As a blizzard threatened to bury northeastern U.S. cities with snow, MSNBC blanketed its coverage with connections to man-made climate change.
Repeatedly, the cable network which is part of NBC Universal, tried to link the snowstorm with climate change (a phrase often used synonymously with global warming) in at least five of its shows on Jan. 26. While MSNBC hosts and guests said that “scientists think” climate change could be causing more snow, some actual scientists disagreed. But those views were not represented in those MSNBC discussions.
Roger Pielke, Jr., a professor of environmental studies, has argued that climate change advocates have been “exaggerating the relationship between climate change and extreme weather,” and that doing so “undermines” public trust in science.
On Twitter, meteorologist Ryan Maue actually said the opposite of MSNBC. Maue wrote that it was “easy to make case that global warming weakened this blizzard significantly due to warmer SSTs [sea surface temperatures].”
“Science Guy,” Bill Nye, who got that moniker while doing stand-up comedy, was one of the climate alarmists MSNBC consulted about the blizzard. Nye said he “wanted to introduce the idea” that the storm was “connected to climate change” on “The Cycle.”
On “Now with Alex Wagner,” Wagner asked Jeffrey Sachs, “Is there an interrelation between extreme heat and extreme cold, extremely erratic storms?” Sachs, a Soros crony and head of the Earth Institute at Columbia University, replied, “Well, certainly the scientists think so.”
MSNBC shows “Hardball With Chris Matthews” and “All In With Chris Hayes” also suggested the blizzard could be related to climate change.
Yet, Patrick J. Michaels and Chip Knappenberger of Cato Institute were skeptical about the connections being made by people like Nye about the blizzard. They wrote on Jan. 26, “the reality is that this blizzard (in fact pretty much all storm events) are the result of a very complex system of physical interactions—the precise behavior of each one of which is not completely understood, much less perfectly predictable. This makes ascertaining the influence of human-caused climate change virtually (if not entirely) impossible.
Instead of acknowledging that people skeptical of climate alarmism have any valid reasons, Sachs claimed that Senate Republicans opposed to climate-related legislation were “just on the take with the big oil money.” Yet, Sachs had no complaint when his buddy George Soros, a liberal billionaire, gave a combined $77 million to projects directed by Sachs in 2008 and 2011.
It wasn’t just MSNBC guests who brought up climate change during the blizzard coverage. Ed Schultz, host of “The Ed Show,” claimed, “There's little doubt severe weather events are becoming more frequent in the United States. Many scientists think that there is a direct link between severe weather and climate change.” Schultz cited examples of the drought in California, wildfires in Washington State, and record temperatures in 2014.
But there has been scientific disagreement with the examples Schultz provided. Roger Pielke, Jr. said in a blog post Jan. 27 that data actually show winter storms on the East Coast had either not changed or decreased in intensity.
A recent study published by NOAA found that the California droughts were driven by “natural cycles” and “sea surface temperatures,” not man-made climate change.
There is also little evidence wildfires are increasing due to man-made global warming. R.M. Beaty and A.H. Taylor’s research on geological records in northern California showed that that “current fire episode frequency is at one of its lowest points in at least the last 14,000 years.”
The claims about 2014 being the hottest year on record were criticized by a number of scientists.
Although the recent snowstorm gave ample opportunity for discussions about climate change, bias on the subject is nothing new for MSNBC.
The network made very similar claims after back-to-back snowstorms struck the Washington, D.C., area in 2010. MSNBC’s Dylan Ratigan told viewers on Feb. 9, 2010, “Here's the problem – these ‘snowpocalypses’ that have been going through D.C. and other extreme weather events are precisely what climate scientists have been predicting, fearing and anticipating because of global warming.”
At the time, conservatives mocked the global warming crowd, and MSNBC and other liberal news outlets were furious that the “wingnuts” used the snowstorms in 2010 to make fun of them. Nye was so upset by it he attacked them as “unpatriotic” climate skeptics on Feb. 10, 2010, during the “Rachel Maddow Show.”
Even absent winter weather, MSNBC has often hyped global warming and climate change as threats and misrepresented climate skeptics on this issue.
Alex Wagner, host of “Now with Alex Wagner,” took the cake for her slanted coverage during her show’s broadcast on July 3, 2012. She cited a skewed poll, consulted a spokesperson for the environmental movement, and attacked Mitt Romney, Newt Gingrich and the Koch brothers.
During one segment, Wagner interviewed British adventurer and climate change alarmist David Mayer de Rothschild. Wagner welcomed him warmly saying, “although every time I see you I feel like some horrible environmental catastrophe has befallen us, and we once again return to the question of why our political class, our rulers, the ruling elite, are not more focused on environmental concerns.”