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The mainstream media’s coverage of President Obama’s recent speech about anthropogenic global warming (AGW) was worse than bad, it was tragic. You have to search far and wide to find a news article that mentioned that many scientists – most, we argue – think the science behind the man-made global warming campaign is inconclusive at best. This poor reporting was deliberate: we sent MSM reporters a collection of reactions to the President’s speech that they could easily have used to include the views of skeptical climate scientists. Other think tanks did likewise.
A friend who follows the climate debate closely asked, “Why can’t we make any progress with the MSM?” Here are my top four reasons:
(1) We ARE making some progress. The Economist, New York Times, and Nature all published serious “walk back” articles in the past few weeks. Global warming is getting less and less news coverage as readers and editors realize this movement has passed through its “broken wave” period and is now receding.
(2) 99% of reporters who cover environment and global warming are environmentalists – it really is their religion. They aren’t going to some day just “change their mind” about global warming. Most will die or retire still being true believers.
(3) The MSM is shrinking fast, measured by ad revenue and circulation, and even faster measured by credibility and influence. The reporters left behind in the MSM are under-achievers, folks without transferrable skills. (Environmental reporters were already on the bottom rung of a short ladder, so you can imagine what a talentless lot remains.) As newspapers die, their reporting gets worse and worse. In the case of environment reporting, that means more and more shrill.
(4) Business publications, such as the Wall Street Journal and Financial Times, view environment issues as a contest between two industries (fossil and renewable) with environmentalists (white hats) siding with the renewables. That’s the paradigm you see in every WSJ business story about global warming. We – meaning free-market thinkers and skeptical scientists — simply don’t exist for these reporters because we don’t fit into their paradigm. In their world, we can ONLY be “front groups” for the fossil fuel industry. Any good reporter would research that claim and find it to be laughably false, but see #3.