TV's One-Sided Global Warming Nonsense

ABC, CBS and NBC are so committed to the idea that human-caused global warming will be a disaster for the planet, they completely excluded all other points of view from their evening newscasts this year, according to a new study by the MRC's Free Market Project.

Out of 51 global warming stories shown between January 20 and April 22, only CNN and the Fox News Channel mentioned experts' lack of consensus - and CNN's nod toward balance was merely a brief recitation of a statement by President Bush about "the incomplete state of scientific knowledge." In contrast, FNC's David Shuster showed climate scientist Richard Lindzen, who argued that a recent U.N. paper on global warming was exaggerated. "It came from having scenarios with horrific and unimaginable emissions, and putting them in the most sensitive model," Lindzen explained, offering FNC viewers the sort of hard-news insight the other networks never bothered to find.

One textbook example of bias: On March 29, CBS's Mark Phillips packed a report with critics of Bush's decision not to implement the 1997 Kyoto treaty, a deal which would have forced the U.S. to cut industrial emissions to 30 percent below where they are today, a huge economic sacrifice.

"Around the world, anger runs as deep as the flood waters being blamed on the global warming the Kyoto treaty was supposed to fight," Phillips melodramatically began. "President Bush says he's putting American economic interests first in rejecting Kyoto, and in Britain, where they're having their wettest winter ever, they sadly agree." CBS then showed the liberal Labor government's environmental minister lecturing the United States about "short-termism" and "isolationism."

"And that was the polite response," continued Phillips. "Others point to severe weather conditions around the planet: flooding for the second consecutive year in Mozambique; drought and famine in the Sudan. And, they say, the U.S. is substantially to blame. With only about four percent of the world' s population, the United States famously produces about 25 percent of the world's harmful green-house gas pollution....Kyoto may have been an imperfect treaty," Phillips groused, "but in an imperfect world, it was the only global warming treaty we had."

By suppressing other points of view, ABC, CBS and NBC made Bush's anti-Kyoto ruling seem irresponsible and short-sighted. Environmentalists were granted most-favored status, quoted 20 times compared with only three appearances by spokesmen for free market groups such as the Competitive Enterprise Institute.

If environmentalists' gloomy global warming predictions are exaggerated or wrong, then the networks have been pushing the wrong side of the story. Dr. Sallie Baliunas of Harvard's Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics recently told Tech Central Station's James Glassman that while the Earth is about 1F warmer than it was a century ago, it was much warmer a few hundred years ago, long before the smokestack was invented. She told Glassman that claims of catastrophic human-induced warming "are exaggerated. There is maybe some human-made warming, but it's going to be so small that it's going to be lost in the natural variability."

But ABC, CBS and NBC shamelessly shut out the views of authentic experts such as Lindzen and Baliunas in favor of the hyped claims of professional environmentalists. That's not journalism, that's liberal activism. - Rich Noyes