The perilous state of the planet’s environmental health is a continuing concern among those who know the most about it: scientists, climatologists, and environmental advocates. Indeed, 97% of the scientists who have studied the matter agree that Climate Change is a fact and that it is caused by human activity.
In the face of that overwhelming consensus, Climate Change deniers continue cling to myths and fake research that is funded by fossil fuel interests and promoted by politicians who are bought and paid for by the same. The anti-science dimwits hold steadfastly to delusional beliefs that Climate Change is a hoax, or even a scam designed to enrich researchers and activists. That absurd contention is belied by the fact that there is much more money in Climate Change denial (via the billionaires in the energy industry) than in scarce grants to universities and research laboratories.
A recent survey by Ipsos MORI asked respondents from twenty countries to indicate whether or not they agreed with this statement: “The climate change we are currently seeing is largely the result of human activity.” The country with the greatest number of respondents who disagreed with that statement was the United States (We’re #1 – in climate denialism). We were followed closely by the United Kingdom and Australia.
Hmm…What do those three countries have in common? Well, they are all English speaking countries. And they are also all countries where the media is dominated by Rupert Murdoch. Can it be a coincidence that the people in these nations have a larger percentage of anti-science views than nations where Murdoch’s influence is not as strongly represented?
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Murdoch has taken some brazenly contradictory stances on Climate Change. On the one hand, he has directed his corporation to meet stringent carbon emission standards and even bragged publicly about achieving a goal of carbon neutrality. But simultaneously, his Fox News Channel took a starkly contrary position. Fox News Washington managing editor, Bill Sammon, went so far as to issue a memo instructing all personnel to…
“…refrain from asserting that the planet has warmed (or cooled) in any given period without IMMEDIATELY pointing out that such theories are based upon data that critics have called into question.”
Indeed. Unqualified, politically motivated critics have called into question the overwhelming evidence that Climate Change is occurring and that it is man-made. This obvious contradiction was justified by a Fox PR flack who painfully struggled to explain that the corporate policy “doesn’t bring with it an editorial mandate.” In other words, on the business side they will behave responsibly with regard to the environment, but on the air they will lie their asses off. In fact, Fox News’ efforts to deliberately misinform their already intellectually confused audience continues unabated. The Union of Concerned Scientists did a study proving that the coverage of Climate Change by Fox News was nearly all (93%) misleading:
“The analysis finds that the misleading citations include broad dismissals of human-caused climate change, rejections of climate science as a body of knowledge, and disparaging comments about individual scientists. Furthermore, much of this coverage denigrated climate science by either promoting distrust in scientists and scientific institutions or placing acceptance of climate change in an ideological, rather than fact-based, context.”
This is what happens when a single entity is permitted to control vast swaths of the mediasphere. False perceptions of otherwise non-controversial facts can be spread widely. This is particularly problematic when a significant percentage of the media marketplace is comprised of people who are willfully gullible and easily duped. And a powerful and determined media mogul like Murdoch can produce the gullibility he requires for his message to take hold by inundating the audience with fear and promises of salvation in exchange for their loyalty.
That is pretty much how Fox News helped to create and grow the Tea Party. And now we have a nation that has the dubious honor of being the home to more science-challenged boneheads than any of twenty other surveyed nations. Thank you Rupert Murdoch. And Britain and Australia thank you too.