Fox News and the Mail: Does anyone trust them (on climate change)?


 

Global warming is an immensely complex issue. It is all encompassing: politics, economics, geography and science. Needless to say, it is incredibly difficult to understand.

The-Mail-On-Sunday-Fox-NewsThis doesn’t seem to bother Fox News and the Mail, however. Media Matters has highlighted a piece run by Fox earlier this month that claimed global warming “ended” 16 years ago.

Their report was based upon an article in the Mail on Sunday, a paper (along with the sister Daily Mail) that is described by Media Matters as having “repeatedly misrepresented climate science”.

The article itself is based upon deliberately misleading statistics. Their time frame of 16 years is entirely arbitrary.

In response to this publication the Met Office released a statement saying only multi-decade data is useful in the measuring of global warming. An overall trend is only detectable in the long term; short term data, such as the set chosen by the Mail, is not representative.

Global temperatures ebb and flow on a yearly basis but in a much longer term scale there is a definite rise in global temperatures. According to both the Met Office and NASA the first decade of the 21st century was the warmest on record and previous to that it was the 1990s. The phenomenon of short term cooling does not disprove global warming.

The Mail also misrepresented a statement from climate scientist Judith Curry, and used a quote she does not recall ever having given, in its argument. In the time since, she has come out criticising the Mail for twisting her statement and misconstruing her views.

This story offers an insight into the much wider problem of climate change misrepresentation throughout all media. A report by the Union of Concerned Scientists found evidence that, over a period of six months, 93% of Fox News’s representation of climate change was wrong.

This problem is not one restricted to just Fox News, however, and appears to have infected other arms of News Corp. The report also implicates the opinion section of the Wall Street Journal. The broadsheet newspaper is widely regarded as being part of the ‘quality press’ and so not expected to fall foul of scientific misunderstanding.

Peter Hitchens demonstrated the problem clearly when he claimed the greenhouse effect “probably doesn’t exist”, and there is “no evidence” to suggest it does. Despite there being general consensus by the scientific community since the mid 19th century the greenhouse effect exists, Hitchens, Peter Hitchens, Mail on Sunday columnist, felt himself qualified to refute that.

Part of the problem is that the vast complexity of climate change (of which global warming is a constituent part) means a lot of data can easily be misrepresented, giving rise to data being twisted for ideological purposes.

A famous example of this occurring is the 2007 TV documentary “The Great Global Warming Swindle”. The premise of this programme was that global temperature variations were not in fact a result of the increase in the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide, but rather due to radiation from the sun.

The documentary came under immense criticism after broadcast, including from scientists whose work was referenced in the programme, whose research was represented in a selective and ideological fashion by the controversial film maker Mark Durkin.

The documentary went entirely against the scientific grain.

This leads us onto a disturbing fact - that it is incredibly easy to be entirely wrong and yet still be successful in pursuit of an ideological point. Whilst President George W Bush was in office there was a memo leaked on how to politically handle climate change. Instead of pursuing climate change denial, the official line instead encouraged Republicans to muddy the water. Expressing concerns about the science behind climate change and claiming there was ’serious doubt’ were the lynchpins of this tactic.

It is worrying to think we live in a world where one of the most important issues of our time is twisted and used for ideological reasons, by politicians and press, seriously damaging our understanding and awareness of such a grave problem.

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  • mememine

    Wanna lose an
    election for sure? Then just keep threatening the voter’s kids with CO2 deaths.

    *In three debates so far, Obama hasn’t mentioned climate
    change once.

    *Obama has not mentioned the crisis in the last two State of
    the Unions addresses.

    *Occupywallstreet does not even mention CO2 in its list of demands
    because of the bank-funded carbon trading stock markets run by corporations.

    *Julian Assange is of course a climate change denier.

    *Canada killed Y2Kyoto with a freely elected climate change
    denying prime minister and nobody cared, especially the millions of scientists
    warning us of unstoppable warming (a comet hit).

    *Not one single IPCC warning of crisis isn’t peppered with
    “maybes” and “could bes” etc.

    *Help my house is on fire maybe? But you lab coats said we
    are at the brink of no return, maybe?

    *Climate Change Science and its 26 years of needless panic
    is the new Reefer Madness.

