The Mainstream Media's Criminal Climate Coverage

The mainstream media is failing us when it comes to covering the story of the century - man-made climate change. And, as Media Matters has reported, there’s no better example of this failure than the decline of climate coverage at Reuters since that news organization hired Paul Ingrassia as deputy editor-in-chief. Ingrassia, who is now a managing editor at Reuters, is a self-described “climate skeptic,” and questions whether or not climate change is man-made.

Denying climate is absolutely insane. The UN’s Intergovernmental Report on Climate Change is a consensus document, meaning that 100 percent of the people who worked on it agreed with its findings. The IPCC’s authors are the top climate scientists on earth, and they say that burning fossil fuels causes climate change.

In light of this sort of scientific consensus, denying climate change is about sensible as believing that a shape-shifting reptile Illuminati controls the world. In fact, in terms of pure percentages, there are more who people believe in a shape-shifting reptile Illuminati than there are scientists who deny climate change.

But apparently Ingrassia is perfectly comfortable with his crazy ideas. So comfortable, in fact, that he’s been pushing them on the writers who work under him. According to Media Matters, which has just released a report on climate change coverage under Ingrassia, the so-called “skeptic” has used his position at the top of Reuters’ editorial team to both suppress actual climate coverage and, at the same time, give undue attention to climate change deniers.

Former Reuters Asia Climate Change reporter John Fogarty talked about what it was like to work for Ingrassia in a recent blog post:

“From very early in 2012, I was repeatedly told that climate and environment stories were no longer a top priority for Reuters and I was asked to look at other areas....Progressively, getting any climate change-themed story published got harder. It was a lottery…By mid-October, I was informed that climate change just wasn't a big story for the present, but that it would be if there was a significant shift in global policy….Very soon after that conversation I was told my climate change role was abolished.”

Fogarty also said in the same blog post that Ingrassia flat-out told him at a company function that he was a climate skeptic, but not a “rabid” one. You know, because there’s a rational way to deny established scientific fact. But Ingrassia’s assault on global warming coverage hasn’t just involved censoring journalists who report on climate issues. According Media Matters and the Columbia Journalism Review, since he was hired, reporters have “felt pressure to provide false balance when writing stories” on climate change. In other words, Ingrassia is making his journalists treat so-called climate skeptics as if they are one half of a really complicated debate when they are really just a small, crazy, and almost always bought-and-paid-for minority.

Evidence of this kind of false balance is easy to find. For example, one recent Reuters article discussing John Kerry’s comments about climate change being “the world’s most fearsome weapon of mass destruction” included a sentence that said “some skeptics argue that a rise in global temperatures is due to natural variability or other non-human factors.”

Would Reuters ever publish an article about the discovery of a new Neandarthal skeleton that included a sentence calling into question the theory of evolution? No, they wouldn’t, because giving creationism equal footing with science is crazy. And giving climate change “skepticism” equal footing with climate science is just as crazy.

Reuters is - or was, it seems - one of the most reputable news agencies in the world. Under Paul Ingrassia, however, it’s entered Fox News territory. During his two years in the organization’s editorial team, climate change coverage has been cut in half. And what coverage there has been has been infected with the plague of “false-balance.”

But the problem of climate change coverage isn’t just a Reuters problem. The entire mainstream media is failing us when it comes to covering climate change. Media Matters has also looked at how news outlets talked about the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s recent report on the causes of global warming and the results are staggering. Supposedly reputable papers like The New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, and The Washington Post quoted climate change deniers way out of proportion to their actual influence within the scientific community, which is pretty much nil.

Not surprisingly, things were even worse over at Fox So-Called News, where 69 percent of climate change guests brought on by Bill O’Reilly and friends to talk about the IPCC report were fringe deniers. And here’s the worst part of it all: the vast majority - 77 percent - of climate deniers quoted by or featured as guests by the mainstream media weren’t even scientists.

In light of what we know about global warming, about how it’s already destroying communities across the world, about how it is already literally killing tens of thousands of people, and about how it could lead to the Earth’s sixth mass extinction, it’s hard to see the mainstream’ media’s coverage - or lack thereof - of climate change as anything less than morally and ethically criminal.

If people don’t wake up to the dangers of warming atmosphere and melting polar ice caps soon, it could be game over for humankind. That’s why the media needs to stop treating climate change deniers like rational people and start treating them like what they are: whackos who are often the hired hands of the fossil fuel industry. A couple of months ago, The Los Angeles Times said that it would no longer publish letters from climate change deniers, because “Saying ‘there's no sign humans have caused climate change’ is not stating an opinion, it's asserting a factual inaccuracy.”

