CBS This Morning co-anchor Norah O'Donnell on Monday adopted alarmist language for global warming. She referred to climate skeptics as "deniers." CBS offered two stories on a new United Nations report predicting catastrophic weather in the future.
Physicist Michio Kaku appeared as a guest and worried, "But collectively, 100-year storms, 100-year floods, 100-year droughts, 100-year forest fires. I mean, something very dangerously is happening with the weather." O'Donnell sneered, "And to those climate change deniers?" [MP3 audio here.]
In an earlier news brief, O'Donnell predicted doom: "And a United Nations report out this morning paints a bleak picture for the environment."
Kaku appeared more even-handed then the host. He described the skeptical point of view this way: "Well, they realize something is happening with the weather. They admit that. However, they disagree about human activity. They say perhaps it's part of a natural cycle."
This type of attitude isn't new for CBS. In January of 2007, Scott Pelley (who now anchors the CBS Evening News), mocked the very idea of balance: "If I do an interview with [Holocaust survivor] Elie Wiesel, am I required as a journalist to find a Holocaust denier?"
More recently, CBS This Morning co-host Charlie Rose wondered if climate change means "winter sports could be doomed."
A partial transcript of the March 31 interview is below:
CHARLIE ROSE: Let me talk about climate change. There's a report from the UN's panel warning on climate risk. Worse is yet to come.
MICHIO KAKU: This has to be taken seriously because in 2007 they simply said "It's coming. It's coming." This report says "it's here." Take a look at the thinning of the ice caps, the rising of sea level, the acidification of the ocean, the bleaching of the coral reefs, Hurricane Sandy. We're looking at bizarre weather patterns. Now, you can't say any one particular thing is a smoking gun for global warming. But collectively, 100-year storms, 100-year floods, 100-year droughts, 100-year forest fires. I mean, something very dangerously is happening with the weather.
NORAH O'DONNELL: And to those climate change deniers?
KAKU: Well, they realize something is happening with the weather. They admit that. However, they disagree about human activity. They say perhaps it's part of a natural cycle. But no one disagrees that the polar ice is thinning and sea levels are rising. You can measure these things. The Earth is heating up. Meanwhile the nations of the Earth, 100 nations signed on to this report.
NORAH O'DONNELL: All right. Professor Michio Kaku. Thank you so much.