  • Leslie Graham

    Just in case you hadn’t already guessed the obvious “mememine” is a paid climate thread troll who repeatedly spams gish gallops of thousand-times-falsified nonsense to every climate change thread on the net.

  • Newsbot9

    It doesn’t even rhyme.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/David-Kay/100000559247894 David Kay

    Kyoto, not that much difference between Obama and Bush.

    I think the real question on global warming is how much *net* harm. Google azolla event, google PETM, and look for yourself on whether a planet so much warmer is for sure a disaster or whether bigger disaster was cooling to closer to modern temp, in regards to sea life, modern mammals, etc.

    When we have unusual cold or warm weather that is supposedly both evidence of harm of global warming. No mention of how for example net amount of rain has increased in last 100 years in australia and canada according to official goverment statistic web sites, that anyone can query. Counting one side (harm) while ignoring other side (benefits) is also a form of deliberate scientific fraud, see carl sagan baloney detector test. If one did that sort of fraud in stock market then minimum of fines, and likely jail.

    I suggest do same in science as stock market. If any side is deliberately misleading on pros verses cons then they should be held accountable.

    Boy who cries wolf on wrong disaster contributes to all the death and destruction of real disaster.

    In my opinion too much politics here. In last election in Canada the most left wing party NDP proposed getting rid of tax on heating oil which would increase CO2 and polution. The most right wing party instead said do eco-credits for better insulation. I could not find a single group who cared about “global warming” who was critical of NDP or praised conservative policy in this case. However in reverse situations, where they could criticise conservatives they did. In conclusion it seemed that this issue is 90%+ partisan politics, and no real caring how many billions of people will die as result.

    IF global warming turns into net benefit, and instead for example the dna tinkering turns into a “invasive species” that kills much of humans and other life on earth (eg a yeast that can turn cellulose to alcohol directly to help “stop global warming”, thousands of scientists right now try to do this), and the writer of this story could guess at the real chances of each sort of disaster but for political reasons only focus on what helps his political side, then the writer of this stories hands would be covered in blood, he should carry share of guilt for the death of billion+ people including his own children

  • Newsbot9

    “Benefits”? Change is costly. Even if the net effect is good, there will be trillions spent adapting in the medium term. Moreover, that assumes the change stops. Ongoing change has ongoing costs, and positive feedback cycles means this is a real risk.

    “I suggest do same in science as stock market. If any side is
    deliberately misleading on pros verses cons then they should be held
    accountable.”

    For one thing, they’re not. The damaging trades are usually rolled back. And how many of the bankers responsible for the disasters have been prosecuted? You’re suggesting jail for people who are doing their jobs as scientists, of course, so you can silence opposition to your position.

    And you’re trying to end science because it might harm your economic position, and by your own logic you should be executed for the damage this causes.

  • mememine

    Help, an oil exec is stuffing my pockets with cash and holding a gun to my head and telling me what to think and type? I’m just a former believer like everyone else.

  • mememine

    Deny This:

    *In three debates so far, Obama hasn’t planned to mention
    climate change once.

    *Obama has not mentioned the crisis in the last two State of
    the Unions addresses.

    *Occupywallstreet does not even mention CO2 in its list of
    demands because of the bank-funded carbon trading stock markets run by
    corporations.

    *Julian Assange is of course a climate change denier.

    *Canada killed Y2Kyoto with a freely elected climate change
    denying prime minister and nobody cared, especially the millions of scientists
    warning us of unstoppable warming (a comet hit).

    Want to lose an election for sure? Then just keep
    threatening the voter’s kids with CO2 deaths.

    *Citizen Journalist

  • Newsbot9

    Yes, you keep denying science exists, in your copy/pasted statements. Are you paid by the post?

    Ohnoes, a topic wasn’t mentioned. It can’t exist. Wait, it can. You;re the one threatening people, of course, if they dare mention science then you’ll go on a propaganda offensive for your paymasters against them. Can’t have science interring with profits now!

    That you mention Assange, a narcissist criminal who is destroying the very work he supposedly advocates, is typical of your mis-steps.

  • Newsbot9

    So, you believed in what? The tooth fairy? As usual, completely irrelevant to your shilling. And you keep claiming to be “everyone else”, a false appeal to popularism, at a time when awareness and acknowledgement of AGCC is rising in America.

