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 “national conversation” and help people “get past the sound bites and confusion,” 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 doesn’t give readers the whole story on climate change.
The One Degree mission statement says its goals are to “Inspire a sense of responsibility for the future of our planet” and “Empower viewers to take action and make a difference.” It explores the “causes, effects and solutions” to global warming with videos like “Why are churches going green?” and “New Warming Warning,” with NASA scientist James Hansen.
The “Global Warming 101” section proclaims that “An overwhelming majority of climate scientists agree that the Earth's climate is warming due in large part to human activities.”
The causes? Much of civilization, according to One Degree: “The 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.”
A “What you can do?” section boasts six things people can do to “make an immediate impact” to cut greenhouse gas emissions – the same strategies promoted by activist groups like Environmental Defense and the Sierra Club.
“Major policy research groups in Washington, also known as ‘think tanks,’ have played a role in boosting the voices on both sides of the debate on what to do about global warming,” the site says. “The major groups involved on the skeptic side include the Competitive Enterprise Institute and the George C. Marshall Institute.”
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 “confusion,” as de Ganon put it, by telling them what to believe and do.
The climate change debate has many questions – 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.
It’s nothing new for media outlets to hype climate change. A Business & Media Institute study, “Fire & Ice,” found that major media like The New York Times have alternately hyped catastrophic global cooling and warming throughout the past century.