CLIMATE CHANGE AND THE MEDIA, OMNI NEWSLETTER #1, April 18, 2013.
Compiled by Dick Bennett for a Culture of Peace, Justice, and Ecology.
Mainstream (corporate) media during the past decades failed to inform the public adequately about climate change, but these failures have been examined and reported, and some notable improvements have occurred recently. (This newsletter is complemented by those on corporate scams and denial, which partly explain the delay in public comprehension and government delay. See Nakashian and others below. )
Contents Climate Change and Media Newsletter #1
IPCC: “Climate Change 2013”
Denise Robbins’ Comprehensive Study of Media Reporting of UN IPCC Reports
Dick, Articles from Extra! on Climate Change Give the Bad News
Nakashian: Corporate Media Give False Balance to IPCC Report
Hart: TV News Frequent Failure to Connect Weather and Climate
Time Magazine on Fracking Not Warming
Failure of Two Main Parties
Fox News: Balance the True with the False Is Fox Reporting
Dick: Moyers Interviews Leiserowitz, Yale Climate Change Communication Project
Maxwell and Miller’s Book, Greening the Media, Ways to Reduce Toxic Communi
Dick, THE WEATHER CHANNEL
IPCC, CLIMATE CHANGE 2013: THE PHYSICAL SCIENCE BASIS
Denise Robbins, Research, NationofChange, April 18, 2018: The final installment of the U.N.’s top climate report, which calls for prompt, extensive action to avoid calamitous impacts from climate change, garnered relatively little attention from the major print, cable and broadcast media outlets compared to the first installment. However, coverage of the third report rightfully gave far less space to those who cast doubt on the science.
Home > Extra! - The Magazine of FAIR, the Media Watch Group
Extra! - The Magazine of FAIR, the Media Watch Group
Extra! is FAIR's hard-hitting monthly magazine of well-documented media criticism.
Extra! receives no money from advertisers or corporate underwriters, and depends on subscribers for its existence. If you find the information on this website valuable, please subscribe and help make it possible for us to keep investigating and publishing.
Editor: Jim Naureckas
Managing editor: Julie Hollar
Publisher: Deborah Thomas
Letters to the edit
THREE ARTICLES ON REPORTING WARMING IN EXTRA! (DEC. 2013).
MELANIE NAKASHIAN, “CERTAIN SCIENCE, DUBIOUS REPORTING.”
Reports on Part One of the 5th UN IPCC Report, Sept. 2013, the consensus of thousands of scientists from 39 countries, or 97%, yet corporate media still report denialists:
Washington Post, L.A.
Times, Today, and
particularly Fox News. This “false
balance” prevents the public from understanding the perils ahead and brings
media credibility into disrepute. --Dick Wall Street Journal,
PETER HART, “WEATHER—WITHOUT CLIMATE.”
“A new FAIR study shows that even when covering weather events that scientists suggest are linked to climate change, the news rarely mentions the changing climate.” --Dick
JANINE JACKSON, “CLIMATE CHANGE IS NOT THE FUTURE,” EXTRA!
Traditional training of reporters to give “both sides” madly deranges reports when only one side exists. Reporting the sun will rise does not justify acknowledging the wacko denier. Because anthropocentric, atmospheric, C02 warming receives the approval of 99% of climatologists, and all national scientific academies, to report the 1% disagreement, partly the puppetry of fossil fuel industry propaganda, is grossly irresponsible. “Sadly, corporate reporters’ fealty to notions of partisan balance means that many stories on climate policy still include the predictable protests of deniers like Sen. James ‘God’s still up there’ Inhofe (R.-Ok.). Journalists should be “reporting countless compelling stories on the actually happening effects of climate shifts”; for example, the seas rising to drown the Pacific nation of
( Jackson might have pointed out that the plight
was a fact by 2005, when Tim Flannery described it in The Weathermakers). –Dick
Time Ignores Climate Change to Paint a 'Golden Age' of Fracking
That seems like the only reason you would write a piece about the world discovering ways to extract and burn vast new quantities of hydrocarbons without mentioning one word about climate change. That's what Bryan Walsh gave us in the May 21 issue of Time magazine–an article about fracking that doesn't mention the technology's powerful contribution to global warming.
