Obama Tweets Study Of 97% Scientific Consensus On Manmade Warming, WashPost Confused On What That Means

The story seems simple enough.

First, on Wednesday a study came out that found 97% consensus on human-caused global warming in the peer-reviewed scientific literature. It was by our friends at Skeptical Science, John Cook and Dana Nuccitelli.

Then on Thursday, President Obama tweeted the study to his 31,000,000 (!) followers:

So how does the ever-shrinking Washington Post report the story? With the headline, “Obama tweet gets Australian researcher 31.5 million followers on Twitter.” #FAIL

And just to be clear that the WashPost is in fact as confused and innumerate as their headline suggests, the story asserts:

That tweet, according to the Sydney Morning Herald, led 31,541,507 people to decide to follow Australian climate change researcher John Cook on Twitter.

The Herald didn’t, however, make such a transparently silly claim. Their headline read, “Obama gives Aussie researcher 31,541,507 reasons to celebrate.”

Ten seconds on the interwebs will reveal that Cook has 6,560 followers. But then we’ve suspected for a while that the Washington Post doesn’t employ any fact checkers. Nor does it have a single editor who understood enough about social media to realize instantly that the headline — and hence the story — must be wrong.

No wonder the MSM is collapsing in the face of the new media onslaught. Note: As of Saturday morning, the story is still uncorrected.

32 Responses to Obama Tweets Study Of 97% Scientific Consensus On Manmade Warming, WashPost Confused On What That Means

  1. Raul M. says:

    I hope the President Obama has a understanding campaign group ready to help people accept the realities of the situation

  2. Jeff Huggins says:

    Joe, the larger story — or rather question — for our purposes is this: Obama clearly “knows”, and takes the time to tweet, the scientific consensus re climate change. But does he realize that his own inaction regarding climate change, his relative silence about it (most of the time), his shyness about it, his “all of the above” energy strategy, his seeming support of Keystone XL, and other related factors are among the largest factors undermining the public’s understanding and the public’s will to take climate change seriously — that is, to the point of actually doing something about it? Put another way, if Obama truly “gets” the fact that climate change is a huge problem that must be dealt with, he apparently doesn’t “get” the fact that his own actions (and inaction) confuse and ultimately undermine that message.

    I’d enjoy reading your thoughts on the recent news that, once again, the Obama Administration will be significantly delaying its Keystone XL decision; and your thoughts on the recent Arctic Strategy published by the Administration.



  3. Michael Crumpton says:

    The way Obama acts, you would think that he does not know he is the POTUS. He makes statements like this tweet, but does nothing to accomplish his stated goals, as though he is waiting for somebody else to do his job.

    The only time Obama really gets on board is after the train is already leaving the station.

  4. Mike Roddy says:

    I agree, Jeff and Michael. It’s one thing for Obama to acknowledge what every scientifically literate person already knows. It’s quite another to stand up to the fossil fuel and timber companies that are intent on spewing more GHG’s into the atmosphere. He has shown no inclination to do so, unless you call a grinning and slightly embarrassed plea to reduce oil company tax breaks progress.

  5. What was once journalism is now entertainment. No drama, no story. Facts are relevant only to the extent they fuel a conflict narrative. Newspapers don’t sell news anymore. They sell emotional involvement. They have no interest in the truth, because the truth leads to conclusions, which ends the drama and stops the involvement.

  6. Raul M. says:

    POTUS thinks skeptical silence article is a good one as he suggests we may read more. Way to go getting recognized by the POTUS.

  7. JM says:

    Well, as we know actions speak louder than tweets. Obama is a hypocrite for tweeting it based on his actions to the perpetuate climate change (new fracking rules for one) and this blog is hypocritical for covering for him.

  8. Mark says:

    Ah, the perpetual calls to “do something” and complaints about “failure to lead” without ever saying exactly WHAT Obama should do – or what he CAN do, with the House in the hands of enemies of the environment and the Senate bound up by a tyrannical minority.

  9. Raul M. says:

    Jan, nice website. Your mission statement shows the importance of helping people to behave better.

  10. Jimmy Crack Capricorn says:

    POTUS cannot make laws – congress does – he also has an economy that the media commands he somehow orchestrate in between security briefings – magic wand nowhere to be found and a press waiting 24/7 with baited breath, not an ounce of reality will they deploy that contradicts the world view of their paying advertisers and ownership interests!!!

    Give him a break, he’s only human and he has zero help from Republicants.

  11. Raul M. says:

    It is nice that the POTUS may expect to tweet information concerning climate change without adverse lawsuit. Though, the same may not be said of other actions the POTUS takes concerning climate change, maybe the lawyers that work to protect his abilities may have the weekend off.

  12. Dave S. Nottear says:

    The Media is like a soup that has cooked way too long (“Just feed it to the chickens…” said the wife).

    As Joe has pointed out, it doesn’t matter if it is the NYT or Bloomberg, or Forbes, or… Ricky Lake…

    Brings to mind some wonderful Vogon Poetry (maybe this should not be posted at all, or to open thread, but seems appropriate here – apologies to REM)

    That’s great, it starts with an earthquake,
    birds and snakes, an aeroplane –
    Jerry Springer is not afraid…

    …Team by team reporters baffled,
    trumped, tethered cropped.

