5 Cool Ways to Remind Senators How Biased Media Are on Climate

CEI’s Horner provides three key questions for journalists if they want a more detailed debate.

Two liberal senators that claim news networks don’t cover climate change enough are pressuring them to do more, even as a winter deep freeze kept much of the country shivering. But as the Media Research Center and others have already found, much of the news media have spent years working hard to convince the public that climate change is a global threat.

According to National Journal, Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., and Sen. Brian Schatz, D-Hawaii, members of the Senate Climate Action Task Force, are gathering signatures on a letter that complained the media had not spent enough time covering the issue on the Sunday news shows. The letter complained about the “absurdly short amount of time” the issue received on those shows. The senators called for the networks to “correct this oversight.”

The narrow examination of Sunday shows is misleading, since the broadcast networks, national print outlets and many other news outlets consistently warn about the threat of global warming or climate change. Such stories also ignore opposing views, as the Media Research Center’s Business and Media Institute and the bestselling author Christopher Horner have shown.

From hyperbolic claims about temperature rise, to a century of New York Times alarmism, here are just five examples from the MRC’s archive that prove the senators are wrong about the media’s bias on climate change:

  • Networks Ignore Global Warming Mission of Scientists on Ice-Trapped Ship: Near the end of 2013 and beginning of 2014, a boatful of climate scientists were trapped by thick Antarctic ice for eight days. While this incident received heavy broadcast attention, with 41 stories between Dec. 25 and Jan. 2, only one of those stories even mentioned the ship’s role in climate change research. Instead, the networks referred to them as “tourists” or “passengers,” ignoring the irony of the global warming alarmists being trapped in ice.

  • CBS Misleads Viewers with 200 Degrees Claim: Around the 2013 release of the UN IPCC report, CBS correspondent Ben Tracy said that oceans had absorbed much of the heat caused by CO2 and warned that temperatures could have risen “by more than 200 degrees” if the heat hadn’t been trapped in the ocean. Principal Research Scientist Dr. Roy Spencer of the University of Alabama in Huntsville told BMI: “[T]his is physically impossible. It is a meaningless statistic.”

  • Networks Censor Skeptics from Broadcasts: In a 2007 Special Report, BMI found global warming proponents overwhelmingly outnumbered those with dissenting opinions. On average for every skeptic there were nearly 13 proponents featured. ABC did a slightly better job with a 7-to-1 ratio, while CBS's ratio was abysmal at nearly 38-to-1.

  • 100 Years of Climate Bias from Print Media: Climate alarmism has been a journalistic tradition for over a century, stoking fears over both global warming and global cooling. In 2010, the MRC’s Business and Media Institute Special Report Fire & Ice chronicled climate change bias by the New York Times and Time Magazine, among other major print media, as far back as the 19th century presidency of Grover Cleveland. BMI found that the same publications which once hyped global cooling as “inevitable” are now promoting global warming.

Just as the Media Research Center’s Business and Media Institute has monitored and exposed bias on climate change for years, Christopher Horner, senior fellow at the Competitive Enterprise Institute, has also been keeping track. His bestselling 2008 book, “Red Hot Lies,” exposed the chronic climate bias of ABC, NBC, and CBS, as well as print outlets like The Washington Post and The New York Times.

Horner told the Business and Media Institute that if the media want to dig deeper into the issue rather than continue to promote alarmism, there are three main questions they should try to answer:

1. Given that the president stopped giving that speech telling Americans to examine Spain if they want to see how the “clean energy economy” works  -- by the way, why doesn’t he give that speech any more? -- where has it worked? 

Please be specific. A country’s name will do. And, if you could go ahead and explain why the rest of the world hasn’t noticed the miracle, too, that would be great.

2. If we ignore the ever-expanding body of countervailing evidence (“reality”), accept everything you say, and impose your carbon tax and replicate Spain’s economy and all of those other great ideas: will the temperature be any different? 

Are you aware that all of your climate models -- we call it a “consensus” -- say the temperature after cap-n-trade or a carbon tax would be whatever it would be without cap-n-trade, or a carbon tax? That nothing ever proposed would detectably impact climate, even accepting all of your assumptions, even the ones already proved wrong?

3. How many jobs are the right number to kill for no impact on climate? While I have you, same thing for, um, the right number of unnecessary deaths from energy poverty?

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