“World News with Charles Gibson” supplied a sad, syrupy story for viewers on March 24 as reporter Bob Jamieson warned of “A truly New England business that may one day disappear.”
“But this year, the syrup season is ending for many farmers when it would normally begin – in early March,” Jamieson reported.
Tom Branon, one syrup maker, told Jamieson that “springs are coming earlier” and “winters are less harsh,” putting the business in jeopardy.
Taking Branon’s point further, Jamieson explained that in the past generation the average winter temperature has risen by nearly 3 degrees. He said researchers think Vermont is caught in a “long-term warming trend” that might make eventually maples unsuitable for the state.
Nowhere did the ABC report mention that February was actually the 34th coldest February in 113 years.
But gloom and doom wasn’t the only way to cover the issue. A March 12 “NBC Nightly News” segment on the maple syrup industry in Vermont also mentioned climate change, but unlike “World News,” NBC focused on one sugar farmer’s decision to adapt.
“Some years, like last year, we lost out. We lost the first run, but I’m not worried this year. We’re going to-we’re almost fully tapped,” said Burr Morse to “Nightly News.”
After one winter of lost profits, Morse invested in new equipment so that the family business could continue.
But instead of advocating adaptation and ingenuity, “World News” lamented the “devastating” $200 million economic blow Vermont would suffer if warming continued and made sugaring unprofitable.