Among scientists, there is no doubt humans are responsible for climate change. One of the few remaining doubters is Sen. James Inhofe (R-OK).
In his last week as chair of the Senate Environment & Public Works Committee, Inhofe said goodbye “with a final hearing aimed at spanking the press for its coverage of climate change.” A few lowlights from Inhofe’s hearing:
- Inhofe: “Poorly conceived policy decisions may result from the media’s over-hyped reporting. Much of the mainstream media has subverted its role as an objective source of information on climate change into the role of an advocate. … Rather than focus on the hard science of global warming, the media has instead become advocates for hyping scientifically unfounded climate alarmism.”
- Dan Gainor, Director, Business & Media Institute: “We’re here to discuss the media coverage of the climate change debate. But there’s only one problem, there is almost none of that debate actually in the media. … This goes against the basic tenets of journalism to be skeptical of all sides of an issue.
- Dr. David Deming, University of Oklahoma: “There is an overwhelming bias today in the media regarding the issue of global warming. In the past two years, this bias has bloomed into an irrational hysteria. … As a result, the public has become vastly misinformed on this and other environmental issues.”
The media does deserve to be criticized for its climate change coverage; for years, reporters have tried to show “journalistic balance” by injecting more doubt than can be supported by scientific evidence. The media watchdog FAIR explains why the concept of “fairness” applies differently to scientific issues than it does to political issues:
The professional canon of journalistic fairness requires reporters who write about a controversy to present competing points of view. When the issue is of a political or social nature, fairness – presenting the most compelling arguments of both sides with equal weight – is a fundamental check on biased reporting. But this canon causes problems when it is applied to issues of science. It seems to demand that journalists present competing points of view on a scientific question as though they had equal scientific weight, when actually they do not.
Journalists have long inserted doubt into their reporting on climate change. A FAIR study found that between 1988 and 2002, “53 percent of articles in the mainstream media” cast doubt on global warming science.