Epic Failure of Media on Climate Change will Baffle Future Historians

November 4, 2014

When I see Wolf Blitzer in hell I am so going to ream his ass.

The incredible contrast between the release of actual scientific warnings about climate, that MUST be heard and heeded to avoid catastrophe, and the media’s complete lack of attention – at this stage of the game, 2014, is mind boggling.

In 2003, I told a group of people concerned about the impending war in Iraq that the media, that we once thought was on the side of fact, on the side of uncovering truth, was no longer interested in truth and fact, and if we wanted to get anything out to the public, we would obviously have to do it ourselves – so let’s pass the hat and take out an ad.

I realize bitterly that we were right then, and I feel increasing dread that nothing was learned in that disaster – things have only gotten worse.

Doug Craig – Climate of Change:

Last year FAIR (Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting) reported how only four percent of news segments on the national network newscasts (CBS Evening News, NBC Nightly News, ABC World News) covering extreme weather mentioned the words “climate change,” “global warming” or “greenhouse gases,” despite the fact that “human-made climate change…is affecting, and in some cases exacerbating, that extreme weather.”

They wrote,

“So in what was an unusually active weather year in the United States–a massive tornado in Oklahoma, deadly flooding in Colorado, massive wildfires across several Western states and bouts of unseasonable temperatures across the country–96 percent of extreme weather stories never discussed the human impact on the climate that is contributing to these outcomes.

“It’s almost as if the altered climate and the weather were happening on two different planets.”

Meanwhile, the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released the “synthesis” report of their fifth full scientific climate assessment since 1990, and according to Joe Romm, “issued their bluntest plea yet to the world: Slash carbon pollution now (at a very low cost) or risk ‘severe, pervasive and irreversible impacts for people and ecosystems.’”

Romm reminds us that this report “is the last time they (IPCC authors) have a serious shot at influencing the world’s major governments while we still have a plausible chance of stabilizing at non-catastrophic levels.

“IPCC chairman Rajendra Pachauri said this report will ‘provide the roadmap by which policymakers will hopefully find their way to a global agreement to finally reverse course on climate change.’ That global agreement is supposed to be achieved over the next year and finalized at the December 2015 international climate talks in Paris.”

And while this is our last chance and our best hope, the worst case scenario is catastrophic.  We could see a temperature rise of 9°F by 2100 if we miss this opportunity.

A temperature rise of “only” 7°F include substantial species extinction, global and regional food insecurity, consequential constraints on common human activities, and limited potential for adaptation in some cases.”

According to Ari Phillips,“None of the network Sunday shows mentioned this latest report or its stark findings” but CNN invited a climate change denier to spout the usual unsupported, non-scientific drivel we have been hearing and reading for years.

“John Coleman, who co-founded the Weather Channel in the 1980s before being forced out a year after it went to air, has splashed across headlines this past week for his climate denying antics. It started when Coleman — who does not have a meteorology degree, let alone a climatology degree — wrote an open letter to UCLA’s Hammer Museum expressing his disapproval on a climate change presentation hosted there. In the letter he states, ‘there is no significant man-made global warming at this time, there has been none in the past and there is no reason to fear any in the future.’”

While CNN and the other networks seldom invite actual climate scientists to appear on the air, they seem to love the deniers.  Coleman was featured on CNN’s Reliable Sources with host Brian Stelter.

“Stelter said only that he thought the data Coleman presented was ‘skewed,’ and that he doesn’t think there are two equal sides to climate change — the scientific consensus is that it’s real. The host also added that the press has to be careful about giving false balance to the debate but that Coleman’s background merits discussion. He did not, however, bring up that Coleman has been connected to the Heartland Institute, a climate denying think tank funded by fossil-fuel interests, for years, and has spoken at their conferences.

“When asked by Stelter to explain why 97 percent of scientists agree that humans are causing climate change, Coleman said the U.S. government only gives money to scientists who ‘support the global warming hypothesis.’ He also said that ‘science is about facts, and if you get down to the hard, cold facts there’s no question about it — climate change is not happening.’