The headline over this article: "The Golden Age."
Walsh does refer to fracking's ecological impact, referring to "environmental concerns over fracking–chiefly the possibility of groundwater pollution." The groundwater contamination associated with fracking is certainly bad, but most environmentalists will tell you that climate change is the biggest challenge facing humanity–and that finding new ways to burn carbon (and release methane as well) is utterly unhelpful.
Walsh concludes his article: "Fracking is here to stay, scrambling a global energy picture that had long seemed settled." Actually, the only thing that was settled was that people would have to totally reinvent their energy systems if they wanted to avoid catastrophe. But for Time magazine, ignoring that catastrophe seems to be the next best thing.
Extra! (November 2012). Failure of two main Parties and mainstream media to present Climate Change.
Global Warming Silence on Sunday TV
No talk about climate's contribution to catastrophe From FAIR, publisher of EXTRA! Magazine. Nov. 5, 2012.
You'd think a massive hurricane that wreaked havoc along the East Coast might force the high-profile Sunday morning TV shows to talk about climate change.
You'd be wrong.
It's time for us to tell the Sunday talkshows: Talk about climate change. Sign FAIR's petition today.
It is difficult for most people to keep ignoring the link between catastrophic climate change and weather catastrophes like "superstorm"
. But with the devastation still being
tallied--over 100 dead in the United States, dozens more in the Caribbean, tens
of billions of dollars in damage--the Sunday shows on November 4 couldn't be
bothered to talk about what caused this storm to be so damaging, and will make
future devastating storms inevitable. Sandy
On NBC's Meet the Press, host David Gregory said at the top of the show (11/4/12):
Should more attention be paid to a changing climate's impact on the severity of these storms?
The answer to that question would appear to be no--since the episode never talked about climate change again.
On ABC's This Week (11/4/12), right-leaning pundit Matthew Dowd made a passing comment about climate change and how it would affect Mitt Romney's electioneering. On CBS's Face the Nation, host Bob Schieffer likewise framed the storm in terms of its impact on the election (11/4/12):
And then there's the wild card: What impact will the superstorm that destroyed parts of
Jersey and plunged the lower half of into darkness have on the races? Manhattan
On Fox News Sunday (11/4/12), climate change was not an issue either; the hurricane was discussed as a political opportunity for President Barack Obama.
There's no doubt that climate change is rarely a front-burner issue for corporate media. But the weekend after a massive, once-in-a-century storm ravages the East Coast, climate change is hardly a footnote on the networks' Sunday shows?
If this was not the time to talk about climate change, when will that day come?
Tell the Sunday shows: It's time to have a real discussion of climate change--with experts on climate, not political pundits. Sign FAIR's petition tod
"Fox News e-mail shows network's slant on climate change 12-19-10
"Fox News Channel's top
editor ordered the network's reporters to couple any mention of global
climate change with skepticism about the data underlying such a scientific
conclusion, according to an e-mail released by a liberal media-watchdog group
Media Matters for
said the internal e-mail from Bill Sammon, Fox News's Washington bureau chief, called into
question the network's impartiality in reporting on climate change.
In an e-mail sent last December to Fox News's journalists in the wake of a global conference on climate change, Sammon asked Fox journalists to "refrain from asserting that the planet has warmed (or cooled) in any given period without IMMEDIATELY pointing out that such theories are based upon data that critics have called into question. It is not our place as journalists to assert such notions as facts, especially as this debate intensifies."
Rest of Washington Post story here https://mail.google.com/mail/?hl=en&shva=1#inbox/12cfc361892efdfb
FILM ON CC
Bill Moyers and Company, AETN, PBS, Sunday, January 6, 2012.
Moyers interviewed Anthony Leiserowitz, Yale Projects on Climate Change Communication
Full of dramatic facts.
11 record disasters in 2011 each costing over $1 billion.
