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Polar Bears as Props By: Bill Steigerwald
FrontPageMagazine.com | Thursday, November 01, 2007


Al Gore hasn't secretly bought every mainstream media news outlet, has he?

Then why do so few journalists even pretend anymore to play fair, straight and skeptical on global warming?

This swing to subjective journalism on environmental issues began decades ago. But it reached a tipping point in 2001, when both U.S. News & World Report and Time jettisoned all pretense of objectivity and cranked out sensationalized cover stories about the various apocalypses that anthropogenic global warming was certain to bring to our tender planet.

Since then, most mainstream journalists effectively have decreed that the global warming debate is over, that man's fossil-fuel burnAl Gore hasn't secretly bought every mainstream media news outlet, has he? Then why do so few journalists even pretend anymore to play fair, straight and skeptical on global warming? This swing to subjective journalism on environmental issues began decades ago. But it reached a tipping point in 2001, when both U.S. News & World Report and Time jettisoned all pretense of objectivity and cranked out sensationalized cover stories about the various apocalypses that anthropogenic global warming was certain to bring to our tender planet. Since then, most mainstream journalists effectively have decreed that the global warming debate is over, that man's fossil-fuel burning is the primary culprit and that anyone who doesn't parrot the James Hansen-Laurie David party line that humans are in deep and imminent trouble is in bed with ExxonMobil or is the moral and intellectual equivalent of a Holocaust denier. Today you rarely see or hear a skeptical peep on catastrophic global warming from CBS, NBC, PBS, NPR, The New York Times, The Washington Post, Newsweek or the already-know-it-alls at The New Yorker. Scientific American has devolved into a huckster for Al Gore. The senile tough guys at "60 Minutes" have gone soft. Only John Stossel of ABC's "20/20" can be counted on to regularly challenge the media's alarmist consensus on climate change. Compare skeptic Stossel to Anderson Cooper. For his laughably one-sided "Planet in Peril" special last week, Cooper jetted to Greenland's treacherous ice sheets to demonstrate, ad nauseam, that global warming is causing glaciers there to melt at a faster rate than 10 years ago. In their journalism snow job, Cooper and his producers made sure to include the media's pet climate alarmist, NASA's James Hansen, but they left out the elements invariably left out when global warming issues are reported: balance and perspective. No ice chip of skepticism threatened CNN's scary story line. Cooper -- who made a major gaffe when he said 40 percent of Greenland's ice sheet had gone away in the last 40 years -- did manage to admit it was not likely the island's 630,000 cubic miles of ice were going to melt anytime soon. But for perspective's sake, he might have noted how Greenland got its name -- because it was hotter -- and greener -- 900 years ago than it is today. So couldn't its current warming be part of a natural long-term cycle? Sorry, doesn't fit the standard story line. Jeff Corwin's up-close-and-personal encounter with polar bears for "Planet in Peril" was just as journalistically sloppy. He rode along with a scientist who used a helicopter to chase down and dart a mother bear and her two cubs, who then were weighed and had who knows what else in the name of science done to them to see how they are coping with the shrinking polar ice cap that has liberaldom's top journalists in such a panic. Polar bears -- the official charismatic poster mammals of catastrophic global warming -- are under stress, underweight, acting strange and in danger of becoming extinct by 2050, the star of the Animal Planet channel said somberly. How many polar bears are there in the Arctic? How many separate bear populations? Are they all losing bears? Are they maybe under stress because they are being terrorized by helicopters, shot full of drugs and manhandled by mad scientists? Don't ask Corwin, Cooper or CNN. They were too busy exploiting polar bears the same way most of their fellow journalists in the unfair and unbalanced news media do -- as cliched props in a propaganda war.. ing is the primary culprit and that anyone who doesn't parrot the James Hansen-Laurie David party line that humans are in deep and imminent trouble is in bed with ExxonMobil or is the moral and intellectual equivalent of a Holocaust denier.

Today you rarely see or hear a skeptical peep on catastrophic global warming from CBS, NBC, PBS, NPR, the New York Times, The Washington Post, Newsweek, or the already-know-it-alls at The New Yorker.

Scientific American has devolved into a huckster for Al Gore. The senile tough guys at "60 Minutes" have gone soft. Only John Stossel of ABC's "20/20" can be counted on to regularly challenge the media's alarmist consensus on climate change.

Compare skeptic Stossel to Anderson Cooper. For his laughably one-sided "Planet in Peril" special last week, Cooper jetted to Greenland's treacherous ice sheets to demonstrate, ad nauseam, that global warming is causing glaciers there to melt at a faster rate than 10 years ago.

In their journalism snow job, Cooper and his producers made sure to include the media's pet climate alarmist, NASA's James Hansen, but they left out the elements invariably left out when global warming issues are reported: balance and perspective.

No ice chip of skepticism threatened CNN's scary story line. Cooper -- who made a major gaffe when he said 40 percent of Greenland's ice sheet had gone away in the last 40 years -- did manage to admit it was not likely the island's 630,000 cubic miles of ice were going to melt anytime soon.

But for perspective's sake, he might have noted how Greenland got its name -- because it was hotter -- and greener -- 900 years ago than it is today. So couldn't its current warming be part of a natural long-term cycle? Sorry, doesn't fit the standard story line.

Jeff Corwin's up-close-and-personal encounter with polar bears for "Planet in Peril" was just as journalistically sloppy. He rode along with a scientist who used a helicopter to chase down and dart a mother bear and her two cubs, who then were weighed and had who knows what else in the name of science done to them to see how they are coping with the shrinking polar ice cap that has liberaldom's top journalists in such a panic.

Polar bears -- the official charismatic poster mammals of catastrophic global warming -- are under stress, underweight, acting strange and in danger of becoming extinct by 2050, the star of the Animal Planet channel said somberly.

How many polar bears are there in the Arctic? How many separate bear populations? Are they all losing bears? Are they maybe under stress because they are being terrorized by helicopters, shot full of drugs and manhandled by mad scientists?

Don't ask Corwin, Cooper or CNN. They were too busy exploiting polar bears the same way most of their fellow journalists in the unfair and unbalanced news media do -- as cliched props in a propaganda war..

Bill Steigerwald is the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review's associate editor. Call him at (412) 320-7983. E-mail him at: bsteigerwald@tribweb.com.


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