, Dems Debate and Bloomberg goes Bigtime

NYC’s Mike Bloomberg is dropping PlaNYC 2030 on us, and it’s hot.  Lots more trees, lots more parks, lots more transit (incl. that 2nd Avenue line, finally), and a whopper $8 fee to drive a car into Manhattan.  It’s $21 a trip for trucks.  It’s also got tax incentives to push biodiesel and solar-power infrastructure, as well as an electricity surcharge — $2-3 a month — to pay for cleaner electricity generation.  It’s gotta pass the state government, and the fees/taxes make it controversial, so look for the final result to be watered down, possibly unrecognizable.  But this is good press 3 weeks before 40 other mayors show up to talk about green cities. 

1600 Penn Ave. might not give climate change much thought, but state and local governments are getting serious on the issue.   “Act Locally” is more true than ever — instead of putting a check in that prepaid envelope, get your community to do something measurable. 

Our comments on the 1st Democratic debate are found at comment #100 on the NYTimes Caucus blog. 

We’re announcing DrudgeWatch!  See what it is after the Jump!

DrudgeWatch is a survey over time of the environment and climate-change stories that make their way onto the Drudge Report.  Everybody reads Drudge (the man luuuuvs his hit totals) so you can’t deny he’s a needle-mover on the issue. 

How’s it work?  We drop by his site a couple/few times a day and tally up the good press, bad press, or neutral coverage.  We’re trying to figure what picture the Drudge reader sees, and which way DR’s coverage will push a reader (not trying to look into the heart of the man himself):

  • “Good press” includes any positive mentions, or reports on supportive science, but also any general coverage of an event/speech/rally/vote.  Environmentalism lives and dies on public awareness, so these links are good for the cause.
  • “Bad press” includes links to a critical editorial, a global-warming-skeptic outlook, an argument for indifference or disregard, or a “hypocrisy” story (like Al Gore’s big energy-guzzling house). 
  • “Neutral” will be where we put war-of-ideas stories, or offbeat stories.  Drudge is drawn like a moth to sensationalism, so Al Gore’s secret rendezvous with Ken Lay’s niece in the back of a FlexFuel El Camino goes here.  (Yeah, we’re messed up; deal, okay?)  

A couple of points:

  • The Drudge headline counts, a lot.  Most people only read headlines.  “Solar Cells give your baby CANCER?!”  is a bad-press story, no matter what the story itself says.  The same story, captioned “Solar Cells Coming Down in Price” is good press. 
  • “Hypocrite” stories sometimes have a very positive result — pushing leaders to practice what they preach is good, and can spur real change as well as more effective leadership.  But calling environmental leaders hypocrites will make casual readers less likely to sign on to what is at heart a good cause.  So for our limited purpose, it’s bad press.
  • The longer it’s there, the more people will see it.  So we’ll count the same story again each time we see it there.  

DrudgeWatch (inaugural edition): 10 stories in the past 24 hours, split pretty evenly.

  • Good Press: 3
  • Bad Press: 3
  • Other: 4

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