The Associated Press’ annual poll of U.S. editors and news directors has led them to declare what the top stories of 2010 are.  They missed the boat on the more important story of the year.

According to AP’s poll, the top stories are:
1. The Gulf oil disaster.
2. The U.S. health care overhaul.
3. The U.S. elections
4. The U.S. economy
5. The Haiti earthquake
6. The tea party movement
7. The Chile mine rescue
8. Iraq, and U.S. forces formally ending their combat role
9. WikiLeaks
10. The continued war in Afghanistan

The story they missed?  The international community’s inability to make any substantive progress on addressing the human causes of climate change.

I mean, really, what difference will U.S. citizens’ access to health care make when they (we) don’t have access to food?  What difference will U.S. elections make when they (we) don’t have enough water?

The story about the Gulf oil disaster point toward the bigger story:  how our addiction to fossil fuels is causing not just disasters like this, but global climate change.  Unfortunately, few journalists drew out this important aspect of the story.

The story about the U.S. economy is really a global story about the economy.  It, too, point toward the bigger story:  how our global economy is contributing to global climate change and how we need to create at new economy (not rebuild the old economy).  Unfortunately, I never heard one word about this in the mainstream news media.

Disasters make for big stories.  That’s why three (or five, if you count the wars) of the top ten stories are disasters (the Gulf, Haiti earthquake, Chili mine).  But I guess the disaster that’s playing itself out – the disaster of global climate change – is just too slow motion to make for good copy.