2011-06-08 02:10:58Deniers = 76% of TV Guests on EPA GHG Regs - worth a post?
dana1981
Dana Nuccitelli
dana1981@yahoo...
69.230.102.37

Media Matters put out a report with an accounting of US TV network guests for stories discussing EPA GHG regulations.  Turns out the Fox networks did far more stories on the subject than other networks, so not surprisingly, "skeptics" opposing the regulations accounted for 76% of all guests on these shows.

This isn't exactly a science story, but John has been considering starting to do some SkS posts on climate science communication.  This would be a bit of a new direction for SkS, but I think an important one.  We all know the scientific evidence is there; now the challenge is communicating it to the public.  And if the public is being bombarded with "skeptics" on TV, that's a major problem.

What do you guys think - should we do a post on this story, or is it too political and insufficiently scientific?

2011-06-08 02:27:15Fair game
Daniel Bailey
Daniel Bailey
yooper49855@hotmail...
97.83.150.37

Monckton is too political and insufficiently scientific and we have a whole series on him.

2011-06-08 02:38:58Monckton
dana1981
Dana Nuccitelli
dana1981@yahoo...
69.230.102.37

Well yeah, but at least Monckton makes pseudoscience arguments, and we always engaged him on the scientific front.  Likewise when we covered the Congressional hearings, we looked at the scientific claims.  In this case we can talk about why CO2 limits are important, but it's fundamentally an issue of communication and politics (i.e. deniers being grossly over-represented in the media, particularly on Fox).

Like I said, I think it's an important subject, and I'd like to do a post on it.  At least there are a lot of numbers involved, so we could mostly just report the stats and then point out it's basically the polar opposite of the numbers with regards to the climate scientist and climate economist consensuses (consensi?).  But the root of the post would be communication, not science - i.e. the TV watching public is being presented with a vast majority of anti-CO2 limit opinions when the vast majority of experts (both scientists and economists) support CO2 limits.  That's a major problem.

2011-06-08 02:49:13
dana1981
Dana Nuccitelli
dana1981@yahoo...
69.230.102.37

My first thoughts on the article are:

  • talk about the scientific consensus
  • talk about the economic consensus on carbon pricing
  • talk about the carbon pricing recommendation from the NAS in 'America's Choices'
  • maybe distinguish that EPA regulation isn't carbon pricing, but it's a substitute until we get carbon pricing
  • talk about the results of the Media Matters report - TV guest consensus is the opposite of expert consensus
  • maybe throw in a brief discussion of 'The Critical Decade'
  • maybe throw in a conclusion that the media is failing to inform the public of the expert consensus
2011-06-08 03:02:05
Daniel Bailey
Daniel Bailey
yooper49855@hotmail...
97.83.150.37

Sounds good.  But I think that last bit about holding the media accountable for their appalling coverage of the issues needs to be a mandatory element.  This is a manufactured controversy for which they bear equal responsibility.

2011-06-08 03:08:45Spreading SkS too thin...
John Hartz
John Hartz
john.hartz@hotmail...
99.95.221.238

I caution against spreading ourselves too thin by getting into theis arena. The (US) League of conservation Voters has just launched an appeal for funds to create a rapid response to stuff like this. SkS should stick to its core mission.

Here's the text of the email I just received from thje League of Conservation Voters:

Dear John,

DEADLINE:  Wednesday, June 8th

LCV is challenging the news media to report accurately and honestly on the climate crisis.

We need to raise $24,000 in 24 hours to start. Will you help?

donate button

FOX News continues to churn out a constant stream of climate science misinformation and lies.

The Wall Street Journal is publishing opinion pieces that conflict with established scientific facts and research.

Sarah Palin’s road trip across the country is focusing the media’s attention away from some of our most pressing environmental issues.

If we stand any chance to combat the climate crisis, we need to aggressively respond to the news media when it distorts the truth or ignores the important issues.

Will you contribute $50.00 to LCV’s campaign to hold the media accountable for reporting on the defining environmental issue of our generation?

