2012-01-05 10:01:19Climate Denial and the Media - Banishment of Science Reality
Brian Purdue

bnpurdue@bigpond.net...
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I have updated and renamed the media article. (draft). Have included dana and John’s suggestions from first blog. It takes a good poke at deniers and the media but think not too much? Will be interested in comments and check for typos please.

It’s fairly long but wanted to leave Arctic section in because it’s a strong thing to hang the article’s argument on – and couldn’t leave my mate Monckton out – comedy value!

Have emailed a copy to Prof. Wendy Bacon because need to check if part 2 findings of her media study on media climate change coverage are in line with what I have said.

Look forward to it being published because will send to journalists I know - and know they will agree.   

2012-01-05 10:06:14Recommendation
John Hartz
John Hartz
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Brian,

I highly recommend that you tweak the title to read; "Climate Change Denial and the Media - Banishment of Science Reality"

Having the phrase "Climate Change" in the title will ensure that the article will get picked-up by Google Alert - Climate Change once the article is posted.

2012-01-05 10:10:02
Brian Purdue

bnpurdue@bigpond.net...
60.228.22.178

Will do right now John - thanks - tricks of the trade.

2012-01-05 10:20:25
Rob Painting
Rob
paintingskeri@vodafone.co...
118.93.147.69

Science Reality? Does that read correctly? Or Scientific Reality? I dunno.

2012-01-05 10:26:53
Brian Purdue

bnpurdue@bigpond.net...
60.228.22.178

Changing name took it off line but have restored - won't make changes till comments are in - I'm open to all suggestions Rob.

2012-01-05 10:33:42Brian
John Hartz
John Hartz
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Your take on when the media started to seriously discuss climate change has a definite UK flavor. 

In the US, the media started to seriously pay attention to climate change in mid-1998.

The following is excceprted from Spence Weart's tome:

The number of articles on climate listed in the Readers' Guide, which had held steady since the mid 1970s, took a quantum leap upward. Between spring and fall of 1988 the number of articles listed abruptly tripled, and over following years remained at the new level. The number of American newspaper articles on global warming jumped tenfold in 1988 over what was published in 1987 (which was already well above the negligible number published a decade earlier) and continued to rise in following years.(103*) For the first time, global warming showed up repeatedly in the most widely read of all American media, the comic strips. In the second half of 1988 the problem got a mention in such highly popular, and normally scarcely topical, strips as "Kathy," "Calvin and Hobbes," "Little Orphan Annie" and even "Dick Tracy." Their creators could take it for granted that readers understood their clever remarks about warming.


calvin & Hobbes global warming
Calvin

A killing heat wave in China, a ghastly flood in Bangladesh, and spectacular episodes of ocean pollution in Europe gave climate worries a global reach. The Toronto meeting, and many other avenues of communication among environmentalists and scientists, helped spread concern internationally. In Germany, to take one case, a subgroup of the German Physical Society had already prepared attitudes with a 1986 report carrying the dramatic title, "Warning of the Impending Climate Catastrophe." Although most scientists quickly backed away from the apocalyptic tone, from then on the phrase "Klimacatastrophe" permeated Germany's media and public consciousness. Attention mounted steadily through 1988 and into the early 1990s.(104)
2012-01-05 10:54:46
Brian Purdue

bnpurdue@bigpond.net...
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It's got an Australian flavor too John - So US started in 1998 and stopped in 2008 (GFC) - short attention span!

I have cited examples of when the TV media coverage started in 1990 but even Time magazine was covering global warming in the 1970s - I remember.

2012-01-05 13:44:41
Brian Purdue

bnpurdue@bigpond.net...
60.228.22.178

I have received a fairly large reply email from Wendy Bacon giving her tick of approval to the media/denial article.

I asked her not to forward so I should reciprocate by not posting her comments on SkS but there is some interesting info that SkS can use (about some of our favourite deniers) so I don’t think she would mind if I emailed it to John C – which I will do.

2012-01-09 06:07:47tone
dana1981
Dana Nuccitelli
dana1981@yahoo...
71.137.110.252

I'm still rather concerned about the tone.  I think there's too much in the way of general attacks on denialists (I changed 'deniers' to 'fake skeptics' and 'denialists', by the way).  I think the post should focus speicifically on the fake skeptic experts who are highlighted in the media - the Moncktons and Plimers and such that you list in the middle of the post.  Make it more about them and the media giving them a platform to spread misinformation, and less about attacking deniers in general.

2012-01-09 08:03:14
Stephen Leahy

writersteve@gmail...
24.239.5.56

Brian.  From personal experience as a jurno for last 20 yrs one thing that is missing is the relationship the denier industry tried to cultivate w jurnos in the early days. Like any PR effort they wanted to help and be friends offering studies, access to experts, politicians, CEOs etc -- all in the aid of fairness, completeness and balance. Marano would call when he was working for Sen. Inhofe etc. Then they would scold if you did a story that did not use one of their sources and try get promises to use them in future.... And when you didn't....well the relationship soured they'd accuse you of bias, of being derlict in your professionalism....And they'd send their complaints to your boss and their boss. They'd try to make that public posting your "sins" on various websites.

