Area large adult son Wolf Blitzer appears to have taken a wrong turn on his way to United Nations climate talks.
A day after appearing in Rome for the end of the G20 summit, the jet-setting CNN anchor announced his Monday morning news hit “from Edinburgh in Scotland where 20,000 world leaders and delegates have gathered for the COP26 Climate Summit.” There’s just one problem: Edinburgh is the wrong city, located roughly 50 miles (81 kilometers) from where the summit is actually taking place.
Admittedly, it’s not like CNN’s big-name anchors are out doing man-on-the-street interviews. But why Blitzer would set up shop in Edinburgh is beyond me—he could be in Glasgow sitting down with Greta Thunberg or UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson. His tweet announcing his reporting from Edinburgh was, of course, ratioed like we’re ratioing the atmosphere with carbon dioxide (sorry, still working on my climate standup routine).
There are perhaps a few reasons why Wolf is in Edinburgh. Air Force One landed there on Monday morning local time, so perhaps they wanted the anchor simply wanted a chance to shout questions at President Joe Biden.
No, that can’t be right. Blitzer is set up in front of Edinburgh Castle, located far from the city’s airport. The castle is, however, one of the most iconic places in Scotland. Of the nation’s two main cities, Edinburgh is generally considered the more tourist-friendly and picturesque. Could it be that CNN simply wanted a made-for-TV backdrop to broadcast from? Is it possible that the stakes of incredibly urgent climate talks set against increasingly dire warnings weren’t enough to pass up a good backdrop opportunity?
That would certainly track with corporate U.S. media, which has long treated climate as a redheaded stepchild. Just a few months ago, CNN bumped climate scientist Katharine Hayhoe as the Pacific West suffered through a heat wave like no other in history so that it could talk about Richard Branson’s edge-of-space joyride. Climate change has received, at most, a few hours of coverage a year on major news networks. After essentially convincing audiences that the fate of the planet is simply not a topic worth covering, setting up Blitzer against a pretty castle might be a way to get folks visually engaged. Which itself is a problem since substance is much more important than style for basically any topic, but especially the climate crisis given the stakes.
Many of Blitzer’s most ardent hecklers were British journalists, underscoring how silly U.S. cable news coverage of the topic has been. If you want to see what engaging and hard-hitting coverage could look like, consider the BBC presenter Ros Atkins’ series of incisive segments on the climate talks that lay out the stakes, greenwashing, and goals versus actions of major polluters. There’s no castle backdrop, just hard-hitting explanatory journalism.
To be fair, CNN does have reporters inside the conference center at Glasgow and a live blog churning out updates. So it’s not like the company is totally going for glitz and glam over substance.
That raises another possibility about the case of Wolf’s whereabouts. He may just be lost. So please, Edinburghers, if you see this bearded man wandering the streets looking for a pint of warm beer or a plate of haggis, I’m begging you to help him. Maybe you could spare a few pounds to get him an Uber to the train station so his handlers in Glasgow can guide him to the CNN set there. Or better yet, accompany him to the station so he doesn’t wander off into the Scottish National Gallery or try to climb Arthur’s Seat near sunset. He appears to have a warm coat, which is good. But I’m not sure he’d last the night out in the cold, and we really do need all media hands on deck to cover the talks.
In an email sent after publication, a CNN spokesperson noted that President Biden is staying in Edinburgh, which is why Wolf is stationed there. So actually, scratch helping him get on a train to Glasgow.
Update, 11/1/21, 3:19 p.m.: This post has been updated with info from CNN. Please let Wolf roam Edinburgh in peace.