July 29, 2010
The Left and Its Talking Points
The Journolist story demonstrates active, covert collaboration among leftists to plant political themes in the media. Long-time listeners of conservative talk radio are aware of audio montages where old-line media talking heads repeat verbatim a set of words that can't be anything other than shared talking points. A perfect example was the 2000-era Dick Cheney "gravitas" showcased by Rush Limbaugh.
It's one thing to ask how proper reporting of Obama might have changed the outcome of the election. I'll ask a bigger question: Did old-line media journalists share talking points to prop up the global warming issue?
In his August 2007 American Thinker article "Global Warming Propaganda Factory," Christopher Alleva described the coordinated efforts of the Society of Environmental Journalists:
I have often wondered how the media are in such lock step on Global Warming. Well, I wonder no more. Recently, I came across a website for the Society of Environmental Journalists (SEJ). This website is veritable tool box for any budding reporter assigned to the global warming beat. If you're an editor at the Palookaville Post, all you have to do is send your cub reporters to this site and they'll have everything they need to write an article that fits the template and action line perfectly.
In my own simpleminded quest to find out why skeptic scientists did not appear on one of the last bastions of fair-and-balanced news outlets, the PBS NewsHour, I received a reply from the PBS ombudsman in a phrase eerily repeated by others in the media dismissing the need to present skeptics:
Yes, we *could* have one of them [skeptics] in a story, or on a show, and have a representative of the "other side." But that would be false balance.
The concept of a "false journalistic need for balance" goes as far back as 1995, generated by a journalist named Ross Gelpspan and spread by a network of activists and institutions. The story is detailed in my American Thinker article earlier this month, "Smearing Global Warming Skeptics."
After writing that article, I still wanted to find out just how biased the NewsHour was in its global warming presentations, so I copied and counted online transcripts of the NewsHour going back to 1996. Out of 212 global warming-centered program segments, including some online background info pages, only three on-air segments had discussion of basic skeptic science, featuring Western Fuels CEO Fred Palmer, the Competitive Enterprise Institute's Chris Horner, and Joe Barton (R-TX), respectively, along with one web page. Barton's science quotes were very brief. All the other segments and web pages offered virtually no rebuttal to statements about man-caused global warming.
IPCC scientists Michael Oppenheimer, Stephen Schneider, and Kevin Trenberth spoke unopposed a great length about man-caused global warming seven, four, and two times, respectively. No skeptic scientists ever had an opportunity to present the myriad faults in the idea of man-caused global warming.
The most disturbing revelation was found in the December 5, 1997 interview of Fred Palmer, fourth-from-last paragraph:
MARGARET WARNER: ...but that because carbon dioxide, once it's up in the atmosphere, really doesn't disappear for a hundred years or more, that by the time the buildup gets enough--high enough to prove it--it's almost too late to do anything[.]
Her statement seems eerily paraphrased from Ross Gelbspan's The Heat is On book, released earlier that same year, top of page 12:
And since carbon dioxide lingers in the atmosphere for one to two hundred years, it will continue to disturb the global climate long after we drastically cut our fuel emissions ... By the time we actually feel the heavy brunt of climate-driven catastrophes, it may well be too late for us to preserve any semblance of democratic order.....
The "Journolist" problem is only the tip of the proverbial iceberg when it comes to the manipulation of global issues by a small number of people.