And on and on it went.

I've been on their do-not-call list for years now but no doubt all of this still continues. 

Brian, I'm not sure what your goal is in this piece. A history of denial industry? How do you see the general public using this? I'd just use the Arctic stuff as a case in point to illustrate their false claims and then offer 2/3  tips for the public to use to be able to detect denial BS.  

2012-01-09 10:09:11
Brian Purdue

bnpurdue@bigpond.net...
60.228.22.178

Dana, I did intend to make more changes to post but nothing major.

Re categorising the enemy – I intentionally varied the use of skeptics and fake skeptics and deniers and denialist throughout the post, depending on what was being discussed – denier should be used where appropriate.

The post is about the media’s coverage of denialism in general so I don’t agree it should narrow the focus to the media’s coverage of a few deniers – other SkS posts have done this in the past.

I’m worried the post is a bit long now and don’t want to lessen the impact by removing anything – focusing on deniers would increase length. If anything, comment on media “balance” should increase (only mentioned once). The goodies in media still think there must be on balance, and with the baddies giving no balance at all, the public are getting deluged with denial.

I’ll give an example from couple of days ago with letters editor - who is a goodie! His comment “We cannot ban ''prominent climate change deniers'' from writing letters. We hold them to the same standards as everyone else and if they write a publishable letter, they have as much right as anyone else to have it published. --- what we might call the ''responsible'' media's manipulation by climate change deniers - leave aside the out and out promotion of climate denialism by what could be called the ''irresponsible'' media -----".

My reply “I am currently writing an article about the history of the media’s reckless “balanced” coverage between industry promoted denialism and the settled science – and the right-wing media’s total imbalanced coverage. The letters page does a good job but the deniers get away with it because unfortunately the public is non-the-wiser that they are spouting pure garbage from “propaganda” denial blog sites”.

The article’s theme as already been checked out by Professor of Journalism and given OK. The article will go to a wider audience than SkS – it will be tweeted/emailed to journalists etc.

I have been dealing with the media on other important issues, other than climate change, for over 10 years. I will post a website and details on general chat in the next couple of days too explain.

Trust me – I’ve been through the mill on what makes the media work – and the general message is the important one this time.

Stephen - I hope this explains the goal of the piece?

2012-01-09 12:26:58Tone of post
John Cook

john@skepticalscience...
130.102.158.12

I think there are elements where the tone could be toned down without compromising the message of the post. For example:

The media would better spend its time investigating “Denialgate” - now there’s where the wicked web of deception lies.

Considering we delete any comments containing accusations of deception, it's hypocritical for us to throw around the same accusation. Practically speaking, I think while there are surely cases of deception, it's nearly impossible to discern the difference between someone intentionally deceiving the public and someone ideologically driven towards genuinely hold false conclusions. The end result is still the same, regardless. That's why I tend towards the term "climate misinformer" these days. Most deniers are not skeptics in the sense of being genuinely scientifically skeptical. Some skeptics are not full-blown deniers. Some are deceivers, some are genuine. All are misinformers.

I also avoid the use of the word denier if I can manage it. Solely because avoiding it provides less distraction so people can focus on my central message rather than generate lots of noise about the word denier. As you only use the word denier twice in your post, why not change it to something else. Call Bastardi a misinformer rather than a denier. 

Similarly, I'm not sold on the term "Denialgate". I agree that we need to reframe Climategate. But what is the alternative narrative? Denialgate is a little vague - specifically, Climategate is about the concerted attack on climate science, evidenced by hacking their private emails. Perhaps Jim Powell's Inquisition of Climate Science sums it up best. We're facing a modern day Spanish Inquisition, where science is being persecuted by ideological forces. Inquisitiongate? Or Climategate is about trying to distract people from the scientific reality of climate change with conspiracy theories - Distractiongate? I don't know, I'm just spitballing here.

But denier and denial are such loaded terms, I try to use them only for specific purposes - to explain the psychological process of denial, where people deny the full body of evidence, gravitating towards the evidence that backs up their preconceptions to the exclusion of other evidence. That's a very surgical use of the word denial. But to throw the term around generally is to generate a lot of heat without much benefit other than preaching to the converted.

2012-01-09 13:21:38
Tom Curtis

t.r.curtis@gmail...
112.213.145.36

denialgate = "hackergate"

2012-01-09 13:32:38
Brian Purdue

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I have revised the article’s paragraphs (in bold) that may address not enough focus being put on prominent deniers. “AND OTHERS” now links all deniers and their political mates to SkS’s rogues gallery. It doesn’t add much to article and the reader can go look for themselves and gives the media the message it’s not doing its job. Second paragraph change is to make Stephen's  point that arctic is but one example.   

“Media hacks or opportunities like Rush Limaugh, Alex Jones, Glenn Beck, Christopher Booker, James Delingpole, Alan Jones, and Andrew Bolt, to name some, are more than eager to spread the myths and deception being peddled by the likes of Christopher Monckton, Nigel Lawson, Fred Singer, Ian Plimer, and Bob Carter - and others. The “responsible” media must strenuously exercise its public responsibility and bring these myth spreaders under the piercing interrogation light now emanating from the mountains of climate science peer-reviewed literature and visual evidence.”

