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Networks Stick to Warming Theme Despite Avalanche of Chilling News

March 4, 2009
Media Myth: Networks Stick to Warming Theme Despite Avalanche of Chilling News
Alarmists get snowed in for Washington, D.C. rally; networks mostly ignore signs of cooling temps, 'record' cold.

By Julia A. Seymour
Business & Media Institute
Global warming alarmists repeatedly link weather phenomena like tornadoes, hurricanes, ice melt, droughts and wildfires with global warming and the media embrace the stories. Yet, when cities or regions are buried in snow like the city of Chenzhou, China was in February 2008 there wasn't a word about climate change in the cooling direction.


"It is being called China's Hurricane Katrina," NBC anchor Brian Williams said on Feb. 4, 2008. "... the month of blizzards that have brought it [China] to a virtual standstill. Millions have been stranded. Hundreds of thousands of people are homeless." Williams didn't chalk up the devastation to global cooling, of course. That doesn't fit the media's warming narrative.

James Hansen, a leading global warming alarmist, promoted a "civil disobedience" protest at a Washington, D.C. coal power plant March 2. The protestors claim that coal - and its carbon emissions are a cause of global warming. Hansen and his friends were greeted with 8 inches of snow, "strong" winds and below freezing temperatures.

The same day, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and the House Select Energy Independence and Global Warming Chairman Edward Markey, D-Mass., both had to cancel appearances at another global warming event on Capitol Hill because of the snowy weather.

Those protests did not make the evening news programs on March 2. They may have been crowded out by coverage of the "epic" winter storm on all three networks - still there wasn't a single mention of a cooling cycle.

ABC, CBS and NBC haven't used the phrase "global cooling" at all since Jan. 1, 2008, despite many instances of "record cold," "record snow" and reports from scientists that the world has been cooling off slightly since 2000 or 2001, according to a Nexis search.

The term, "cooling trend," when used on the networks only referred to global climate twice. In both cases the phrase was used by Gov. Sarah Palin. A search for "cooling" and "climate" turned up 10 mentions, but only one example of the media reporting cooler temperatures.

Compare those figures to a Nexis search for "global warming" that yielded 336 hits between Jan. 1, 2008 and March 2, 2009. A search for "global warming" or "climate change" nabbed 571 hits during the same time.

Even in the midst of a major cold spell, ABC returned to the global warming stories. On March 3, 2009, the network continued to hype the idea that the North Pole will soon be ice-free, but ignored the fact that as of fall 2008 arctic ice caps had grown by 150,000 square miles.

Lows Can't Get Us Down

Even record low temperatures, record snowfalls and snow in odd places didn't stop the network media from worrying about the threat of global warming.

On Feb. 12, 2008, "Good Morning America" said that 32 states were experiencing record lows or nearly record lows. Las Vegas and Texas both had snow in December 2008, and in November 2008 North Carolina and Georgia were facing January temperatures.

Still, the networks remained virtually silent on the possibility of global cooling, and even kept up the drumbeat of global warming stories.

ABC's weather editor Sam Champion was the only person on three networks who mentioned a NASA report which said 2008 was the coldest year since 2000. But he was cautious:

"It feels like the coldest winter in years. And a report from NASA climate scientists says 2008 was the coolest year since 2000," Champion told "Good Morning America" viewers on Jan. 15. "But they caution this was caused in part by a cooling La Nina in the Pacific and warn global warming is still playing an important part in our changing climate."

On Inauguration Day 2009, as Washington, D.C. collectively shivered from the 28 degree temperature, plus a wind chill that made it feel like 18 degrees outside, NBC historian Michael Beschloss brought up the specter of "global warming."

Beschloss was discussing the inaugural parade and as the camera turned to President Barack Obama, First Lady Michelle Obama and their two children walking to the reviewing box, he described the scene: "And this wooden path that they're walking down actually dates to many previous inaugurations because a lot of them had snow. It may just be that because of global warming the last few have not." (Emphasis added)

Cool It

The fact is a number of studies and scientists have warned that the Earth might be in a cooling phase - despite the networks silence on the matter.

Meteorologist Joseph D'Aleo, the executive director of International Climate and Environmental Change Assessment Project (ICECAP), recently "quibbled" with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's (NOAA) data since 1880 which shows a spike in mean temperature.

D'Aleo told CNN anchor Lou Dobbs, "[I]f you look at the satellite data, which is the most reliable data, the best coverage of the globe - 2008 was the 14th coldest in 30 years. That doesn't jibe with the tenth warmest in 159 years in the Hadley data set or 113 or 114 years in the NOAA set."

Discovery News announced on March 2 that a new study from Geophysical Research Letters suggests "global warming may have hit a speed bump and could go into hiding for decades."

Kyle Swanson of the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee thinks the cooling trend could last up to 30 years, but cautioned that it would be a "hiccup" in the warming of the Earth according to Discovery News. "When the climate kicks back out of this state, we'll have explosive warming."

