As Manhattan enjoyed an unseasonable 72-degree winter day on January 6, news media quickly claimed that the weather inspired fears of “the end of the world.” But as the thermometer dipped into extreme cold, the rhetoric of human-caused global warming has not cooled off.
“Do people here [South Beach, Fla.] know that very likely in the next – well several decades – all of this is going to be underwater?” asked CBS “Early Show” anchor Harry Smith during an interview with author Carl Hiaasen. Smith injected the topic of global warming into his interview about the appeal of Miami on February 1.
ABC flashed an onscreen graphic that read “Will Billions Die from Global Warming?”
When the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released a summary of its upcoming report on February 2, the media supplied catastrophic predictions. But they left out two key elements: experts who questioned the report and U.N. predictions that were actually downgraded from earlier warnings.
NBC anchor Brian Williams treated the report as above reproach when he said on “Nightly News,” “Climate change is increasingly a political issue. But today’s report is all about science.”
But as the Business & Media Institute reported in the study Fire and Ice, the media have frequently hyped the threat of climate catastrophe – alternating global cooling and global warming – throughout the past 100 years. Each of those reports was “all about science,” too.
Coverage of the U.N. report gave no explanation of who writes the summary that was released on February 2. “The Summary for Policymakers is designed to be a propaganda document that will promote global warming alarmism,” said the Competitive Enterprise Institute’s Myron Ebell. “It is not written by the scientists who wrote the report, but by the governments that belong to the IPCC.”
See No Debate, Speak No Debate
Media reports following the IPCC release could be summed up like this: “The earth is warming, it’s mankind’s fault, and no one can question it.”
During Sam Champion’s January 31 ABC segment, he stated that the IPCC report would conclude with 99 percent certainty that global warming is caused by mankind’s fossil fuel pollution.
But the actual report, released on February 2, “confirmed they’re 90 percent certain manmade greenhouse gas emissions are causing alarming rates of global warming,” according to correspondent Dawna Friesen of NBC “Nightly News.”
Unlike the IPCC scientists, the media must have been 100 percent certain, because stories about the IPCC report on February 2 ABC, NBC and CBS broadcasts included no other point of view.
“The top climate experts from all around the world, speaking with one voice, issued a blunt and bleak assessment today on global warning. There was no ambiguity in their words,” said ABC’s Charles Gibson during “World News.”
Experts who disagreed with the IPCC were nowhere to be found in those February 2 network stories.
But there are many experts who disagree, including climatologist Dr. Timothy Ball, who stated in a February 5 article that “Global warming, as we think we know it, doesn’t exist.” Ball earned his Ph.D. in climatology from the University of London and taught the science at the University of Winnipeg.
In his article, Ball also said that global warming is not caused by human carbon dioxide emissions, calling it “the greatest deception in the history of science.” He then cited the global cooling consensus from 30 years ago and said “global temperature trends now indicate a cooling” to come.
Another scientist, astrophysicist Dr. Nir Shariv, once said that human carbon dioxide emissions were causing global warming, but has since recanted and now blames solar activity. Dr. Habibullo Abdussamatov agrees because he has seen evidence on another planet.
Convenient Fact Selection
Also conspicuously absent from the post-IPCC report stories on the networks was the mention of a significant revision to U.N. predictions of sea level rise. According to The Wall Street Journal, in 2001 the U.N. was predicting a high-end sea level rise of three feet by 2100, but the new report leaves high-end estimates at 17 inches – a 52.7-percent decrease.
“[W]hat’s not new in today’s IPCC report – that humans are warming the planet – will be treated as big news, while what is new – that sea levels are not likely to rise as much as previously predicted – will be ignored, at least by everyone except the extremist fringe,” predicted climatologist Patrick J. Michaels on February 2.
Michaels was correct. ABC’s Bill Blakemore left out the revision of U.N. predictions in a segment about that very topic: rising sea levels. “World News” anchor Bill Weir introduced the report saying that rising water “may be the scariest part of all.” In fact, Blakemore’s story sounded like the opposite of the U.N.’s reduced prediction.
“Sea levels could rise in the coming decades faster than anyone thought,” said Blakemore, who later warned that by the year 2030, 2,000 Indonesian islands could disappear.
Instead of reporting the backpedaling of the IPCC, NBC’s Campbell Brown interviewed eco-celebrity Laurie David of http://www.stopglobalwarming.org/ on February 3. The Saturday “Today” co-host gushed about Al Gore’s Academy Award and Nobel Peace Prize nominations and how his documentary caused people to take the issue of global warming “to heart.” She also told viewers to change their light bulbs.
The reports didn’t even attempt to provide balance or to present all the relevant facts.
But that was nothing new to CNN’s Lou Dobbs. Just two days earlier, Dobbs left behind all journalistic objectivity and admitted to silencing the debate for the purposes of his show “Lou Dobbs Tonight.” “I’ll tell you something we did on this show, oh about seven, eight months ago because I finally got tired of the debate. I said, ‘All right, on this broadcast at least for the purposes of this audience and this broadcast we’re going to assume that mankind has a significant role in global warming,” said Dobbs on January 30.
What about Today’s Weather?
CBS weatherman Sam Champion was concerned that the extremely cold weather might freeze out acceptance of the IPCC report.
“Good Morning America’s” Champion even shook off the notion that currently cold temperatures could undermine the theories about human-caused climate change during the February 5 broadcast. “Remember, your day-to-day temperatures are not gauging global warming,” Champion said.
Tell that to The Washington Post and The New York Times reporters as well as NBC’s Meredith Vieira, who all linked unseasonably high temperatures in the Northeast to global warming in early January.
Joel Achenbach declared on January 7, “The weather is sublime, it’s glorious, it’s the end of the world,” in the Post.
Or tell that to Al Gore, who "chose January 15, 2004, one of the coldest days in New York City's history, to rail against the Bush administration and global warming skeptics," as James M. Taylor wrote in Environment & Climate News. Gore, Taylor said, told his audience that global warming was causing record cold.
"The extreme conditions are actually the end result of the planet warming," Gore claimed.