Right Hooks

Media Too Welcoming of Climate Skeptics? Please

Jordan Candler · Apr. 22, 2015

In a recent interview with Think Progress, astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson said he believes the climate debate in America is still hotly contested because climate skeptics are provided too much leeway. “There’s this journalistic ethos saying if I get one opinion then I need to get another opinion that countervails that,” he explained. But we know the world isn’t anything other than round (something, ironically, the science community once disputed), so why should a doubter be allowed to argue it is “lest someone think you are being biased in your reporting?” Says Tyson, “[T]hat’s absurd. You wouldn’t do that, you’re educated. You know that there are certain points of view that have no foundation at all in objective truth.” The same concept, he suggests, applies to the alarming predictions about man-made global warming: “I think journalists are abandoning what would be their sensibility of following the emergent truths and in some cases painting a debate as though there’s a scientific debate when in fact there isn’t one — and that makes for headlines and more clicks.”

The fact not a single prediction portending environmental disaster has materialized provides all the evidence we need to call these “emergent truths” for what they are — lies. And Tyson’s attack on the media is especially laughable considering climate skeptics are rarely allowed to present their point of view on national television — and public opinion on this issue still isn’t on the Left’s side. According to a 2014 study by Indiana University researchers Lars Willnat & David H. Weaver, only 7.1% of journalists describe themselves as Republicans, down from 18% in 2002 and 25.7% in 1971, yet the American Enterprise Institute reports the percentage of Americans “worried a great deal” about the climate is just 32% in 2015, slightly down from 35% in 1989. There is no vast right-wing conspiracy among the media. Even so, some lies, as public polling proves, are clearly just too pretentious to fall for.

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