The Extreme Politicization of the News Media May Have Started on Climate, but Is Now Spreading to Larger Political Subjects in the US

Published April 15, 2019

In recent decades it has become increasingly evident that the mainstream/liberal press has become more and more sympathetic towards the so-called “consensus” viewpoint on climate change. They have become less and less sympathetic to skeptic viewpoints and now hardly mentioned them. I became very conscious of the huge changes in American journalism in recent decades when I became interested in climate change.

Good journalism involves reporting events and observations rather than selecting a general viewpoint and trying to persuade readers that the viewpoint is correct by carefully selecting and interpreting only observations and events supporting that viewpoint, whether the observations actually support the viewpoint or not. I fear that more and more news media have gone beyond misrepresenting various aspects of the evidence for climate change, reporting only observations and events supporting “consensus” climate change, and engaging in ad hominem attacks on people who hold other viewpoints.

The Spread of the Same Propaganda Techniques to Other Political Issues

Major news media now appear to be increasingly using many of the same techniques for reporting other controversial news areas, particularly politics. One reason for this is that ever larger sums are being spent by partisans to pay for this. This may reflect in part the rise of wealthy liberal high tech industries that seek to use their money and control of some aspects of news transmission to shape the news that the the less aware reader receives.

Now there has always been propaganda disguised as journalism, but it has usually been limited to a few publications and a few subjects, but not on the present scale involving many if not most newspapers, many magazines, and most television news programs.

The differences in the selection and treatment of Democratic and Republican Party viewpoints in the news media have become increasingly pronounced. As in the case of climate change issues, the mainstream liberal media can immediately be identified by their political orientation without reading actual content, since it is all very similar. It is as if the basic Democratic Party viewpoint is carefully coordinated among the news media, and it probably is, just as it appears to be in climate “news.”

In brief, American news media are now being polarized and politicized on Democratic/Republican Party issues just like started earlier on climate change. To experience the differences between the two viewpoints, readers may wish to watch say a CNN and a Fox News broadcast on the same evening.

In many cases, climate change articles use ad hominem arguments to attack scientists on the “consensus” side rather than directly questioning the viewpoints of climate skeptics. Liberal news media are headed in the same direction on major political issues, but so far less clearly than in the case of climate “news.”

All this threatens the usefulness of the news media to accurately portray different viewpoints on controversial political issues. The news media are increasingly acting like captive propaganda organizations for particular groups and viewpoints. As a result they are becoming ever more biased and less useful for the general reader. I fear that this may be partially the result of the bitter war over climate change, which may have been the proving grounds for the political party propaganda wars now being waged on many issues such as alleged Russian collusion and the Mueller report, and immigration. I believe that this is definitely an unfavorable development for American democracy where public opinion on critical public issues plays a very important role and can determine public policy even in highly technical issues such as climate change.

Larger and Longer Term Implications for Democracies

Increasing politicization and polarization of politics and climate “science” do not bode well for the ability of democracies to reach sound decisions on political and particularly scientific issues in an optimal manner. But there are no real alternatives. If groups are willing to spend enormous sums to promote their preferred biased “news media,” who are trying to influence public policy rather than providing useful news and information, major errors may be made by the voting public. This is what has been happening in the area of climate change for several decades.

The cost of backing the climate scam as desired by the climate-industrial complex is clearly enormous, but less than the cost of making bad political judgments that could change the whole political direction of the United States. But the two are actually related. The climate scam is what the “Democratic Socialists” want to promote–have the government determine what is to be done–even if it does not need to be done in the first place. The important thing seems to be that this is to be done top down by government, not bottom up by a democratic political process.

[Originally Published at Carlin Economics]