Why Trust the Media to Get Global Warming Story Right?

Published April 1, 2007

In a speech on the floor of the U.S. Senate, delivered on September 26, 2006, Sen. James Inhofe (R-OK) summarized the state of climate science, drawing upon the latest scientific research.

Reproduced below is the fourth installment in an ongoing series presenting Inhofe’s address, edited for length.

Deceptions About Greenland

Has [the] embarrassing 100-year documented legacy of coverage on what turned out to be trendy climate science theories made the media more skeptical of today’s sensational promoters of global warming?

You be the judge.

On February 19th [2006], CBS News’s 60 Minutes produced a segment on the North Pole. The segment was a completely one-sided report, alleging rapid and unprecedented melting at the polar cap.

It even featured correspondent Scott Pelley claiming that the ice in Greenland was melting so fast, that he barely got off an iceberg before it collapsed into the water.

60 Minutes failed to inform its viewers of a 2005 study by a scientist named Ola Johannessen and his colleagues showing that the interior of Greenland is gaining ice and mass and that according to scientists, the Arctic was warmer in the 1930s than today.

Blatant Bias Ignored

On March 19th of [last] year 60 Minutes profiled NASA scientist and alarmist James Hansen, who was once again making allegations of being censored by the Bush administration. In this segment, objectivity and balance were again tossed aside in favor of a one-sided, glowing profile of Hansen.

The 60 Minutes segment made no mention of Hansen’s partisan ties to former Democrat Vice President Al Gore or Hansen’s receiving of a grant of a quarter of a million dollars from the left-wing Heinz Foundation run by Teresa Heinz Kerry. There was also no mention of Hansen’s subsequent endorsement of her husband John Kerry for president in 2004.

Skeptics Slandered

Many in the media dwell on any industry support given to so-called climate skeptics, but the same media completely fail to note Hansen’s huge grant from the left-wing Heinz Foundation.

The foundation’s money originated from the Heinz family ketchup fortune. So it appears that the media makes a distinction between oil money and ketchup money.

60 Minutes also did not inform viewers that Hansen appeared to concede in a 2003 issue of Natural Science that the use of “extreme scenarios” [ones not based on scientific facts] to dramatize climate change “may have been appropriate at one time” to drive the public’s attention to the issue.

Why would 60 Minutes ignore the basic tenets of journalism, which call for objectivity and balance in sourcing, and do such one-sided segments? The answer was provided by correspondent Scott Pelley. Pelley told the CBS News Web site that he justified excluding scientists skeptical of global warming alarmism from his segments because he considers skeptics to be the equivalent of “Holocaust deniers.”

Reporter Writing Fantasy

[Last] year also saw a New York Times reporter write a children’s book entitled The North Pole Was Here. The author of the book, New York Times reporter Andrew Revkin, wrote that it may someday be “easier to sail to than stand on” the North Pole in summer.

So here we have a very prominent environmental reporter for the New York Times who is promoting aspects of global warming alarmism in a book aimed at children.

Time‘s Yellow Journalism

In April of [last] year, Time magazine devoted an issue to global warming alarmism titled “Be Worried, Be Very Worried.”

This is the same Time magazine which first warned of a coming ice age in the 1920s before switching to warning about global warming in the 1930s before switching yet again to promoting the 1970s coming ice age scare.

The April 3, 2006 global warming special report of Time magazine was a prime example of the media’s shortcomings, as the magazine cited partisan left-wing environmental groups with a vested financial interest in hyping alarmism.

Headlines blared:

“More and More Land Is Being Devastated by Drought”

“Earth at the Tipping Point”

“The Climate Is Crashing.”

Cause for Concern

Time magazine did not make the slightest attempt to balance its reporting with any views of scientists skeptical of this alleged climate apocalypse.

I don’t have journalism training, but I dare say calling a bunch of environmental groups with an obvious fundraising agenda and asking them to make wild speculations on how bad global warming might become is nothing more than advocacy for their left-wing causes. It is a violation of basic journalistic standards.

To his credit, New York Times reporter Revkin saw fit to criticize Time magazine for its embarrassing coverage of climate science.

So in the end, Time‘s cover story title of “Be Worried, Be Very Worried,” appears to have been apt. The American people should be worried–very worried–of such shoddy journalism.