Turn on cable news and you’re more likely to learn about the latest celebrity meltdown than the fact that about 42 million people were forced to flee their homes because of natural disasters around the world in 2010.1 Good luck finding in-depth coverage about a new report indicating that greenhouse-gas emissions increased by a record amount last year to the highest carbon output in history.2

This is where LCV comes in. But we need your help to succeed. Here’s our communications plan:

  • Rapid Response: When news organizations allow presidential candidates to talk about climate change WITHOUT the candidate proposing concrete solutions, our rapid response team will blanket that news outlet with climate crisis facts. The goal? Push the news outlet for follow-up with the candidate.
  • Grassroots Pressure:  When media outlets report false or misleading information about the climate crisis and related environmental issues, we’ll put our mobilization team in action and organize tens of thousands of grassroots activists. The goal? Pressure the news organization to get the facts right about global warming.
  • Targeting Advertisers:  If news outlets continue to serve as mouthpieces for corporate polluters, we’ll hit them where it hurts – their advertising revenue. That’s why LCV and other groups are targeting companies like Orbitz, the online travel site, to get them to live up to their green deeds and stop advertising on FOX News. The goal?  Demand companies stop funding FOX’s climate misinformation with their advertising dollars.

Help LCV continue our campaign to hold the news media accountable. Please donate in the next 24 hours. With your help we can reach our 24 hour goal.

We need the public to mobilize and act on the climate crisis, but it’s infinitely more difficult to mobilize public support to act if news outlets fail to give the issue the coverage and attention it deserves.

As always, thank you for your support.

Gene Karpinski
President
LCV

1 http://www.salon.com/news/global_warming/?story=/news/feature/2011/06/06/natural_disasters
2 http://thinkprogress.org/green/2011/05/31/230996/palin-loves-smell-emissions/

2011-06-08 03:55:50
dana1981
Dana Nuccitelli
dana1981@yahoo...
64.129.227.4

I wouldn't worry about getting spread too thin, we're just talking about one post on the subject about this Media Matters report.  I got the LCV email too - great that they're addressing this, but the more sources draw attention to it, the better.

Daniel - agreed, holding the media accountable is really the crux of the post.  I'm just trying to think about how to do it without turning the comments into a Fox bitchfest, because frankly, the Fox imbalance is the big problem.

2011-06-08 04:27:09Out of curiosity...
John Hartz
John Hartz
john.hartz@hotmail...
99.95.221.238

Is there a Fox News in Australia? If so, does it mimic Fox News USA?

2011-06-08 06:25:59
Rob Painting
Rob
paintingskeri@vodafone.co...
118.92.100.83

Badger, if they're anything like NZ, they get the unabashed original version. Fortunately it's on pay tv in NZ, and I don't got pay tv, so there's no chance of accidentally flicking on the channel and getting infected. 

2011-06-08 06:26:03Not a Fox News channel
John Cook

john@skepticalscience...
121.222.9.229

We do have Andrew Bolt who is a Glenn Beck/Rush Limbaugh wanna-be. In fact, he just got his own weekly TV show on Channel Ten - presumably due to the assistance of mining billionaire Gina Rinehart who recently bought a substantial share of the channel.

2011-06-08 06:31:24SkS core mission
John Cook

john@skepticalscience...
121.222.9.229

Essentially Dana is asking something I've been asking myself lately. I've been doing a lot of reading about climate communication and human psychology lately and have learnt a lot of lessons that I would like to share with others. So I could hide my light under a bushel and just share it on the SkS forum. Or I could start doing blog posts about climate communication with the intent that SkS authors and other climate communicators could benefit from it.

I'm becoming convinced the latter is the better option. It's imperative we understand how people process information, how the human brain works, the broader issues of climate communication - or risk the danger of just throwing science out there and hoping it sticks. That's not a scientific approach because the evidence tells us merely communicating more science is not an effective approach.

I think posts on climate communication should still be rooted in science - but it would be social science, not physical science. So I'm for this post - in fact, I'd be quite interested in reading it.

2011-06-08 06:35:25
Rob Painting
Rob
paintingskeri@vodafone.co...
118.92.100.83

Go for it Dana!

2011-06-08 07:52:34
dana1981
Dana Nuccitelli
dana1981@yahoo...
64.129.227.4

Ask and ye shall receive.