It’s no wonder that getting people to believe that global warming is a bona fide phenomenon, let alone getting them to take action to combat it, is an uphill battle. Earlier this year, in a study published in the journal Public Understanding of Science, researchers found that politically conservative media outlets like Fox News actually perpetuate the myth that global warming isn’t a reality which in turn decreases viewer trust in scientists.
For instance, the news stories that occurred leading up to the release of the latest Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report demonstrated that conservative media outlets perpetuated the illusion of a false balance on the issue. Fox News was particularly guilty, representing climate contrarians in 69% of their IPCC stories.
After being accused of having a bias in their news reporting, Fox had a non-expert, Marlo Lewis, from a conservative fossil fuel-funded think tank, the Competitive Enterprise Institute, deny publicly that there is an expert consensus on human-caused global warming – even after a peer reviewed studied earlier this year demonstrated that 97% of peer reviewed climate abstracts and papers about the cause of global warming all agree that humans are responsible.
The right is able to dismiss global warming through five effective tactics: conspiracy theories, using fake experts, cherry picking the information reported, calling for impossible expectations of what scientific research is able to deliver, and intentional misrepresentation of the issue and logical fallacies.
Climate change contrarians also politicize the issue. Instead of it being about the earth as we know it going into a steep decline based on human actions, the issue becomes instead the political agenda of left-wing liberals. The tagline of Fox News is Fair and Balanced. Hmm… Not so much.
The only thing this squaring off does is waste precious time that should be spent on taking action.