Snowbound Networks Devote 17+ Minutes to Climate Change

In month of brutal cold, heavy snows and snowiest February for Boston, nets maintain warming obsession.

Just a year after The New York Times Sunday Review piece warned of “The End of Snow?,” the East Coast was once again bracing for frigid temperatures and a major snowfall.

The winter storm that struck on President’s Day dumped a foot of snow in parts of Virginia, 4.1 inches near the White House, and 7 inches in Cape May, N.J. Boston braced for more snow, on top of its “snowiest February on record,” according to The Week. The city was already collapsing under the 58.5 inches of snow it got. A ski resort in Carlisle, Mass., had to close from too much snow. Ironic, given the Times’ warning that resorts “may no longer be viable in 30 years” because warming would reduce snow.

Network anchors and reporters know it is difficult to convince viewers that global warming and climate change is a threat in the middle of winter, yet they keep at it. Disgraced NBC news anchor Brian Williams said it is “difficult to reconcile in the dead of winter,” when he reported on Jan. 16, the misleading claim that 2014 was the warmest year on record.

That report was one of many in the past month. Between Jan. 16, and Feb. 16, the broadcast network morning and evening news programs spent a combined total of 17 minutes and 12 seconds of airtime discussing climate change or global warming. In a “Today” show discussion of Boston’s struggle with snow, Al Roker lashed out at those he called “global warming naysayers” who would use the massive snowfall to ask “where’s your global warming now?”

All three broadcast networks aired reports mentioning the NASA and NOAA claims that 2014 was the warmest year on record, despite scientists who showed it was “statistically meaningless.” It turned out that there was only a 48 percent chance 2014 was actually the warmest on record, based on NOAA’s own data. NASA’s probability was even less: just 38 percent.

Between Jan. 16, and Feb. 16, the networks also mentioned climate change was on President Barack Obama’s national security agenda, and ran at least two stories about his efforts to persuade India to lower its greenhouse gas emissions.

With the exception of Roker’s rant about “global warming naysayers,” none of the stories mentioning climate change or global warming were about the snowstorms or deep freeze. But elsewhere, climate alarmists have tried to blame the winter weather on global warming.

Scientists including Dr. Roy Spencer of the University of Huntsville, Ala., disagreed.

Spencer compared observed precipitation in Boston to forecasts from computer models and found winters becoming dryer: “The following plot shows that the observed total January precipitation in Boston has actually decreased since the 1930′s, contrary to the average “projections” (in reality, hindcasts) from a total of 42 climate models, at the closest model gridpoint to Boston.”

He also pointed out, “What is very evident is the huge amount of natural variability from year to year, as Bostonians are well aware. It’s just weather, folks. Blaming everything on “climate change” is just plain lazy.”

In February 2014, the Times published an article by Porter Fox of Powder Magazine, who claimed that ski resorts were in danger from global warming. Fox used that platform to demand a “national policy shift” to “slow global warming to a safe level.” In his view, the threat of warming was “no longer a scientific debate.”

— Julia A. Seymour is Assistant Managing Editor for MRC Business at the Media Research Center. Follow Julia A. Seymour on Twitter.