Media Duping Scandal


Being “framed” is slang when someone is blamed for something they did not do, i.e. being set up by means of false evidence and witnesses.  For example, this is current news:

Majority of Americans now say climate change makes hurricanes more intense, poll finds
A majority of Americans say that global climate change contributed to the severity of recent hurricanes in Florida and Texas, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll. That marks a significant shift of opinion from a dozen years ago, when a majority of the public dismissed the role of global warming and said such severe weather events just happen from time to time.

In a 2005 Post-ABC poll, taken a month after Hurricane Katrina ravaged the Gulf Coast and devastated New Orleans, 39 percent of Americans said they believed climate change helped to fuel the intensity of hurricanes. Today, 55 percent believe that.

Gee, do you think that all the mass media reports connecting the storms with climate change had anything to do with that polling result?  Here is just today’s sample from Google News of mainstream press articles pushing the linkage.

Hurricanes spur Schneider action on climate change Chicago Tribune

Hurricanes: A perfect storm of chance and climate change? BBC News

Like hurricanes, climate change is dangerous, but smart storm fixes won’t help climate USA TODAY

Next-generation models revealing climate change effect on hurricanes Phys.Org

After hurricanes, climate change resurfaces in Washington Houston Chronicle

Scientific models saved lives from Harvey and Irma. They can from climate change too The Guardian

National Guard chief cites ‘bigger, larger, more violent’ hurricanes as possible evidence of climate change Washington Post

Paradise lost? Caribbean leaders want action on climate change and help rebuilding Miami Herald

Yes, climate change made Harvey and Irma worse CNN

In addition, there are dozens of articles from climate advocacy sites like Greenpeace, Huffpost, Insideclimatenews, etc.

An exception to the onslaught appeared to be this one from The Stranger Why Connecting Climate Change with Powerful Hurricanes Is Doing More Damage Than Good

But it turns out to be another extreme hit piece by Sarah Myhre, who is no stranger to alarmism. (Background at Again Falsely Linking Smoking and Climate Science)

This time she attacks the media reporting on hurricanes and climate change, because they seem to allow for doubt (tsk, tsk). (Below her text with my bolds)

We need to poke a hole in this toxic narrative and news cycle around climate attribution. When I say attribution, what I am referring to are the ongoing arguments of attributing specific weather events to climate change: Was Hurricane Harvey caused by climate change? Was the low snow year of 2015, up and down the Cascadian mountains, caused by climate change? These questions—individually—are interesting and important to answer. But the science of Earth system change is not altered by the relative statistical significance of our attribution certainty. Far from it.

What’s more, this framing of attribution uncertainty is continually used to support climate action obstruction and denialist voices in our culture. When you hear pandering equivocation about climate and weather events, alarm bells should start ringing in your head. This news cycle is absolutely toxic and we together need to get our broad cultural conversation off this hamster wheel.

One closing point: When we use uncertainty around attributing individual weather events to climate change to call for “more data” or “better climate science” (think of Cliff Mass) we are driving a wedge between public health and public safety. We mislead the public because the message we send is: We don’t know what’s happening. This simply isn’t true; we do know what is happening. However, in some cases, we lack high-quality time series data to statistically detect the signal of climate from the noise of weather.

Summary

The last line in Myhre’s article says it all: We know what’s going on, we just don’t have the facts yet.

Despite all of the levelheaded statements by hurricane experts cautioning against jumping to these conclusions, and despite the IPCC SREX reports saying the linkage is not proven, the media and activists went on a rant proclaiming climate change makes hurricanes worse. They trumpeted these claims, and now take pride in a survey showing they succeeded in duping the public. That is a duping scandal and the mass media is at fault.  Shame on them.

Background from Previous Post:

Climate Thought Control explains the deliberate media strategy to mold public opinion in support of climate change activism.

Jennifer Good is a communications professor explaining how the media is expected to mold public opinion in favor of climate activism. Her article in the Toronto Star Putting hurricanes and climate change into the same frame is revealing, especially the subtitle A study shows network Hurricane coverage this month did not link an increase in extreme weather to global warming. 

The prof is disappointed that climate change was not even more frequently mentioned in stories about the recent hurricanes. She considers it an opportunity missed.  (Update: Since her article was published, the media took up the cause big time.) Some excerpts below with my bolds.

I have analyzed two weeks of broadcast news stories that appeared on America’s seven largest TV networks as well as Canada’s CTV network. In just over 1,500 stories about hurricanes, “Trump” was discussed in 907 of those stories (or about 60 per cent), while “business” was discussed in 572 of those stories (or about 38 per cent).

“Climate change” was discussed in just 79 of the hurricane stories — or about five per cent.

What’s Wrong with Professional, Objective Reporting?

The fundamental answer is that climate change and extreme weather (i.e., hurricanes) need to be framed together more often. As scientists have pointed out, while climate change is not causing the weather, it is definitely exacerbating the weather. But increasingly adding climate change to the extreme weather frame is only the tip of the (yes, melting) iceberg. Alternatives to “business as usual” need to be part of the media’s, and our, extreme weather frames.

