U.S., International Newsweek Editions Present Different Views of Warming

     In real estate, it’s “location, location, location.” Newsweek magazine’s April 16 issues show location also is a factor in what the media tell you about global warming. M.I.T. Prof. Richard Lindzen’s column poking holes in global warming dogma never appeared in the 3-million-plus-circulation American edition.

     The Lindzen column actually contradicted much of what was in the American edition. “Recently many people have said that the earth is facing a crisis requiring urgent action. This statement has nothing to do with science. There is no compelling evidence that the warming trend we've seen will amount to anything close to catastrophe,” wrote Lindzen.

     “What most commentators – and many scientists – seem to miss is that the only thing we can say with certainly about climate is that it changes,” he added.

     Instead, the U.S. edition led with a cover headline saying “Save the Planet – Or Else.” The front page photo showed California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger balancing a small globe on one finger. The issue highlighted “Arnold’s crusade” and featured more than 33 pages of global warming apocalypse – along with several pages of related ads.

     Newsweek International was a bit different. That issue led with a story called “The Way Forward” that emphasized learning to adapt to climate change. The international edition still hyped the dangers of rising global temperatures, but pointed out that, “in the short term,” there will be “winners and losers from climate change.”

     Along with Russia, Greenland and other northern nations, the United States will be fine, according to the article. “America and other rich nations will be left relatively unscathed, because they are removed from equatorial regions that will be hardest hit, and wealthy enough to adapt.”

     There was more. The subheading on the main article declared: “By government fiat or market force, humans will adapt, and that will bring opportunities as well as challenges.”

     Lindzen’s piece included a tagline explaining how his research has always been funded exclusively by the U.S. government. He receives no funding from any energy companies.” The U.S. edition included “Ideas for the Planet” from 12 people like Hollywood’s own Laurie David, environmental activist and producer of “An Inconvenient Truth,” and Thomas E. Lovejoy, Ph.D., but none of them included taglines about their funding.

     The U.S. issue was filled with the more typical media view of climate change – especially the “impending crisis” that Lindzen critiqued. That attitude was reinforced with a profile of “The Green Giant,” Schwarzenegger, who is “out to prove that environmentalism and hedonism can coexist,” wrote Karen Breslau.

     Other articles told readers that “It’s Hip to Be Green” (profiling young environmental activists); “Will Polar Bears Be OK?”(teaching climate change paranoia to the children) and the “12 Ideas for the Planet” (heck, Time magazine had 39 more).