    No wonder your paymasters are desperate.

  • hidethedecline

    Daily Mail must be punished. They shouldn’t be allowed to refer to the recent Hadley center data which correctly show that there has been no statistical warming for over 15 years.
    Nor should YOU talk about it, either!
    Keep your mouth shut because the global warming industrial complex, the MSM and the climate scientists depend on your continued support.
    Thank you for your understanding of the precarious situation of the climate industry!

  • Leslie Graham

    Oh perleeze. You are not ‘a former believer’ (whatever that is). You are a pernicious ‘concern troll’ – and an obvious and incompetant one at that.
    You spam dozens of block and paste gish gallops of long-debunked and falsified nonsense all over the web under several different names from your grotty little home in Niagara Falls. I know your real name.
    Wherever possible I report you to the mods as a spammer and inform genuine posters as to what you are about.
    If you genuinely want a ‘debate’ – which you clearly don’t – you could try posting a cite to just one single peer-reviewed research paper published by a reputable climate scientist that shows compelling evidence that AGW is not occurring.
    Just one single paper. Anything at all.
    But you won’t – because you can’t. All you have is is smears, innuendo and blatant lies.
    You have been well and truly rumbled.

  • P Jones

    The global temperature has risen by 0.75 C in 100 years. The last interglacial (the Eemian) was much warmer than today. There is no evidence that the recent rise in temperatures is solely or mainly due to CO2 forcing. It could be mainly natural – with a small anthropogenic signal. We just don’t know yet.

    The science isn’t ‘settled’. The science wasn’t settled on Newton’s gravity, isn’t settled on Einstein’s relativity and certainly isn’t settled on ‘catastrophic’ global warming.

  • P Jones

    “According to both the Met Office and NASA the first decade of the 21st century was the warmest on record and previous to that it was the 1990s.”

    This is patently false. The temperature record goes back many millions of years, for most of which, the temperature has been warmer than now.

    If they mean the thermometer based record they should say so. But considering the thermometer was only invented in the last part of the thousand year temperature cycle – it hardly helps.

  • P Jones

    “A famous example of this occurring is the 2007 TV documentary “The Great Global Warming Swindle”. The premise of this programme was that global temperature variations were not in fact a result of the increase in the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide, but rather due to radiation from the sun.”

    which is actually research in progress. look at the CLOUD experiments at CERN where they are looking at solar modulated cosmic rays and their cloud seeding effects.

  • M Mann

    the climate has always changed. a warmer world is probably better overall. adaptation doesn’t really cost. you just adapt. that might be growing a different crop or not building a house on a flood plain.

    there is no real evidence for large positive feedbacks. the earth has spent most of it’s existence far warmer than the present. there were no runaway effects. who’s to say an antarctica free of ice isn’t something to celebrate? it would take thousands of years anyway. each generation would just see something they regard as normal. with such slow changes it just doesn’t really matter.

  • Newsbot9

    “Probably”. Ah yes, a lovely weasel word. Shame about the damage, and if it isn’t? Well, tough.

    Adaptation costs are measured in trillions of course, in reality.

    “it would take thousands of years anyway.”

    Decades. You’re basically in denial, and trying to say it’s all good. You’re deliberately blind to the costs, trying to avoid them.

    This is why I favour an ecology tax structured like VAT.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/7B7XOZEGR772RVOS3RE5DW5BP4 Brian

    Weasel word indeed. There’s ‘probably’ man made global warming…better tax everyone.

  • M Mann

    you think antarctica is going to melt in decades? a slab of ice 4 miles thick and a few thousand miles wide is going to melt because the temperature has increased from -20 to -19 C.

    adaptation is free. it is just having appropriate behaviour.

    “deep-frying the biosphere” – by 0.75 C over the last 100 years! you lot really are nutters!

  • Newsbot9

    Ah yes, that EVIL science. Why, next it’ll tell you that you can’t use disbelief as a reason to fly.

  • Newsbot9

    So, you disbelieve Evoloution then, since it has a significantly smaller base of support (Some 94%) among biologists than AGCC among climate scientists (Over 99%)

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