Price-Waterhouse Accounting firm declared: if world double its expenditures? the planet’s temp would rise 6 degrees.
6 levels of human awareness.
Why public passive? Powerful corporate disinformation campaign.
Science on CC and action based on facts will reduce jobs? No, and public knows it, but corp. disinfo. undermines mobilization.
Framing the CC debate:
What route leads to freedom for US citizens?
What future do you envision for your grandchildren?
CC a way back to liberal middle, who believe in affirmative, constructive government for the People and want gov’t. to confront CC. --Dick
Greening the Media
UP, 2012 Toby
You will never look at your cell phone, TV, or computer the same way after reading this book. Greening the Media not only reveals the dirty secrets that hide inside our favorite electronic devices; it also takes apart the myths that have pushed these gadgets to the center of our lives. Marshaling an astounding array of economic, environmental, and historical facts, Maxwell and Miller debunk the idea that information and communication technologies (ICT) are clean and ecologically benign. The authors show how the physical reality of making, consuming, and discarding them is rife with toxic ingredients, poisonous working conditions, and hazardous waste. But all is not lost. As the title suggests, Maxwell and Miller dwell critically on these environmental problems in order to think creatively about ways to solve them. They enlist a range of potential allies in this effort to foster greener media--from green consumers to green citizens, with stops along the way to hear from exploited workers, celebrities, and assorted bureaucrats. Ultimately, Greening the Media rethinks the status of print and screen technologies, opening new lines of historical and social analysis of ICT, consumer electronics, and media production.
Identifies the media's complicity in environmental pollution, illustrating how information technology contributes to the global ecological crisis
Lays out a plan for change and sustainability in various media industries
Examines hot-button issues such as global-warming, cellphone safety, and technological waste
"Someone once said that people should never go into the kitchen of a restaurant where they enjoy eating. Toby Miller and Richard Maxwell take us into the electronic media's kitchen, and the food will never taste the same again. In a brilliant, even stunning, expose of the environmental practices and impact of media corporations, Greening the Media is one of the most important media books in years. Extremely readable and entertaining, this highly original and well-researched book should be mandatory reading for everyone with a cell phone or a flat-screen television." --Robert W. McChesney, coauthor of The Death and Life of American Journalism
Richard Maxwell is Professor and Chair of Media Studies at
, City University of New York. Queens College
Toby Miller is Distinguished Professor of Media & Cultural Studies at the
of California, . Riverside
Toby Miller is Distinguished Professor of Media & Cultural Studies at the
COMMENTS ON THE WEATHER CHANNEL BY DICK BENNETT
THE WEATHER CHANNEL and Pretend Meteorology
By Dick Bennett
During March 20-13, 2013 TWC heavily advertised their forthcoming programs on mass extinctions, forecasting the end times. Our planet has experienced 5 mass extinctions, and we are at the beginning of the 6th. What the ad does not reveal is that the first five had natural causes while the present mass extinction is caused by humans. The ad is the Mother of All Distractions from the present anthropogenic warming/extreme weather.
Another equally intensely advertized program was an adventure series on prospecting. Yes prospecting. Yes, while the greatest catastrophe ever faced by humans rushes upon us, TWC focused on prospecting and the End Times, the comparatively trivial and the immensely serious but irrelevant past.
What should be the supremely urgent challenge of climate change to a program staffed by meteorologists—meteorology the science dealing with the atmosphere, weather and climate—is dismissed by the comparatively insignificant and by association with the fanatically religious. Several years ago one Sunday I visited the “
” in a nearby
town. As you enter the building the
relatively small outer foyer led into the large foyer and to the right into the
Bookstore. Just inside the Bookstore I
found books by Joel Rosenberg, The Last
Jihad and The Last Days, and by
Adrian Rogers, Unveiling the End of Times
of Our Times. To the left you reach
the impressive sanctuary designed so that the congregation experiences the
minister’s sermon with three enormous crosses behind him outside the building seen
through a window several stories high. For
older Christians, and for all Christians of all ages in certain denominations,
the Cross signifies the return of the Christ to His Heavenly Father, the
promise through the Cross of eternal life for the faithful, and the eventual
planetary destruction when the sheep will find their Home with God, and this
Eternal Future surely resonates in the minds of all these believers who listen
to TWC’s ad for the End Times program. Crosses
Because the planet, humanity, and all species are threatened with more and more human-caused, intense weather extremes,--floods, droughts, fires, rising seas, mass extinctions, and refugees of all species--, our professionals and officials should be telling the truth and helping people be informed and globally, massively adapting, but just one year ago TWC played to fundamentalist inevitability and the bottom line.