It’s time for the rest of the media to follow suit. All media outlets, TV, radio, print or otherwise should immediately stop publishing the factual inaccuracies of climate change deniers. The debate is over. Climate change is real, and it’s probably worse than we thought. It’s time for the mainstream media to tell it like it is and stop treating whacko theories like the truth. After all, the future of all life on Earth is at stake.

Comments

trueamericavet's picture
trueamericavet 7 years 39 weeks ago
#1

This is crazy I live in the west at 5500 Feet we should have 2 to 3 foot of snow. The March winds that melt the snow in past years are only blowing dust. People here still say thay climate change is a lie but soon they will have to admite it true when there is no water to drink.

delster's picture
delster 7 years 39 weeks ago
#2

I grew up in northwest Oregon. The Oregon Historical society Museum in downtown Portland has historical photos of people driving Model T's on a frozen Willamette River. In my own lifetime I have witnessed a significant change in weather. Don't need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows.

Call To Account's picture
Call To Account 7 years 39 weeks ago
#3

Sleazebag Paul Ingassia now corruptly perverting Reuters Climate change coverage just as his brother Lawrence Ingrassia corruptly perverted and whitewashed Wall Street coverage as chief of NY Times Biz section-- before tptb rewarded his journalistic mendacity by promoting him to Managing Editor, where he corruptly perverts still.

Aliceinwonderland's picture
Aliceinwonderland 7 years 39 weeks ago
#4

Thommmmm..... What do you expect from a corporate fascist "media"; the news?! From a climate-denying hack as editor-in-chief?!! When the crazies call the tune, we get looney tunes. Surprise!!! - AIW

BMetcalfe's picture
BMetcalfe 7 years 39 weeks ago
#5

We live at 750 ft. where in decades past, the skies were perpetually blue except in the Winter when we had normal rains. 1987 was the first year we stopped having Spring thunderstorms. Oh, it still rained some for the next 6 years, but one or 2 claps of thunder were the only claps we heard per season, after that. And it still holds true in the Northeastern foothills of Los Angeles. Then, to make matters worse, we began seeing giant Xs in the skies. Those soon were patterned across with silly streaks of non-legible skywriting which fanned out and took all the blue away, from horizon to horizon. Since the chemtrails began, our weather has gotten much more sultry in the Summers, and colder in the Winters. The air is heavy. It tastes of metal. Our bird bath gets a foul-smelling scum on top of the water and the birds won't touch it. Climate Change is very real, and as long as those planes fly leaving those ugly trails behind them, no amount of conservation will stop the climate from changing from bad to much worse. Mad-made? You betcha! Mother Nature's changes happen more slowly, as they occurred between 1987 and 1993. Noticeable, but not severe. So we've got natural accelerating Climate Change and man-made climate change, to boot. And still, people see only what they're told is real - by Fox News.

JohnLemessurier's picture
JohnLemessurier 7 years 39 weeks ago
#6

I really believe the writing is on the wall and debating first its existence and secondly whether humans are responsible is moot. Harder times are on the way and there is nothing we can do but to prepare. Those who keep their heads in the sand will not do well. Those who prepare for global climate catastrophe... might do worse.

2950-10K's picture
2950-10K 7 years 39 weeks ago
#7

If only the Koch's could find a way to put sunlight and wind into a god damn pipeline..... then it just might become possible to start a reversal of the damage out of control citizens like them have caused our fragile planet. I'm sorry, but the combustion gasoline engine should have become obsolete decades ago....it's the power of the god almighty dollar and it's hold on their twisted little minds perpetuating this insane reliance on fossil fuels. These scoundrels can't figure out how to "FREE MARKET" green energy yet...but once they do in fact figure out how to bogart wind and solar..they sure as hell will sell it back to us at feudal profit margins. We need to not wait, green energy needs to be nationalized now, we the people own the wind and sun....stop the madness of the few.

Aliceinwonderland's picture
Aliceinwonderland 7 years 39 weeks ago
#8

Points well taken, 10K! Except for one thing. Even a pipeline for sunlight & wind would not resolve the issue of eminent domain for those unlucky enough to own land in the path of the goddam pipeline.

A few weeks ago on his radio show, Thom told how auto engines came to be run on fossil fuel. Soon after the automobile was invented, Mr. Ford wanted to run engines on alcohol. But Rockefellar, who had a huge investment in fossil fuel, had other plans. He bullied Mr. Ford with threats, even threatening him with bodily harm, if he didn't design his engines for oil instead of alcohol. So now thanks to Rockefucker, we have pipelines and eminent domain and fracking and mountains blasted to smithereens, and poisoned water supplies, and catastrophic oil spills and cancer and wars fought over oil and global warming. Thanks a bloody heap.