    Uh oh, overflow, population, common food, but it’ll do.
    Save yourself, serve yourself. World serves its own needs,

    this means no fear cavalier.
    Renegade steer clear!

    A tournament, a tournament, a tournament of lies

  13. So here is the deal. Climate change increases rainfall in Central American mountains. Excess moisture enhances the spread of coffee rust fungus. 25% of Arabica coffee crop ruined (No more Costa Rican Tarrazu for breakfast). Displaced workers head for USA just as our Senate readies an immigration bill whose major goal is to stop all future immigration. News ignores the story because caffeine starved reporters have fallen asleep.

  14. David Sheridan says:

    Obama could nix the XL pipeline all by himself; no congressional action needed. Unless/until he does that, he’s just paying lip service to climate change.

  15. Superman1 says:

    And, most of all, an electorate that is comfortable with the status quo and has no interest in making any sacrifices to save the biosphere!

  16. David Goldstein says:

    Okay- I just have to re-post my HUffington Post article where Obama gives the dramatic climate speech all of us wishes he would (hope that’s okay, Joe). Here it is:

  17. Merrelyn Emery says:

    Precisely. And in lockstep, we have seen a rapid increase in superficiality which is basically a loss of meaning in life, ME

  18. prokaryotes says:

    “Obama tweet gets Australian researcher 31.5 million followers on Twitter.”

    Well, maybe that reporting got him 100-1000 followers??? :)

  19. Icarus says:

    Quite. Plenty of people aren’t even prepared to change a light bulb to save the planet.

  20. Joan Savage says:

    I see Obama’s tweet as catch-up, reaching out to develop a base -belatedly- that can push congressional representatives. Better late than never.

    I doubt if he really wants his legacy to be known laughingly as “all of the above.”

  21. Mulga Mumblebrain says:

    ‘Tweeting’ is about the most inane, inconsequential waste of human energy and time yet confected. What an appropriately empty vessel for Obama to fill with another content-less, but cynical, PR gesture.

  22. Michelle M says:

    Isn’t the Washington Post one of the publications owned by the Koch brothers? If so, the “misunderstanding” is probably misrepresentation.

  23. Chris Winter says:

    Something like the third panel of this:

  24. BobbyL says:

    I found this information. “It is a public company…Apart from the family of Katharine Graham, Berkshire Hathaway is also a substantial shareholder.” Chances are the “misunderstanding” was simply an unintentional error. However, these days with the Internet such errors can be greatly magnified getting spread all over the place without being checked out for accuracy and can re-enforce paranoia.

  25. Mike Roddy says:

    Glad to find another retro person here, Mulga. I’ve resisted tweeting too, since for some reason tweets are “written” in the style of a sixth grader.

  26. john atcheson says:

    Oh please. Obama doesn’t get off the hook because he’s got an idiotic Congress. Not as long as he acts idiotic.

    Here’s what he could do: instruct EPA to take action regulating CO2 under the CAA (no congressional approval required); reject the XL pipeline; abandon the “all of the above baloney; and most important use the bully pulpit to lead. It’s just possible if he’d done that in his first term he’d have a different and more progressive Congress.

    Here’s what he should not do — remain completely silent about an issue he apparently knows is moving us inexorably toward catastrophe, and dally on the XL decision.

    Unfortunately, that’s exactly what he is doing.

  27. john atcheson says:

    Polls have consistently showed support for taking action on climate change — ranging from 60 to 70% for decades, now. And that’s with virtually no poltical leadership.

    If he led, and if he used the power of the Presidency, imagine how strong support for climate legislation would be.

    So please don’t play the public apathy card. The fact that people care as much as they do with no tangible support gives lie to that canard.

  28. fj says:

    This just what it sounds like . . . a tweet.

    Doing much more would bring down the delusional house of cards of denial and inaction.

  29. MarkF says:

    I hope you’re kidding.

    If you’re serious, and you’re not just another Obama PR person, who still buys the ridiculous

    “His hands are tied”, or ” the Republicans won’t let him”

    I think you should read through a few back issues of Climate progress;

    Obama’s inaction, stalling, avoiding the subject altogether, waiting for the right political moment, (hasn’t arrived yet apparently)

    and his damaging actions opening…. land and ocean up for coal, record oil production, and fracking, are well documented here.

  30. Superman1 says:

    John, “The fact that people care as much as they do”. In what way do they demonstrate this ‘caring’? Responding to a pollster positively? Can you point to anything more tangible, like massive dropoff in vacation travel, or massive dropoff in consuming energy-intensive land animals, or massive dropoff in purchase of unnecessary processed goods?

  31. Mulga Mumblebrain says:

    A not very bright sixth-grader. Important things cannot be abbreviated to the point of inanity. It’s like (shudder!) ‘Readers Digest Condensed Books’. I remember homes where they were the only books on display. There, I admit it-I’m a bloody snob!