“Two days after Coleman took his message to FOX news to let ‘everyone know there is no climate crisis’ the Weather Channel released on official position on global warming on Wednesday. The statement says ‘the climate of the earth is indeed warming,’ that the ‘impacts can already be seen,’ and that ‘with the rate of greenhouse gas emissions increasing, a significant warming trend is expected to also continue.’”

Later on Twitter, Stelter admitted“he is yet to have an actual climate scientist on the show.’

“Meanwhile on Sunday, the Intergovernmental Panel On Climate Change released a Synthesis Report detailing the dangers of climate change. Hundreds of scientists spent the last five years preparing this final report, which says that carbon pollution must be slashed now or risk ‘severe, pervasive and irreversible impacts for people and ecosystems.’

“None of the network Sunday shows mentioned this latest report or its stark findings.”

While our climate keeps changing, broadcast media’s refusal to cover the issue at the level it deserves remains the same.

Climate Progress:

Meanwhile on Sunday, the Intergovernmental Panel On Climate Change released a Synthesis Report detailing the dangers of climate change. Hundreds of scientists spent the last five years preparing this final report, which says that carbon pollution must be slashed now or risk “severe, pervasive and irreversible impacts for people and ecosystems.”

None of the network Sunday shows mentioned this latest report or its stark findings.

Capital Weather Gang:

The Weather Channel and former TV meteorologist, to express his views about climate change to their national audiences. Coleman is simply an awful choice to discuss this issue. He lacks credentials, many of his statements about climate change completely lack substance or mislead, and I’m not even sure he knows what he actually believes.

To begin, Coleman hasn’t published a single peer-reviewed paper pertaining to climate change science. His career, a successful and distinguished one, was in TV weather for over half a century, prior to his retirement in San Diego last April. He’s worked in the top markets: Chicago and New York, including a 7-year stint on Good Morning America when it launched. If you watch Coleman on-camera, his skill is obvious. He speaks with authority, injects an irreverent sense of humor and knows how to connect with his viewer.

But a climate scientist, he is not.

His position further demonstrates an incredible lack of respect and regard for scores of intelligent, hard-working climate scientists, some of whom are politically conservative, who have dedicated their careers to objectively examining data and publishing research that indicate human-induced warming.

Whereas Coleman rejects appealing to authority and consensus as a solid argument for manmade global warming, he uses exactly the same tactic to cast doubt on it. In the CNN interview he refers to 31,000 “scientists” who have signed a petition with a dissenting view on manmade global warming. Yet this petition has been repeatedly debunked for lack of quality control, not to mention it represents a miniscule fraction (~0.3%) of all U.S. science graduates (source Skeptical Science).

His few scientific arguments also flounder on their merits.

He repeatedly tell Fox News and CNN viewers: “There is no global warming”, which even most climate change skeptics would reject. Data centers around the world (based on thousands of observations) and satellite instruments have unequivocally documented global warming over recent decades (even if the rate of warming has slowed some over the last 15 years, but not over longer averaging periods).

 

 

15 Responses to “Epic Failure of Media on Climate Change will Baffle Future Historians”


  1. After all the recent political discussion, and with this being election day in the USA, I thought that some of you might appreciate reading the wisdom of Free Market Fred:

    http://www.landoverbaptist.net/showthread.php?t=102447

    • dumboldguy Says:

      Free Market Fred gets it! I am going to bookmark the LBC site in between The Onion and Duffel Blog on my list. Too bad Liberals Must Die is no longer with us.


  2. […] the media’s complete lack of attention – at this stage of the game, 2014, is mind boggling. (Climate denial crock of the week […]

  3. ubrew12 Says:

    “Epic Failure of Media on Climate Change will Baffle Future Historians”
    Latest Koch Brothers memorandum: “History is over and we won”. There will be no need for ‘future historians’. In the future we will live in one ever-rosy, Koch-Brothers-fueled present. The ugly past will be this place where ‘thar be dragons’, and we’ll be encouraged to avert our eyes from it lest we be turned to stone. Now, join with me: “Our Brothers, who art in Heaven… Hallowed be thy name…”


  4. When you see Wolf Blitzer in hell, be sure to also give him a thumbs up for Brian Stelter’s limp attempt at regurgitating the worn-out talking point about media balance that IPCC scientist the late Stephen Schneider apparently invented:

    “‘Skeptic Climate Scientists Do Not Deserve Fair Media Balance.’ Spread This Line Widely; NEVER Check its Veracity and Don’t Examine its History.” http://gelbspanfiles.com/?p=1886

  5. andrewfez Says:

    I thought they were just making a spectacle out of him; as in, ‘Ha, ha – crazy ol’ fella lives in the past and isn’t up on current events: Any minute now, he’s gonna tell us the Russians are coming or that cellular telephones will never amount to anything’.