- Aliceinwonderland

700101erw's picture
700101erw 7 years 39 weeks ago
#9

When you said “100 percent of the people who worked on it agreed with its findings,”
you must be unaware of problems with the IPCC’s 1995 report which was altered by the “political” leaders at the IPCC after the scientists “had accepted the supposedly final text.” The article referenced below is by Dr. Frederick Seitz, a man of impeccable scientific credentials, who was president of both the National Academy of Sciences and the American Physical Society. See the following article for further details:

A Major Deception On Global Warming

by Frederick Seitz; Editorial Page June 12, 1996
The Wall Street Journal Interactive Edition

this article is now available at:

http://www.odlt.org/dcd/docs/Seitz%20-%20A%20Major%20Deception%20on%20Global%20Warming.pdf

Palindromedary's picture
Palindromedary 7 years 39 weeks ago
#10

"Background Monitoring on Non-Jailbroken iOS 7 Devices — and a Mitigation February 24, 2014 | By Min Zheng, Hui Xue and Tao Wei | Mobile Threats, Threat Intelligence, Threat Research, Vulnerabilities" http://www.fireeye.com/blog/technical/2014/02/background-monitoring-on-n... This was also talked about on the latest episode #444 of Security Now. They also talked about the recent Apple security bug called the "goto fail" bug. You can go to (no pun intended) http://gotofail.com to fix the problem if you have an Apple. The extra line of code..the double "goto fail;" in the C code caused any certificate to pass as valid. ie: "https" would not be secure and you'd never know it. There is some speculation that this code error was so blazingly obvious to even noob programmers and would even be flagged in most IDEs as errors and the fact that it occurred at the exact same time that Apple signed on with NSA Prism program in 2012... that this might have been intentional. But, it "looks" like an accident..a preceding "if" statement might have been deleted without also deleting the "goto fail;" statement. I'll bet the NSA has a million of them! <;-{|||} ha! ha! ha! You can also go to https://www.grc.com/sn/sn-444-notes.pdf for the show notes that gives several web sites including the goto.com web site I mentioned before.

Palindromedary's picture
Palindromedary 7 years 39 weeks ago
#11

700101erw: What do you expect from a tobacco industry consultant (RJ Reynolds Tobacco Company)? "4 out of 5 doctors recommend smoking Camels"? cough-cough-spit-spit-wheeze-wheeze!!!

"Seitz questioned the view that CFCs "are the greatest threat to the ozone layer".[25] In the same paper, commenting on the dangers of secondary inhalation of tobacco smoke, he concluded "there is no good scientific evidence that passive inhalation is truly dangerous under normal circumstances."[26]"

"In the late 1970s, Seitz also parted company with his scientific colleagues on questions of nuclear preparedness. Seitz was committed to "a muscular military strengthened by the most technologically advanced weaponry", while the scientific community generally supported arms limitations talks and treaties. Seitz was also ardently anti-communist and his support for aggressive weapons programs was a reflection of this.[34]"

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Frederick_Seitz

Aliceinwonderland's picture
Aliceinwonderland 7 years 39 weeks ago
#12

HAH! Way to go, PD! After all, we must always consider the source! - AIW

Palindromedary's picture
Palindromedary 7 years 39 weeks ago
#13

:-)

Howard Laverne Stewart's picture
Howard Laverne ... 7 years 39 weeks ago
#14

The new York times could get the ball rolling on educating the masses about climate change.

Aliceinwonderland's picture
Aliceinwonderland 7 years 39 weeks ago
#15

All depends on who owns the NY Times. I hate to be a cynic, but I wouldn't hold my breath.

Thom's Blog Is On the Move

Hello All

Today, we are closing Thom's blog in this space and moving to a new home.

Please follow us across to hartmannreport.com - this will be the only place going forward to read Thom's blog posts and articles.

From Cracking the Code:
"No one communicates more thoughtfully or effectively on the radio airwaves than Thom Hartmann. He gets inside the arguments and helps people to think them through—to understand how to respond when they’re talking about public issues with coworkers, neighbors, and friends. This book explores some of the key perspectives behind his approach, teaching us not just how to find the facts, but to talk about what they mean in a way that people will hear."
Paul Loeb, author of Soul of a Citizen
From Screwed:
"If we are going to live in a Democracy, we need to have a healthy middle class. Thom Hartmann shows us how the ‘cons’ have wronged this country, and tells us what needs to be done to reclaim what it is to be American."
Eric Utne, Founder, Utne magazine
From The Thom Hartmann Reader:
"Thom Hartmann seeks out interesting subjects from such disparate outposts of curiosity that you have to wonder whether or not he uncovered them or they selected him."
Leonardo DiCaprio, actor, producer, and environmental activist