Critics Decry 'One-Sided' Media
Coverage of Climate Change Debate
FoxNews. December 01, 2009. The mainstream media are abandoning
objective reporting and acting as full-time advocates for measures to
combat global warming, some media watchdogs say, accusing them of
pushing for a sweeping international agreement on climate change.
The mainstream media are abandoning objective reporting and acting as
full-time advocates for measures to combat global warming, some media
watchdogs say, accusing them of pushing for a sweeping international
agreement on climate change.
As President Obama prepares to travel to Copenhagen, Denmark, to attend
an international conference on climate change scheduled for Dec. 7-18,
the media are already "out in front of the administration" in pushing a
liberal agenda, says Dan Gainor, vice president for business and culture
at the Media Research Center.
"There's no more clear religion in the mainstream media than the
religion of global warming," Gainor told FoxNews.com.
"It's gone from being a situation where there was some debate, to now
there's almost none," Gainor said. "You can't say anything that even
raises the question that there might not be real science here. That's
not what journalism is supposed to do."
Obama, who will arrive in Copenhagen on Dec. 18, plans to unveil a
10-year plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the U.S. by 17
percent below 2005 levels. The president will also take up a 181-page
draft treaty proposed by the United Nations that calls on
representatives from 170 countries to establish sweeping measures to
reduce emissions and combat climate change.
And the mainstream media are hopping aboard the bandwagon, critics say.
"The media already accept the theory of manmade global warming, so their
modus operandi will be -- let's come to an agreement on reducing energy,
either through taxes or restrictions," Cliff Kincaid, editor for
Accuracy in Media, told FoxNews.com.
"The coverage is so one-sided," Kincaid said. "It seems to me the media
have an obligation to read the (treaty) and tell us what's in it.
"Many in the media don't want to hear that. If they would bother to read
the treaty, they would report that there are numerous proposals for
global taxes. I don't think those are going to go over too well with the
But other media watchdogs say journalists are not biased on the issue.
They say they are simply representing the facts offered by the majority
of the scientific community.
"Journalists are not scientists -- they do not have an extensive
background in cutting-edge science," says Jim Naureckas, editor of
Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting.
"It seems to me that you have to defer to scientists on scientific
questions, and get their take on what's going on," Naureckas told
"You're dealing with very serious issues here. If one accepts that
scientists generally know what they're talking about on the topics
they're studying -- then you're dealing with an oncoming global
"It's clear there is a scientific consensus on global warming that is
quite compelling," Naureckas said.
But critics say the mainstream journalists are ignoring the other side.
Gainor pointed to what he said was the media's inattention to the
scandal dubbed "Climate-gate," a series of e-mails made public recently
after computer hackers obtained messages from the Climate Research Unit
at the University of East Anglia in England.
In some of the e-mails, scientists appear to discuss hiding or deleting
data that contradicts global warming claims. Some explicitly admit to
hiding data that would indicate a global cooling trend rather than a
rise in global temperatures.
"This is a story of global importance, involving potentially enormous
scandal. Other than a little bit of print coverage, the mainstream media
has made no comment," Gainor told FoxNews.com.
"I would like a genuine, legitimate, scientific inquiry before we spend
billions or trillions of dollars," Gainor said.
Dan Amundson, research director for the nonpartisan Center for Media and
Public Affairs, says the media has given less coverage to the climate
change debate than other heated issues such as health care reform or
foreign policy. But he says there seems to be a pattern of support for
"some type of international agreement and taking concrete steps about
"While global warming critics get more airtime and coverage than
environmentalists would like, they are a small part of coverage over the
years," Amundson said.
The majority of Americans believe that climate change is occurring and
that it is a serious problem, (But the majority don't believe the change
is occurring only by human causes - The earth has had many periods of
warming and cooling during its existence*) according to a Washington
Post-ABC News poll from Nov. 25, 2009.
*Note by editor.