Every time the mainstream media shoots itself in the foot (RatherGate, ACORN’s pimp scandal, the biased coverage of the 2008 presidential elections) conservatives proclaim the industry’s death knell.
And every time they do, such talk is premature.
But there is one story that could strike a mortal blow to the biased MSM beast: the global warming meme.
Virtually every media outlet, from major newspapers to niche magazines like Men’s Health, have been sounding the alarm over global warming. Each warns us what will happen if we don’t reduce our collective carbon footprint while describing in detail ways to reduce said footprint.
Those who deny the earth is warming … well, you simply don’t invite those people into your home.
Now we learn the Earth may not have a fever after all:
- “The world leaders who met at the United Nations to discuss climate change on Tuesday are faced with an intricate challenge: building momentum for an international climate treaty at a time when global temperatures have been relatively stable for a decade and may even drop in the next few years.”
- “Official government measurements show that the world’s temperature has cooled a bit since reaching its most recent peak in 1998.”
- “For the last 11 years we have not observed any increase in global temperatures.”
Must be Faux News’ slanted reporting, right? Try the New York Times, McClatchy, and the BBC, respectively.
Naturally, none of these stories is couched in a “we goofed, our bad” spirit. Instead, the data is introduced and then explained away by scurrying scientists out to protect their image — and their storyline.
I’m no scientist, and some of the global warming news reports could have elements of truth behind them. But clearly what we’re currently experiencing doesn’t match the frightening picture painted by climate experts over the past decade. We’ve been sold a bill of goods that, if it isn’t totally inaccurate, is still deeply flawed and needs additional study.
So how will media consumers, who already are registering record lows when it comes to trusting the media, react if current temperature figures overtake the global warming narrative?
Hard to imagine television viewers won’t tune out news shows in record numbers and believe even less of what they read in their hometown newspapers.
The anecdotal evidence against global warming has been building for some time now. Fewer major hurricanes than predicted. Snow in spots where snow rarely falls — or rarely falls so early in winter.
It doesn’t help that our global warming guru, former Vice President Al Gore, refuses to engage in vigorous debates on the subject. Just days ago Gore fumbled an answer to an inconvenient question during a Q&A while someone mercifully cut the microphone on the inquisitor.
That someone? Likely a person connected with the Society of Environmental Journalists, which sponsored the event.
The media doesn’t deserve complete blame here. Journalists routinely receive press releases from environmental groups and universities claiming one set of facts, like global warming is on the rise, and many come from trustworthy sources.
And when reporters call up sources to flesh out climate change stories, they’re likely to find a global warming believer on the other end of the line.
But reporters should be skeptical on every issue they face, be it a politician’s latest promise or a climate debate in which one side deems the science “settled.” And skepticism has been in very short supply when it comes to global warming. Wouldn’t professional cynics give these headlines more than a cursory look?
- “Surge in fatal shark attacks blamed on global warming”
- “Climate change makes island kids bony, stunted”
- “Latest threat from global warming: shrinking sheep”
- “Warming trends blamed for syrup season change”
Global warming skeptics have been trying to sound the alarm for years that the science behind the movement is uncertain, that the probability we can change our current course is unlikely, and that the issue is being used for political purposes.
The MSM could still save itself and its shaky reputation. Rather than simply reporting the latest facts about current temperatures, why not do a little investigative reporting as to why so many people got fooled? Who funded these alarmist studies? How much money did former Vice President Al Gore stand to make if people bought into his fear mongering?
In short … what happened?
Reporters scolded themselves at length a few years ago for not reporting the truth about Saddam Hussein’s weapons of mass destruction — or the lack thereof. It was one of the rare times you heard journalists critique each other en masse.
We need reporters to repeat that soul-searching ASAP.
It’s not too late for reporters to start aggressively finding the truth. But if President Barack Obama passes cap-and-trade legislation, it just might be — both for the country and for the media.