ABC’s Warming Alarmism Grows Cold

‘Nightline’ surprises with story on global cooling.

In a surprising turn, ABC’s “Nightline” consulted a scientist who thinks the world is in a period of global cooling.

“Nightline” strayed from the networks’ fixation on global warming on Jan. 29, instead running a story with one scientist’s warning of a new ice age. It was the first network program to mention “global cooling” in at least four years.

ABC interviewed Piers Corbyn, an astrophysicist and man-made climate change skeptic,  who predicted a new ice age. Corbyn said “We are now at the early stages of a mini ice age.”

Corbyn continued to explain the cooling trend in terms of solar activity, rather than carbon emissions, saying that there are “particles coming from the sun, guided by magnetic fields. And they enter the polar regions of the Earth. And then they, in fact, move the jet stream.” He also predicted “Big extremes with very, very cold air at times. And this type of thing is going to continue for some decades.”

Nick Watt, reporting for ABC’s “Nightline,” connected Corbyn’s predictions to the extreme cold weather in the southern United States. Watt asked “why is it 16 below and snowing in Atlanta? It’s warmer in Anchorage, Alaska tonight. And why are cars skidding all over icy roads in Austin, Texas?”

“Nightline” also interviewed NASA climatologist Gavin Schmidt who strongly disagreed with Corbyn’s predictions and insulted his views. While Schmidt pointed out that snow and low temperatures were not unheard of in the South, a point that Watt agreed with, he completely dismissed Corbyn’s research on the subject.

Schmidt said, “There’s been a whole bunch of people in history who say they can predict the weather through phases of the moon, fluctuations of the sun, the entrails of their chickens.” An outspoken climate alarmist, Schmidt has a long history of bashing climate skeptics, comparing them to McCarthyites and people who believe the earth is flat.

Adopting a mocking tone towards both men at times, Watt’s report seemed more like an attempt at the “Daily Show” than a serious news story. Before introducing Corbyn, Watt called him “A controversial long-range forecaster who works out of London’s messiest office.” In addition, he challenged Schmidt’s assertions saying “All right then, Mr. NASA” before asking about the freezing storms in the South.

Although “Nightline” was the first network program to tackle the issue in years, the foreign press has already been interviewing scientists about global cooling. The BBC reported in October 2013 that Reading University’s Professor Mike Lockwood has argued that a decline in sun activity is contributing to global cooling. Similarly, the Daily Mail (UK) reported that Richard Harrison, of the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory, argued that changes in solar activity are leading to colder weather.

Notably, this is not some obscure finding. It was also reported by both the Daily Caller and the liberal Huffington Post. The broadcast networks, on the other hand, paid no attention to these findings before Tuesday’s “Nightline.” The Media Research Center’s Business and Media Institute (BMI) examined network broadcasts, including morning, evening, Sunday, and magazine shows over the past three years finding absolutely no coverage of research into global cooling.

Of course, the media tends to alternate their climate alarmism between warming and cooling hysteria. In 2010, a BMI Special Report analyzed The New York Times and Time Magazine’s coverage of climate change as far back as 1895. This Special Report, Fire & Ice, found that the media alternated repeatedly during the 20th and early 21st century between predictions of a new ice age to fears of rising temperatures. 

— Sean Long is Staff Writer at the Media Research Center. Follow Sean Long on Twitter.