I saw the phrase, “Much air time and many trees have been wasted” in the article of New York Times (March 24) titled, “The Outsourced Party.” It begins with the following sentence:
“Who speaks for the Republican party? The answer is that everyone does — and therefore, no one does.
Much air time and many trees have been wasted trying to explain the division, rancor and lethargy that have beset the Republican nominating campaign, now into its second year and threatening to run all the way to the party’s national convention in late August. But it’s no great mystery.”
I am amused with the combination of “air time “and “trees.” I can understand “waste (air) time.” I can relate 'time' to 'money', but am puzzled why “trees". “ I checked GooglNgram and found no entry of “waste much time and many trees.”
Is “waste much time and many trees” a set phrase? What does “trees” represent for here?