  6. […] When I see Wolf Blitzer in hell I am so going to ream his ass. The incredible contrast between the release of actual scientific warnings about climate, that MUST be heard and heeded to avoid catastrophe, and the media’s complete lack of attention – at this stage of the game, 2014, is mind boggling.  […]

  7. redskylite Says:

    Agreed the media performance has generally been abysmal in reporting mankind’s effect on the climate, although there are a few good examples who publicize the issue well (Guardian etc.), sadly some people (maybe many) are influenced by such rubbish as the Daily Mail.

    However the biggest earners of reaming in the other-world (at least in the world’s democracies) are those who have been elected (and are paid) to look after our common interests. They have had august bodies and resources like the U.N advising and yet action has been almost non existent in many countries.

    Many politicians cannot project a mere 87 years into the future (2101), and can only think of providing materialism to benefit current populations during the short time of their tenure.

  8. neilrieck Says:

    In 1995, many people were surprised to learn that the CBS news program “60 Minutes” was unable (for 9-10 months) to publish a piece on tobacco company Brown + Williams, and that much of the interference came from CBS’s own legal team who were also involved in selling the company.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jeffrey_Wigand

    Remember that the news media once stood up against the US government in issues like “publishing the Pentagon Papers” and “Watergate”. The big change since then was ~50 news publishers have been corporately acquired and are now controlled by 5-6 corporations. Thomas Jefferson and James Madison never saw this one coming.


  9. While it might seem obvious to us that future historians will be baffled at medias position, I am not so sure it will be. Media is in a free market a product like any other, a commodity that you buy. Democracy basically tells us that no-one has the right to tell me what to believe. Heck I don’t even have to believe in physics, certainly not evolution. Even if understanding that the earth is older than 4000 years is required me to understand earths climate in any perspective that makes meaning of our current AGW predicament, it does not stop me from the right to ignore science. That is the essential problem here – and why there is a large portion of people that even support a party like the Republicans – the right to believe whatever I want.

    Media has lost its role of informing about facts – its an entertainment venue like any other. Even schools are experiencing the same, facts are challenged, and the once high status of a learned person is practically vanished in the public mind. Who needs a researcher anyway, I can just google it – and look here, Anthony Watts say its a hoax… or whatever I want to believe today.

    Humanity is truly on the path to extinction. I am not so sure there will be any historians around to appreciate how media failed to inform us – whatever is left of humanity will behave like media too – banging anyone who comes close to our caves with a very large stick so that we can defend any wealth we might have accumulated – whatever form that has in the future.


    • Found this fitting Isaac Asimov quote:

      “There is a cult of ignorance in the United States, and there has always been. The strain of anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that ‘my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge.”

      The media simply reflects the market for this ignorance. The fix is really to get people to stop watching Fox News. 🙂


      • “The fix is really to get people to watch Fox News and compare their coverage to what is left out of the mainstream media news.”

        Fixed your sentence for ya.

        • dumboldguy Says:

          A great quote from JCL. Unfortunately, Russell feels insulted by JCL’s joke about Faux News (since it is apparently Russell’s main source of information), and Russell feels the need to strike back. It IS true that much is “left out” of the mainstream media news, but anyone who is seeking to find truth won’t find it on Faux, just as anyone who wants truth or a “fair and balanced” treatment of AGW should stay far away from WUWT and Russell’s site. Both are the Faux News of climate change commentary.

          Doesn’t Russell know that regular viewers of Faux have been found to be the most ill-informed people in the country on a wide range of issues. Of course, there is some debate that they may have been ignorant and ill-informed to start with and that’s why they watch Faux, but they still end up in the dame place.

          Russell? Why are you wasting your time on this thread when Charles Zeller has asked you a science question on another thread and you have not yet answered?


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