The Weather Channel's 'One Degree' of Propaganda
The Weather Channel already tells viewers to stay inside during bad weather, but a new campaign also tells them what to think and do about global warming.
The purpose of One Degree is to join in the ânational conversationâ and help people âget past the sound bites and confusion,â said Matthew de Ganon, vice president of broadband and consumer applications for weather.com, in a MediaWeek.com article. But the Web site is clearly in the global warming camp and doesnât give readers the whole story on climate change.
The One Degree mission statement says its goals are to âInspire a sense of responsibility for the future of our planetâ and âEmpower viewers to take action and make a difference.â It explores the âcauses, effects and solutionsâ to global warming with videos like âWhy are churches going green?â and âNew Warming Warning,â with NASA scientist James Hansen.
The âGlobal Warming 101â section proclaims that âAn overwhelming majority of climate scientists agree that the Earth's climate is warming due in large part to human activities.â
The causes? Much of civilization, according to One Degree: âThe main culprits are emissions of greenhouse gases (such as carbon dioxide, methane, water vapor and nitrous oxide) from the burning of fossil fuels such as coal and oil. Land use changes including agriculture and deforestation are also a contributing factor.â
A âWhat you can do?â section boasts six things people can do to âmake an immediate impactâ to cut greenhouse gas emissions â the same strategies promoted by activist groups like Environmental Defense and the Sierra Club.
The âresourcesâ page labels information sources that disagree with global warming activism as âskeptic news outlets,â including http://www.junkscience.com/ and http://www.techcentralstation.com/.
âMajor policy research groups in Washington, also known as âthink tanks,â have played a role in boosting the voices on both sides of the debate on what to do about global warming,â the site says. âThe major groups involved on the skeptic side include the Competitive Enterprise Institute and the George C. Marshall Institute.â
If the Weather Channel wanted viewers to be informed, they would offer the whole range of information in the global warming debate. Instead, it attempts to end audience âconfusion,â as de Ganon put it, by telling them what to believe and do.
The climate change debate has many questions â is global warming really a threat? What is causing it? Is it a natural cycle that will return to cooling some day? The Weather Channel chooses the answers for viewers, instead of letting them make the decision.
Itâs nothing new for media outlets to hype climate change. A Business & Media Institute study, âFire & Ice,â found that major media like The New York Times have alternately hyped catastrophic global cooling and warming throughout the past century.