ABRACADABRA September 28, 2013, that broken, faux The Weather Channel, for years composed of ignorant or cowardly ostensible meteorologists, has been transformed into a well-informed, truth-telling, authentic, reliable scientific source of information about Climate Change! Today at 5:13 a.m. CST, TWC presented facts about anthropogenic warming (fossil fuels and cutting forests), seas rising, the urgent need to reverse CO2, and the equally urgent need to concentrate on adaptations to protect the world’s populations.
What happened between March and September to inspire (compel!) this change, I do not yet know. Do you?.
UPDATE NOVEMBER 15, 2013: OH OH, IT’S STILL PLAYTIME ON TWC
Yes, a new series of “The Prospectors” is showing, and with a young woman prospector dressed IN a Western movie outfit right out of the familiar barroom.
But at least the “meteorologists” are mentioning climate change. How?
This morning a tear-jerker about the stressed-out Polar Bears, their numbers decreasing, their struggle for food intensifying. Al and Stephanie, the poor Polar Bears, isn’t it a shame.
CANT is a word that by now is surely familiar to everyone watching TWC. From the Random House Webster’s College Dictionary (1991): “cant –n. 1. insincere or hypocritical statements, esp. pious platitudes.” If they are what they claim to be (and all the rest on TWC) they have known, or should have known, the climate was warming and the weather was becoming more extreme, and the animals were threatened. In 1988 James Hansen wrote about and testified before Congress the facts of warming, and one of the UN’s greatest initiatives, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), was established in the same year. No scientist certainly and no responsible official should have been ignorant since the 1990s. (But of course, in some extenuation, the fossil fuel industry was spending millions of dollars to prevent that awareness among the People. But TWC is supposed to be meteorologists!)
“2007 global warming controversy
The web site Capital Weather published an interview with WJLA meteorologist Brian van de Graaff. In this interview, van de Graaff stated:
The subject of global warming definitely makes headlines in the media and is a topic of much debate. I try to read up on the subject to have a better understanding, but it is complex. Often, it is so politicized and those on both sides don't always appear to have their facts straight. History has taught us that weather patterns are cyclical and although we have noticed a warming pattern in recent time, I don't know what generalizations can be made from this with the lack of long-term scientific data. That's all I will say about this.”
Van de Graaff was so ignorant I wonder what the result of that statement was. Did TWC give him a raise in 2007? Possibly. I doubt they fired him, for that was typical. Where is he now? –Dick
Return to 2014: I have blamed the false meteorologists. But aren’t we all culpable? How many of us well-informed people pushed TWC employees to tell the truth. I didn’t. Why did we allow them to get away with ignorance and lying? Why do informed people defer to them who are supposed to be the informed? We did the same thing with local responsible officials—our so-called “emergency managers” and
But at last even the fake
meteorologists on the Weather Channel now refer to warming. At 4:50 this
morning the possibility of severe droughts and water shortage were acknowledged
as part of this "apprehensive and congested world." And a film
was referred to with Scott Momaday and Meryl Streep, " ,"
dir. by John Grabowski, in which warming and its consequences were confronted,
quoting Momaday, "Let us learn to live rightly in this world." Had
the ecology movement pushed TWC “meteorologists” the past decade to perform
their duty to tell the truth, maybe they would have started doing so earlier. But at least now they go along with consumer
opinion even though they didn’t lead it.
END CLIMATE CHANGE AND MEDIA NEWSLETTER #1