Reply To: Global warming a tough issue for the media


Seems the US media – rather like dear old George “Warmer” Bush – is having a tough time getting to grips with global warming, and the magnitude and immediacy of the issue.

Media analysis by Fairness and aAccuracy in Reporting includes:

The first IPCC report, issued on February 2, focused on the now-overwhelming evidence that the dramatic rise in global temperatures over the last century (about 1.3 degrees Fahrenheit total), and especially the last decade, is due to human emissions of greenhouse gases. “Warming of the climate system is unequivocal,” concluded the IPCC, noting that 11 of the 12 warmest years on record have occurred since 1995, while the polar ice caps are melting and sea levels rising at increasing rates. The panel concluded that there is greater than 95 percent certainty that human activity is to blame.

The next day (2/3/07), alarmed headlines greeted newspaper readers: “Official: Global Warming Is All Our Fault.” “World’s Scientists Convinced That Humans Cause Global Warming.” “Worse Than We Thought: Report Warns of 4 C Rise by 2100: Floods and Food and Water Shortages Likely.”

None of those, though, were seen by readers of U.S. newspapers–they appeared in, respectively, Britain’s Daily Telegraph, Financial Times and Guardian. The same day’s U.S. headlines were mostly far more demure: “U.N. Study Spurs Call to Fight Warming” (Boston Globe); “From Global Warming Report, U.S. Feels Heat” (Chicago Tribune). The New York Times titled its front-page story “Science Panel Calls Global Warm-ing ‘Unequivocal'”–ducking the more significant finding that not only is climate change underway, but that human-created greenhouse gases are the culprit.

Doubt Global Warming? Read Different News

Major U.S. Papers Less Likely Than International Counterparts To Confront Threat – short intro, then includes the analysis.