Of those 1,500 broadcast news stories involving hurricanes, only four also mentioned “fossil fuels,” and not a single news broadcast discussed “alternative energy.”

Similarly, while “economy” is discussed in 187 of the hurricane news stories, only 18 stories discussed hurricanes, the economy and climate change together; and not one story explored the links between an economic model based on endless growth, and the implications of this endless growth for the planet and climate change.

The Purpose of Media is to Manipulate Public Opinion

In his seminal 2010 paper “Why It Matters How We Frame the Environment,” published in the journal Environmental Communication, the American linguist and philosopher George Lakoff offered that the world is made up of frames. “Framing” is how our neural system defines a concept by grouping together what goes with — or gets framed with — that concept. Our brains are wired this way.

For example, when you read “climate change,” your brain immediately frames the concept of climate change with certain words and concepts. Everyone cognitively frames “climate change” somewhat differently, but there might also be large overlaps. Terms like “fossil fuels” and “human activity” might be in many people’s climate change frames, although frames can differ widely. (Think, for example, of climate change skeptics.)

Not surprisingly, the news media plays a significant role in how our brains frame concepts. The more the media frames a story by associating it with certain words and concepts, the more likely we are to use those same words and concepts in our own framing.

And conversely, if the news media never framed a story using certain concepts, there is “hypocognition,” or as Lakoff proposed, a “lack of ideas we need.”

In times of crisis, there are many immediate and urgent stories that need to be told about lives and loss, bravery and struggle. But crisis also provides an opportunity for change — an opportunity to shift our frames and include the ideas we desperately need.

So far, that opportunity seems to have been missed. Meanwhile, the oceans get warmer.

The Other Side of the Story

While the prof is totally convinced she knows what the public needs to know about weather and climate, actual weather scientists disagree with her.  In fact, the efforts to link storms and fossil fuels were present way too often and hindered the public from understanding these events.

For instance, Hurricane scientist Dr. Ryan Maue ripped climate ‘hype’ on Irma & Harvey in his WSJ article Climate Change Hype Doesn’t Help.

As soon as Hurricanes Harvey and Irma made landfall in the U.S., scientists, politicians and journalists began to discuss the role of climate change in natural disasters. Although a clear scientific consensus has emerged over the past decade that climate change influences hurricanes in the long run, its effect upon any individual storm is unclear. Anyone trying to score political points after a natural disaster should take a deep breath and review the science first.

As a meteorologist with access to the best weather-forecast model data available, I watched each hurricane’s landfall with particular interest. Harvey and Irma broke the record 12-year major hurricane landfall drought on the U.S. coastline. Since Wilma in October 2005, 31 major hurricanes had swirled in the North Atlantic but all failed to reach the U.S. with a Category 3 or higher intensity.

Even as we worked to divine exactly where the hurricanes would land, a media narrative began to form linking the devastating storms to climate change. Some found it ironic that states represented by “climate deniers” were being pummeled by hurricanes. Alarmists reveled in the irony that Houston, home to petrochemical plants, was flooded by Harvey, while others gleefully reported that President Trump’s Mar-a-Lago might be inundated by Irma.

By focusing on whether climate change caused a hurricane, journalists fail to appreciate the complexity of extreme weather events. While most details are still hazy with the best climate modeling tools, the bigger issue than global warming is that more people are choosing to live in coastal areas, where hurricanes certainly will be most destructive.

Summary

Actual scientists are calling for less, not more manipulative journalism.

And as for the oceans getting warmer, Prof. Good, that is due to the oceans storing and releasing solar energy, nothing to do with burning fossil fuels.  The oceans heat the atmosphere, and not the other way around.  See Empirical Evidence: Oceans Make Climate

Footnote:  If Framing doesn’t work, what’s next?

Advertisements

17 comments

  1. ArndB · September 29

    Sorry, presumably I am a bit too much on the side-line to discuss in depth the most recent hurricane season. However, it seems that North Atlantic south of Island is currently colder than average. Could that have contributed to the strength of the hurricanes?

    Many years ago, World War II had just started, the NYT reported on 10th October 1939 about the hottest October day on record. Details HERE extract: http://www.2030climate.com/a2005/02_21-Dateien/02_21.html ”Erratic Hurricane” joins fighting in the North Atlantic? 12-18 October 1939”
    Two days later a Hurricane formed east of the Antilles. On 16th rushed with hurricane winds towards Cape Race, towards a sea area in the North Atlantic that saw dozen of naval vessels in action, while for the people of New York experienced suddenly low temperatures approaching the freezing point (NYT, 18 Oct). It was in 1939 the only one major hurricane.

    A lot of naval war activities happen already in October 1939. For example: A small group of German submarine sunk eight vessels between 9-16 October. The pocket battleship “Deutschland” was active. More: http://www.2030climate.com/a2005/02_21-Dateien/02_21.html
    Certainly! To establish a link between the events is a difficult undertaking. But even 0,1% would be a big achievement in understanding climate change matters. Did “stirring up” of the sea surface give the Atlantic air some more vapour to work with, or did sinking of shells and ships forced cold water to the sea surface, so that differences increased in air pressure?

