Anti-Climate Science Bias On The Op-Ed Pages: Major Newspapers Guilty Of Tilting The Scales
If you’ve ever wondered why nothing substantial ever seems to get done about the clear science of climate change showing that the planet is in deep trouble if we don’t mend our fossil fuel burning ways, you’re not alone.
The record hottest months keep occurring, and the COP21 environmental summit in France was widely derided as a bad joke of a PR stunt that will keep fossil fuel interests–and their stockholders–happy without doing jack about climate change, as there are no actual restrictions or penalties for nations who don’t comply with the targets outlined in the agreement.
Yet we see massive storms in conjunction with 1000-year floods seemingly every year. We see sea levels rising, record temperatures and massive snowstorms become increasingly the new normal.
We know the climate is changing and has already changed a great deal; why can’t we get anything done about it?
Well aside from the obvious fact that the nation’s representatives are quite firmly in the pocket of big oil, there is also a problem among opinion leaders who are leading in the wrong direction.
A recent study shows just how deep the disparity its between the opinion pages of some of the biggest mainstream newspapers and reality, and the numbers were shocking.
And yet they weren’t all that shocking. Unsurprisingly, the Rupert Murdoch-owned Wall Street Journal, that staid old bastion of money uber alles published some 33 percent of its climate-related opinion pieces with climate science denial or other scientifically inaccurate information, according to a study by Media Matters.
These pieces included information claiming that human climate impact is difficult to distinguish from natural variability in climate, information that attempted to cast doubt on the reliability of climate models that predict global warming, and claims that the sea level rise hasn’t increased in recent years.
Of 93 climate-related opinion pieces in the WSJ, 31 contained information of this sort, making the paper far and away the leader among those spreading disinformation on climate. Bringing up a distant second place was the USA Today, which published 12 percent of its opinion pieces on climate-related topics with misinformation. Indeed, this number was a bit surprisingly low, as the paper’s deputy editorial page editor David Mastio, who edits the op-ed page, has described himself as a climate denier.
Only three percent of the Washington Post’s climate-related opinion pieces were found to contain misinformation of this sort, and all three were penned by columnist George Will.
Of the four newspapers the study examined, only the New York Times was found to have had an opinion page free from climate science denial or error.
So if you’re wondering why political leaders are not sounding the alarm on climate change, it might be because they are listening to people who aren’t alarmed enough about it.