Atmospheric scientist William Gray has also said temperatures are dropping. Gray cited a "weak cooling trend since 2001," according to the Feb. 16 Barron's, and he predicted a "modest naturally driven global cooling over the next 15-20 years," similar to the 1940s to ‘70s.

Back in February 2008, Fox News anchor Brit Hume reported that "all four major global temperature tracking outlets have released data showing that temperatures have dropped significantly over the last year."

"California meteorologist Anthony Watts says the amount of cooling ranges from 65-hundredths of a degree Centigrade to 75-hundreds of a degree," Hume continued. "That is said to be a value large enough to erase nearly all the global warming recorded over the past 100 years. It is reportedly the single fastest temperature change ever recorded - up or down."

Clamming up for Cap-and-Trade

Despite the findings of scientists like D'Aleo, Swanson, Gray and Watts, the media ignore the possibility of a cooling trend just as government is poised to implement a green agenda.

Politicians in Washington stand ready to solve the "global warming" crisis by hiking energy prices with a cap-and-trade plan and further damaging a battered economy. President Obama himself called for a cap-and-trade program in his not-quite a State of the Union address Feb. 25.

Obama said, "To truly transform our economy, to protect our security, and save our planet from the ravages of climate change, we need to ultimately make clean, renewable energy the profitable kind of energy. So I ask this Congress to send me legislation that places a market-based cap on carbon pollution and drives the production of more renewable energy in America. That's what we need."

The president's budget plan released Feb. 26 even counted on the implementation of cap-and-trade to pay for his "Making Work Pay" tax credit, according to the Washington Post.

A cap-and-trade proposal like Obama's would come with tremendous costs and not only to taxpayers. Duke Energy Corp.'s CEO James Rogers told Bloomberg.com that Obama's plan would "increase electricity bills by as much as 40 percent in some U.S. states." Rogers is actually a proponent of cap-and-trade, but cited flaws in the president's plan which he termed "cap and tax" instead of "cap and trade."

The Wall Street Journal's eco-blog, "Environmental Capital," said that a previous cap-and-trade plan - Lieberman-Warner - could cost between "0.5% of GDP and about 2% of GDP by 2030." Obama's plan would also have a huge cost. According to U.S. News & World Report's James Pethokoukis Obama's plan would be a "de facto business tax" of roughly 20 percent on top of corporate tax rates - which are already the second highest in the world.

Iain Murray, Director of Projects and Analysis and a Senior Fellow for the Competitive Enterprise Institute, wrote about the consequences of global warming alarmism on CEI's Open Market blog March 2.

Murray mentioned a Johns Hopkins study that found "replacing ¾ of coal-based energy with higher priced energy would lead to 150,000 extra premature deaths annually in the US alone." He also cited a Congressional Budget Office report that found a cap-and-trade system would harm the poorest 20 percent of Americans while benefiting the wealthiest, and a Penn State study that found replacing coal power would cost 3-4 million jobs.

A Climate of Media Bias on Warming

It's no surprise that network journalists gave cooling claims the cold shoulder in 2008 and into 2009. After all, these are the same networks that continually shut out debate on the global warming.

In 2007, the Business & Media Institute looked at news media coverage of climate change and found alarmism stretching back 100 years. BMI's Special Report: Fire & Ice exposed the media's warnings about impending climate doom during four different times in the last century switching from worries over global cooling to warming to cooling to warming again.

Atmospheric physicist Dr. S. Fred Singer does not think cooling or warming cycles are something to worry about. In a 2000 PBS interview Singer said, "Climate change is a natural phenomenon. Climate keeps changing all the time. The fact that climate changes is not in itself a threat, because, obviously, in the past human beings have adapted to all kinds of climate changes."

In 2007, Singer directly addressed global warming, saying, "The current warming trend is simply part of a natural cycle of climate warming and cooling that has been seen in ice cores, deep-sea sediments, stalagmites, etc., and published in hundreds of papers in peer-reviewed journals."

BMI examined the climate change issue again in 2008 with its Special Report, Global Warming Censored, and found that the three networks had silenced the debate over global warming by favoring experts on one side of the issue. Global warming proponents overwhelmingly outnumbered those with dissenting opinions by 13-to-1. On CBS the radio was an abysmal 38-to-1.

Many of the scientists shut out by the network media will gather in New York City March 8-10, 2009 for the second International Conference on Climate Change, sponsored by the Heartland Institute.

The conference Web site describes the event as the "world's largest-ever gathering of global warming skeptics" with about "800 scientists, economists, legislators, policy activists, and media representatives" expected.

Some of the headlining speakers will be Vaclav Klaus, president of the Czech Republic and the European Union; astronaut and geologist Dr. Jack Schmitt; William Gray, famed hurricane forecaster and atmospheric scientist; Richard Lindzen, meteorology expert from MIT; Willie Soon, Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics; and Roy Spencer, a NASA research s

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