    Why get excited now? Science was not able to look in the matter 78 years ago, and did not shown any interest in understand such connections ever since, although from 1939 to 1945 many million of serious naval activities may have influenced the weather and contributed to the “global cooling” for three decades since winter 1939/40.
    All the best; ab

    Like

  2. Ron Clutz · September 29

    Thanks for commenting, Arnd. Good points. In looking for storm causes, you would expect the power to come from the differential between warm and cold. This season, the SSTs in the regions were not exceptional, they are always warm late summer, giving rise to the annual storm season. Big storms seem to form when the wind shear is weak, allowing the structure to built up strength. AFAIK no one knows what causes wind shear fluctuations, and I do not think additional CO2 can do it. Although, it is a magical gas, after all.

    BTW, after strong ice extents in Barents Sea during Spring and summer, the ice there is nearly gone now. I am inclined to think extensive maritime activities in that shallow basin do make for more open water.

    Like

    • ArndB · September 29

      Concerning Barents Sea (with an average depth of 230 meters) your last sentence: “ I am inclined to think extensive maritime activities in that shallow basin do make for more open water”, which I full heartily support – but evidence is pending, which science should have provided (or demonstrated impossible ) since long time ago.

      Like

  3. Jamie Spry · September 29

    Reblogged this on Climatism and commented:
    “When you hear pandering equivocation about climate and weather events, alarm bells should start ringing in your head. This news cycle is absolutely toxic and we together need to get our broad cultural conversation off this hamster wheel.”

    “Anyone trying to score political points after a natural disaster should take a deep breath and review the science first.

    “By focusing on whether climate change caused a hurricane, journalists fail to appreciate the complexity of extreme weather events. While most details are still hazy with the best climate modeling tools, the bigger issue than global warming is that more people are choosing to live in coastal areas, where hurricanes certainly will be most destructive.” Ryan Maue

    Ron Clutz Summary:

    Actual scientists are calling for less, not more manipulative journalism.
    And as for the oceans getting warmer, Prof. Good, that is due to the oceans storing and releasing solar energy, nothing to do with burning fossil fuels.  The oceans heat the atmosphere, and not the other way around.  See Empirical Evidence: Oceans Make Climate

    IMPORTANT read on the mainstream media’s role in climate propaganda and thought control…

    Like

  4. Pingback: Hurricanes Harvey and Irma Hysteria tied to Claims of Global Warming and Climate Change Debunked by Dr. Roy Spencer’s New Book says Friends of Science Society | Western Slope Watchdog
  5. Pingback: Hurricanes Harvey and Irma Hysteria tied to Claims of Global Warming and Climate Change Debunked by Dr. Roy Spencer’s New Book says Friends of Science Society – CHB Blog
  6. Pingback: Hurricanes Harvey and Irma Hysteria tied to Claims of Global Warming… – All-Latest-News
  7. Pingback: Hurricanes Harvey and Irma Hysteria tied to Claims of Global Warming and Climate Change Debunked by Dr. Roy Spencer’s New Book says Friends of Science Society | ShoutValve
  8. Pingback: Hurricanes Harvey and Irma Hysteria tied to Claims of Global Warming and Climate Change Debunked by Dr. Roy Spencer’s New Book says Friends of Science Society
  9. Pingback: Hurricanes Harvey and Irma Hysteria tied to Claims of Global Warming and Climate Change Debunked by Dr. Roy Spencer’s New Book says Friends of Science Society – Quebec Daily Examiner
  10. Pingback: Hurricanes Harvey and Irma Hysteria tied to Claims of Global Warming… – All in World News
  11. Pingback: Hurricanes Harvey and Irma Hysteria tied to Claims of Global Warming and Climate Change Debunked by Dr. Roy Spencer’s New Book says Friends of Science Society – AboNewsCast
  12. Pingback: Hurricanes Harvey and Irma Hysteria tied to Claims of Global Warming… – Venture Entrepreneuer
  13. ArndB · September 30

    Concerning the Barents Sea warming a reference has been made to a recent article:
    „Extreme warming in the Kara Sea and Barents Sea during the winter period 2000 to 2016 “
    at the Post: http://1ocean-1climate.com/they-warm-up-the-arctic-shipping-off-shore-science-etc/
    ___with the IMAGE: http://1ocean-1climate.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/09/B_-.jpg

    Like

  14. oldbrew · September 30

    ‘Majority of Americans now say climate change makes hurricanes more intense’

    More intense than what? Not many Americans are going to spend time looking at stats of hurricanes of the past, and much of today’s media, especially social media, are unlikely to help by doing it for them. But if they did look they might find ‘intense’ hurricanes are nothing new.

    Like

    • Ron Clutz · September 30

      True that most don’t bother looking beneath the surface. Nor is that desired by the manipulators. Linking “storms” and “climate change” in public awareness is close enough to “storms prove climate change is real.”

      Like

  15. Pingback: Hurricanes Harvey and Irma Hysteria tied to Claims of Global Warming and Climate Change Debunked by Dr. Roy Spencer’s New Book says Friends of Science Society – ADC Voice

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s