Fox News (Again) Trying to Shout Down the 98 Percent

January 5, 2017

For Fox News, Fake News is not a tactic, it’s a Business Model.
Fake News is, of course, not News to Climate Scientists. They’ve been dealing with it for decades.
On Fox News last night Tucker Carlson gave a bit of a seminar on the “La la la I can’t hear you” method of climate denial, as he did not want to accept and deal with the overwhelming consensus on the science of climate change, but rather badger a non-scientist about the exact source of the 98 percent figure.
For future reference, here’s a primer on what we know about the overwhelming, 150 year old science of climate change.

My friend John Cook PhD conducted perhaps the most famous survey on the issue.

John and I also discussed how another climate denier, perennial Presidential candidate Rick Santorum, misused and distorted a study to claim high levels of doubt on climate in the global science community.

In fact, after hearing the Santorum interview, I spoke immediately to the author of the study that the Senator claimed to have cited, Bart Verheggen PhD.

Although using a somewhat different approach than Cook, Verheggen, like a number of others, found overwhelming agreement on the science, with the level of agreement highest among those with the greatest relevant expertise.

Dr. Cook is relocating to the US this year, and I spent some time with him last month chatting about best practices for cutting thru Denial nonsense – which I hope to share in upcoming productions.

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9 Responses to “Fox News (Again) Trying to Shout Down the 98 Percent”

  1. webej Says:

    Really a shame that he could not mention that the 98% figure has been established by studies of articles in journals, even without knowing about various studies specifically. He did mention Shawn Otto, who probably does refer to such studies specifically.
    Tucker brings up another point however, which is apparently not very clear to large audiences and seems so obvious and minor that it is seldom elaborated: What is climate science anyway? Many people think climate science is just another hype on college campuses like women’s studies or gender issues or some other fad about things that are highly susceptible to personal interpretation. A lot of people don’t get that climate scientists are in fact physicists, chemists, biologists, mathematicians, etc., that have chose to do research on various aspects of the physical world that are related to climate/weather. You don’t get a BA in climate science, you are trained in (paleo) geology or in modeling fluid dynamics, and then become involved in some area related to climate.
    People are unfortunately not aware that the basic physics of green house gases such as water vapour that re-radiate infra-red radiaton back to the earth is based on incontrovertible physics that goes back almost two centuries, and for which there is a 100% consensus among physicists: any controversy is related only to the feed-backs, effects of warming, the carbon cycle, and the exact scale of natural variation and anthropogenic contributions.

    • otter17 Says:

      A good synopsis, but wow this type of combat interview format on cable network news doesn’t convey any of that.

      You see interviews like this happen where the guy in the hotseat should be able to whip out Anderegg, Powell, Cook, Doran/Zimmerman, Oreskes at the drop of a hat, but there must be something about this interview style that favors the bully mic position. Bill O’Reilly has seemed to get by without getting too beat up in the past, despite outrageous positions. The whole “Tides go in, tides go out. You can’t explain that.” nonsense comes to mind.

    • otter17 Says:

      Meant to say combat interview format doesn’t convey any of that nuance.

  2. mbrysonb Says:

    This is a game that can be played with any science people don’t like. There was nothing especially vulnerable about “climate science” until it became a target for deniers. The same, I’d say, goes for evolution (and for tobacco harms, acid rain, and stratospheric ozone, and even lead pollution). We can explain how these scientific conclusions emerged, that they’re grounded in methods, principles and observations that are beyond question for scientists in many fields, and that we have good reason to be very confident about them (much better reason than we have to be confident, for example, in ‘liberal’ macro economics). But getting through to audiences whose beliefs are shaped by social and political connections rather than understanding of the science is very difficult. Beliefs are often more about those connections and whether having a certain maintains/ defends those connections than they are about anything we can describe as evidence…


  3. I couldn’t listen to that first video. I could feel a head ache coming on. Probably caused by brain cells dying in protest I suspect. The Fox exposure effect.

  4. Andy Lee Robinson Says:

    My God. I’ve scraped lifeforms off my shoes that were more intelligent than that Fox News critter.

    • dumboldguy Says:

      Ditto on Keith’s reaction, and comparing Tucker Carlson to lifeforms that you’ve had to scrape off your shoe is unfair to those life forms. They were only there because they couldn’t escape your stomping around (through no fault of their own).

      Carlson on the other hand DESERVES to be smeared all over someone’s metaphorical shoe. I often half-kiddingly bring up what would happen to people like him (and that complete whore Hannitty) if they ran their mouths like this in the bars of my youth in Tony Soprano land in NJ. Unfortunately, the TV’s in many of those bars are probably now tuned to Fox News—-another sign of how far the country has fallen.

      • skeptictmac57 Says:

        Also, I would find it very implausible that Carlson isn’t already extremely familiar with the 98% talking point, and where it comes from, and who is making that argument. He was taking a shot that his guest would not be able to reference those studies off the cuff, and he was right.
        That is why anyone who goes up against AGW deniers in any venue so large, need to be able to fire back and anticipate ‘gotcha’ questions. It’s not enough to be right, you also need to back up your arguments in real time if you are on TV, radio, or in live debate. Online is different since you have time to reference your sources.
        The point is, that Carlson was being intellectually dishonest, but tactically clever for his devious purposes, which did not include trying to get to the truth. That is the FOX News business model, and now the business model of the majority of the Executive, Legislative, and soon to be the Judicial branches of the US government…help us Obi Wan Kenobi !!!


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