Fire and Ice
Journalists have warned of climate
change for 100 years, but can’t decide weather we face an ice age or
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U.S. Funds Nearly $4 Billion in
The Times Warms to Cooling
Al Gore: Still Hot for Global
Climate Change: Unpredictable
Thanks to the release of Al Gore’s latest effort on global warming –
this time in book and movie form – climate change is the hot topic
in press rooms around the globe. It isn’t the first time.
The media have warned about impending climate doom four different
times in the last 100 years. Only they can’t decide if mankind will
die from warming or cooling.
As the noise from the controversy has increased, it has drowned out
any debate. Journalists have taken advocacy positions, often
ignoring climate change skeptics entirely. One CBS reporter even
compared skeptics of manmade global warming to Holocaust deniers.
The Society of Environmental Journalists Spring 2006 SEJournal
included a now-common media position, arguing against balance. But
that sense of certainty ignores the industry’s history of hyping
climate change – from cooling to warming, back to cooling and
warming once again.
The Media Research Center’s Business & Media Institute (formerly the
Free Market Project) conducted an extensive analysis of print
media’s climate change coverage back to the late 1800s.
It found that many publications now claiming the world is on the
brink of a global warming disaster said the same about an impending
ice age – just 30 years ago. Several major ones, including The New
York Times, Time magazine and Newsweek, have reported on three or
even four different climate shifts since 1895.
In addition, BMI found:
Cooling” Was Just as Realistic: Several publications warned in
the 1970s that global cooling posed a major threat to the food
supply. Now, remarkably, global warming is also considered a threat
to the very same food supply.
Glaciers Are Growing
or Shrinking: The media continue to point to glaciers as a sign
of climate change, but they have used them as examples of both
cooling and warming.
History Ignored: The media treat global warming like it’s a new
idea. In fact, British amateur meteorologist G. S. Callendar argued
that mankind was responsible for heating up the planet with carbon
dioxide emissions – in 1938. That was decades before scientists and
journalists alerted the public about the threat of a new ice age.
New York Times the
Worst: Longtime readers of the Times could easily recall the
paper claiming “A Major Cooling Widely Considered to Be Inevitable,”
along with its strong support of current global warming predictions.
Older readers might well recall two other claims of a climate shift
back to the 1800s – one an ice age and the other warming again. The Times has warned of
four separate climate changes since 1895.