More Biased Journalism Could Stop Global Warming, Journalist Says

     Just when you thought the media couldn’t be any more egregious than they already were with their reporting when it comes global warming, they’ve taken it to an all-time low.


     Longtime Editor & Publisher columnist Steve Outing is calling on newspapers to abandon objective reporting when it comes to the issue of climate change – instead, to use their power for advocacy.


     “I’ve also been thinking about the newspaper industry and global warming. And frankly, I don't think newspapers are doing enough,” Outing wrote. “Indeed, newspapers’ fabled commitment to ‘objectivity’ has been a detriment to efforts to combat global warming.”


     That’s really a frightening thing to see in a trade journal about the nuances of journalism. But it’s not terribly surprising considering media coverage of climate change has flip-flopped for decades between global warming and global cooling, with equal intensity.


     And plenty of journalists are ahead of Outing, as they have taken to likening anyone who disagrees with them to Holocaust “deniers.”


     Take Newsweek’s August story about the “denial machine,” its name for those who dare question massive policy changes based on global warming fearmongering. It was so over the top that Newsweek ran a column by Robert Samuelson calling out the reporters in its very next issue.


     “Unfortunately, self-righteous indignation can undermine good journalism,” Samuelson wrote.


     But that’s what Outing advocated – pursuing whatever journalists deem righteous.


     “The industry still has a lot of power to influence people,” wrote Outing. “How about if newspapers abandon their old way of doing things when it comes to the issue of global warming, and turn their influence to good? It just might be that through this issue alone, newspapers revive themselves to some extent. Editors are shirking their responsibility to improve our world, in my view, so let's change that.”


     Outing wrote that he failed to see how this could be controversial, “except to fringe groups who inevitably will paint it as ‘liberal conspiracy.’”


     Well, it would require journalists to throw out the Society of Professional Journalists Code of Ethics, which is already scarce in climate coverage. Among its stated principles, journalists are supposed to:


    Distinguish between advocacy and news reporting. Support the open exchange of views, even views they find repugnant. Examine their own cultural values and avoid imposing those values on others.