Media Myth: Networks Stick to Warming Theme Despite Avalanche of Chilling News

Julia A. Seymour
Business & Media
Thursday, March 5, 2009

Temperatures have plummeted to record or near-record lows in 32 states this winter. On March 2, a global warming protest in Washington, D.C. was buried by nearly a foot of snow. And a new study warns that the Earth could be in for a 30-year cooling trend. Reality is not cooperating with the network news’ global warming theme, yet reporters are unwilling to even discuss the possibility that the Earth is cooling.

Global warming alarmists repeatedly link weather phenomena like tornadoes, hurricanes, ice melt, droughts and wildfires with global warming and the media embrace the stories. Yet, when cities or regions are buried in snow like the city of Chenzhou, China was in February 2008 there wasn’t a word about climate change in the cooling direction.

“It is being called China’s Hurricane Katrina,” NBC anchor Brian Williams said on Feb. 4, 2008. “… the month of blizzards that have brought it [China] to a virtual standstill. Millions have been stranded. Hundreds of thousands of people are homeless.” Williams didn’t chalk up the devastation to global cooling, of course. That doesn’t fit the media’s warming narrative.

James Hansen, a leading global warming alarmist, promoted a “civil disobedience” protest at a Washington, D.C. coal power plant March 2. The protestors claim that coal – and its carbon emissions are a cause of global warming. Hansen and his friends were greeted with 8 inches of snow, “strong” winds and below freezing temperatures.

The same day, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and the House Select Energy Independence and Global Warming Chairman Edward Markey, D-Mass., both had to cancel appearances at another global warming event on Capitol Hill because of the snowy weather.

Those protests did not make the evening news programs on March 2. They may have been crowded out by coverage of the “epic” winter storm on all three networks – still there wasn’t a single mention of a cooling cycle.



ABC, CBS and NBC haven’t used the phrase “global cooling” at all since Jan. 1, 2008, despite many instances of “record cold,” “record snow” and reports from scientists that the world has been cooling off slightly since 2000 or 2001, according to a Nexis search.

The term, “cooling trend,” when used on the networks only referred to global climate twice. In both cases the phrase was used by Gov. Sarah Palin. A search for “cooling” and “climate” turned up 10 mentions, but only one example of the media reporting cooler temperatures.

Compare those figures to a Nexis search for “global warming” that yielded 336 hits between Jan. 1, 2008 and March 2, 2009. A search for “global warming” or “climate change” nabbed 571 hits during the same time.

Even in the midst of a major cold spell, ABC returned to the global warming stories. On March 3, 2009, the network continued to hype the idea that the North Pole will soon be ice-free, but ignored the fact that as of fall 2008 arctic ice caps had grown by 150,000 square miles.

Lows Can’t Get Us Down

Even record low temperatures, record snowfalls and snow in odd places didn’t stop the network media from worrying about the threat of global warming.

On Feb. 12, 2008, “Good Morning America” said that 32 states were experiencing record lows or nearly record lows. Las Vegas and Texas both had snow in December 2008, and in November 2008 North Carolina and Georgia were facing January temperatures.

Still, the networks remained virtually silent on the possibility of global cooling, and even kept up the drumbeat of global warming stories.

ABC’s weather editor Sam Champion was the only person on three networks who mentioned a NASA report which said 2008 was the coldest year since 2000. But he was cautious:

“It feels like the coldest winter in years. And a report from NASA climate scientists says 2008 was the coolest year since 2000,” Champion told “Good Morning America” viewers on Jan. 15. “But they caution this was caused in part by a cooling La Nina in the Pacific and warn global warming is still playing an important part in our changing climate.”

On Inauguration Day 2009, as Washington, D.C. collectively shivered from the 28 degree temperature, plus a wind chill that made it feel like 18 degrees outside, NBC historian Michael Beschloss brought up the specter of “global warming.”

Beschloss was discussing the inaugural parade and as the camera turned to President Barack Obama, First Lady Michelle Obama and their two children walking to the reviewing box, he described the scene: “And this wooden path that they’re walking down actually dates to many previous inaugurations because a lot of them had snow. It may just be that because of global warming the last few have not.” (Emphasis added)

Cool It

The fact is a number of studies and scientists have warned that the Earth might be in a cooling phase – despite the networks silence on the matter.

Meteorologist Joseph D’Aleo, the executive director of International Climate and Environmental Change Assessment Project (ICECAP), recently “quibbled” with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) data since 1880 which shows a spike in mean temperature.

D’Aleo told CNN anchor Lou Dobbs, “f you look at the satellite data, which is the most reliable data, the best coverage of the globe – 2008 was the 14th coldest in 30 years. That doesn’t jibe with the tenth warmest in 159 years in the Hadley data set or 113 or 114 years in the NOAA set.”

Discovery News announced on March 2 that a new study from Geophysical Research Letters suggests “global warming may have hit a speed bump and could go into hiding for decades.”

Kyle Swanson of the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee thinks the cooling trend could last up to 30 years, but cautioned that it would be a “hiccup” in the warming of the Earth according to Discovery News. “When the climate kicks back out of this state, we’ll have explosive warming.”

Atmospheric scientist William Gray has also said temperatures are dropping. Gray cited a “weak cooling trend since 2001,” according to the Feb. 16 Barron’s, and he predicted a “modest naturally driven global cooling over the next 15-20 years,” similar to the 1940s to ‘70s.

Back in February 2008, Fox News anchor Brit Hume reported that “all four major global temperature tracking outlets have released data showing that temperatures have dropped significantly over the last year.”

“California meteorologist Anthony Watts says the amount of cooling ranges from 65-hundredths of a degree Centigrade to 75-hundreds of a degree,” Hume continued. “That is said to be a value large enough to erase nearly all the global warming recorded over the past 100 years. It is reportedly the single fastest temperature change ever recorded – up or down.”

Media Myth: Networks Stick to Warming Theme Despite Avalanche of Chilling News