“One of the things fake skeptics are desperate to pretend is a mirage is what’s happening to the planet’s ice and, in particular, what’s happening in the Arctic. Just consider the following as a typical example of how blind these people are to reality. The Arctic sea ice continues to melt at an alarming rate and the trend is obvious beyond any doubt. -------------------------“

John, your points are taken and noted - I will tone it down "a little". But I think there is a lot of difference between "denier" and "denial". Denial is a lot softer - Denial is in the article's title and it doesn't sound aggressive.

I remember Watts trying to shame SkS into not using denier - looks like he's won.

 

2012-01-09 13:52:37
Brian Purdue

bnpurdue@bigpond.net...
60.228.22.178

Tom, "Hackergate" it is - and I was just using the old adage " Oh what a wicked web we weave when we practice to deceive". I think hackergate fits well in that context and will leave sentence in.

2012-01-09 16:18:13
John Hartz
John Hartz
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98.122.98.161

Brian,

The first sentence of the second paragraph in the Manufacturing Confusion section reads:

Media hacks or opportunities like Rush Limaugh, Alex Jones, Glenn Beck, Christopher Booker, James Delingpole, Alan Jones, and Andrew Bolt, to name some, are more than eager to spread the myths and deception being peddled by the likes of Christopher Monckton, Nigel Lawson, Fred Singer, Ian Plimer, Bob Carter - and others.

 I suspect that the word, "opportunities" should be "opportunists"?

You should also add a sentence or two explaining why the "media hacks" are so eager to spread "the myths and deception"

 

2012-01-09 16:25:15
Brian Purdue

bnpurdue@bigpond.net...
60.228.22.178

John C, I have been through article and removed all trace of “denier/s” and wherever denialists is used I have added “and misinformers” so they can take their pick what they are. The word fake sceptic is used frequently but that’s why the podcast is that the beginning so they are exposed as fake skeptics. I have put in “Hackergate” and left in the “wicked web” bit but removed the word “now” to soften it – now sounds alright to me. Joe Bastardi is now a US media celebrity “weather” forecaster with link to SkS myths.

You will note that virtually every sentence in piece has reference to the media so the media theme is very strong and there will be no doubt what it is about – linking denial/misinformation to media role. If you have any further problems with wording happy to oblige in changing it. I’m still thinking about adding more about “balance”.

Interestingly, misinformer and denialist are not in dictionary – that’s how the language grows.

Thanks John H - yes typo and can add a couple of sentences.

No thumbs up yet - how much does it take to get approval?

2012-01-09 19:38:03
Brian Purdue

bnpurdue@bigpond.net...
60.228.22.178

I have added this to post that I think is a very effective line of argument

Then there’s the tactic of getting in first and imbedding “contrary perception” in the public mind. We never stop hearing that the climate scientists are in it for the research grant money, when it’s actually the fossil fuel industry in it for payday big-time – tens of trillions of dollars of it. And then there is the subject of this article; fake skeptics say that the media is not giving the vastly outnumbered (96%) contrarian “scientists” a fair hearing – when we never stop hearing from them through organs of the media.

2012-01-10 12:19:08
dana1981
Dana Nuccitelli
dana1981@yahoo...
69.230.107.206

Climate Progress has a post on the TV media climate coverage collapse that might be relevant to your post.

2012-01-10 12:48:01
Brian Purdue

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138.130.140.206

Thanks dana, there’s places where I can put it as a link and it confirms this

 So US started in 1998 and stopped in 2008 (GFC) - short attention span!

Have been told that part 2 of Australian media study on climate science coverage also confirms what is in my post – hurry up the next El Nino!

2012-01-10 13:16:40
Brian Purdue

bnpurdue@bigpond.net...
138.130.140.206

Link is under “Exploiting Fatal Flaws” – humans have a short attention span – fitted in just nicely – couldn’t be better!

2012-01-11 13:52:33
John Hartz
John Hartz
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Brian,

Check out Rupert Murdoch’s Newspapers Mislead Public On Climate Change and Environment posted on DeSmog Blog.

2012-01-11 15:36:28
Brian Purdue

bnpurdue@bigpond.net...
138.130.140.206

Thanks John  - as you know that was covered in my last SkS post.

I did not want to go into the gory details in latest post but when I was looking for collusion between deniers and media I saw Murdoch, along with the Koch Bros, Fred Singer etc were back slapping mates in the Cato Institute. Plenty more examples of other connections too – felt sick reading it all.

2012-01-11 17:20:58
dana1981
Dana Nuccitelli
dana1981@yahoo...
69.230.107.206

We might publish this one in the morning Brian, as Tom asked to bump his post back a day.

2012-01-11 17:26:41
Brian Purdue

bnpurdue@bigpond.net...
138.130.140.206

Dana, I've been making more changes so please run your eye over it again for typos - I think it's OK.