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Climate Change Messaging: FOX News Still Destroying Civil Conversation

| Wednesday August 31st, 2011 | 2 Comments

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I know I may be feeding the trolls with this post, but that’s part of the fun. Right now, the issue of “climate change” has become so politically charged it’s almost impossible to discuss without a tsunami of vitriol and conspiratorial accusations overcoming the conversation (at least as far as “mainstream” media is concerned) to the point where rational discussion is almost impossible.

The worst thing about this? It is all very much according to plan – a plan hatched primarily by FOX news and other so-called conservative media outlets hell bent on doing anything they can to confuse Americans about a multitude of environmental issues to prevent political action on them. Or something like that.

The FOX News technique is well known – latch on to minor uncertainties and repeat them incessantly until enough people have doubts. Be utterly relentless about it and do not budge, even if the facts are against you. Do not reason or converse civilly.

Case in point: John Huntsman is among the most reasonable and likable Republican presidential candidates. He proudly acknowledges the scientific consensus on climate change. Watch (above) as huntsman gets cut off by FOX news during an interview when he starts to talk about global warming. For the record, the fellow on the right is likely referring to “climate gate” a thoroughly debunked non-scandal. Watch again (below) as one FOX commentator goes so far as to admit “the facts are on the side of Huntsman” but that apparently, it “doesn’t matter” because facts are not resonating with voters. It’s breathtaking:

If FOX were a joke, like The Onion, I’d find this type of production brilliantly funny. But sadly, millions of Americans remain riveted to this drivel. FOX, for whatever reason, has very deliberately chosen to muddy the waters of civil conversation in a manner that can only be called diabolical – putting down a potential winner for Republicans in favor of bottom of the barrel, head-in-sand thinking. Hilariously for a network that claims to be a champion of conservatives, Huntsman is right – anti science vitriol will eventually sink Republicans.

But politics shouldn’t be a part of any of this.

Readers of 3p need no reminding that there is no debate that humanity is profoundly impacting the planet and our own species – including adding to the greenhouse effect and higher average global temperatures. There’s nothing wrong with debate as to exactly how these changes will affect us. There is plenty of debate as to exactly what Government’s role should be in addressing them, and plenty of debate on what we can or should do about it. Will we evolve gracefully as Carl Sagan suggested we could or will our petty squabbles and incompetence doom us? Watching FOX news makes me very pessimistic towards the latter.

Regardless of one’s political persuasion, if one has a reasonable grasp of the cosmos and our existence in it, then the inanity of FOX news has to hit a nerve. My two cents on the matter are to question whether your company, as a responsible corporate citizen, should be advertising on their network. Many activist sites keep a tally of who their financial supporters are (here’s one to start with). Is your company on the list? Perhaps you’d care to have a word with FOX, or maybe pull the plug entirely?

Wouldn’t you rather support media that encourages honest conversation, inspires solutions, and at least recognizes reality? That’s good for them, me, your business and the economy at large. Companies that take sustainability seriously will ultimately be the leaders in the future economy. As Hunter Lovins always says, “What’s the business case for destroying the planet?”


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  • Jonathan Mariano

    IMHO, I don’t think believers of global warming will be able to convince non-believers (and vice versa for that fact). A persons position on global warming has become tightly entwined with ones political philosophy, that it is difficult to see the other side of the story in terms of science and/or politics.

    • Nick Aster

      Yeah, and that’s the problem, and these clowns at Fox have been driving it. I don’t see this as a matter of “belief” anyhow. It’s just matter of systems thinking – which is not really something you “believe in” or not, it’s about awareness.

      It’s also true that those who get over the top on doomsday talk are not doing the conversation any favors either – the Fox crowd’s “belief” is often a reaction to the “alarmists” who may be overreacting… and then it just creates a feedback loop.