ABC’s harmlessly named “profile” segment March 23 was, in essence, an attempt to discredit and bury the individual profiled – not too surprising, however, because he is a scientist who refuses to support wildly hyped global warming predictions.
Reporter/anchor Dan Harris introduced Dr. Fred Singer as part of the “denial machine” and accused him of trying to create a “mirage of a scientific debate” in the face of “broad scientific understanding.”
Rather than giving any of Singer’s science a fair hearing, the ABC segment ignored the scientific claims he makes and instead devoted more than three minutes of its broadcast to attacking his credibility.
“Dr. Fred Singer was greeted like a rock star at a recent meeting of global warming skeptics,” Harris said on ABC “World News Sunday.” “This 84-year-old Princeton-trained physicist is the grandfather of a movement that rails against the broad scientific understanding that global warming is real, manmade and potentially catastrophic.”
Singer released a report at the 2008 International Conference on Climate Change asserting that global warming caused by man-made carbon emissions is negligible and that all warming trends can be attributed to solar activity. Rather than address those claims, Harris picked an environmental activist from the left-wing organization Greenpeace to scoff at Singer’s credibility.
“Kert Davies, an environmental activist, says Singer is connected to a whole web of organizations, many funded by oil and coal companies, that have spent millions trying to convince the public there’s a scientific debate about global warming – slowing down government action on a phenomenon that could lead to storms, droughts, famines, massive refugee movements and even wars,” Harris said.
Singer’s paper said the doom-and-gloom reports – like those released by the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change – ignore solar activity in their models. But “World News” did not explain that and dismissed it as “fraudulent nonsense.”
“[I]n this new report he argues global warming is just part of a natural cycle, and that our carbon emissions are not dangerous,” Harris said. “We ran Singer’s data by climate scientists from Stanford, Princeton, and NASA who dismissed it with words like ‘fraudulent nonsense.’ This is not, by the way, the first time Singer has set himself against mainstream scientific opinion. He also argued against the dangers of second-hand smoke, toxic waste and nuclear winter.”
“World News” did not allow the merits of the science to be debated for the viewer to absorb. Nor did the show run Singer’s work by any institutions or scientists who might agree with Singer that man is not the primary cause of rising global temperatures. But such scientists who agree are available. A report released by the U.S. Senate Environment and Public Works (EPW) Committee on Dec. 20, 2007, revealed more than 400 prominent scientists questioning the hype.
Another one of those scientists is hurricane forecaster Dr. William M. Gray, a professor at Colorado State University. He told an audience at the 2008 International Conference on Climate Change that a natural cycle of ocean water temperatures related to the salinity (the amount of salt) in ocean water was responsible for some global warming that has taken place. However, he said that same cycle means a period of cooling would begin within 10 years.
“We should begin to see cooling coming on,” Gray said. “I’m willing to make a big financial bet on it. In 10 years, I expect the globe to be somewhat cooler than it is now, because this ocean effect will dominate over the human-induced CO2 effect and I believe the solar effect and the land-use effect. I think this is likely bigger.”
Harris took one parting shot at Singer’s credibility – by reporting he received money from Exxon.
“We asked Dr. Singer if he ever took money from energy companies,” Harris said. “At first he denied it and then he said yes he had received one unsolicited check from Exxon for $10,000.”
But $10,000 is a drop in the bucket compared to what is being spent on a U.S. marketing campaign for Al Gore’s “Alliance for Climate Protection.” According to an article in the March 24 USA Today, the marketing campaign the organization is rolling out is set to cost $100 million a year over three years – “to focus on the urgency of the problems and solutions,” the article said.
The report is a blatant example of the trend illustrated in the most recent Special Report from the Business & Media Institute, “Global Warming Censored.” The report showed that in the last half of 2007, the network news squashed dissent on global warming and attempted to discredit skeptics by comparing them to Holocaust deniers.
ABC News completely disregarded the Society of Professional Journalists’ Code of Ethics, which says journalists should “Support the open exchange of views, even views they find repugnant,” and “Distinguish between advocacy and news reporting.” Such a one-sided attack story does nothing to further the audience’s understanding of the issue at hand.