LJWorld.com weblogs Science Becoming Religion
Reporters as Prostitutes
Reporting on the issue of "global warming" demonstrates that often the only difference between reporters and prostitutes is that prostitutes understand what type business they are in. Many reporters are allowing themselves to be used by politicians and others to con the viewers and readers the reporters are supposed to be serving.30 years ago as a graduate student I took some journalism courses. At that time reporters were encouraged to get more than one opinion on issues and to avoid taking sides by reporting allegations as facts. A phrase like "according to" some source should precede or follow whatever claim the source is making.Many reporters willingly repeat the allegation that "greenhouse gases are causing global warming" as if it were an accepted fact instead of a subject of controversy. News stories will state that "CO2 causes global warming" without presenting any evidence to support the allegation. Those who support this hypothesis cannot provide evidence because the process doesn't exist.The situation is occurring in spite of the fact that it is easier for reporters to find alternate opinions than it was 30 years ago. In the 70's reporters had to contact other news sources and ask for other opinions. Today reporters can use internet search engines to find quotes from other sources, including experts who aren't well known, with just a few mouse clicks.Good reporters should be skeptical of their sources and recognize that people who willingly talk to reporters are usually attempting to gain acceptance for their points of view. Such sources may get away with misrepresenting the facts when reporters don't bother to check the validity of statements. Reporters who don't understand the issues they are reporting on are particularly vulnerable.Why should reporters who don't understand science be skeptical of the claims about "greenhouse gases causing global warming"?First, those making the claim admit that average temperatures only increased by 1 F (0.5C) (about 0.17%) during the entire 20th Century. Average temperatures can vary by more than that from one day to the next or from a shady area to a sunny area only a few feet apart.In an era when even priests and preachers can be crooks, there is no reason to assume scientists will tell the truth.Those scientists who believe in global warming sometimes claim that those who disagree are being paid to do so by oil companies, etc. If these scientists don't believe scientists as a group can be trusted to tell the truth why should reporters? Have reporters checked to see how many of those scientists who support global warming claims are being paid to do so.The scientist as con artist is an old movie plot that is based on fact. There have been recent cases of scientists being caught presenting false data to support their claims in addition to those who claim they can provide miracle cures for diseases.The claim that a minor atmospheric gas (0.036% of the atmosphere) can determine air temperatures sounds too much like magic to be taken at face value.Statements by global warming claimants about punishing those who disagree with them should raise a red flag with any real journalist who supports freedom of speech. Such statements made by individuals in authority positions can indicate fear that someone will find out they are wrong. Scientists who believe they are correct welcome challenges.If the idea of "global warming" is valid why do those who support it feel they have to exaggerate everything. Many of their claims sound too much like the traditional Hollywood disaster movie plot to be believable, particularly the claims of the great exaggerator, Al Gore.Journalists have criticized the U.S. military for "planting" stories about the Iraq conflict. NASA's Gavin Schmidt has been running an ostensibly private website supporting NASA's claims about global warming for some time. If the claim about global warming is valid, why does the government need to set up a propaganda site to plant information supporting the claim?S.. Fred Singer who was the first director of the National Weather Satellite Service has questioned claims about global warming for years. John Coleman who founded the Weather Channel recently called the global warming claim the greatest scam in history, but reporters ignore him because they have already made up their minds and aren't interested in facts. How many of those who call themselves journalists have bothered to check with these well known experts?Real journalists report both sides of controversial issues. Propagandists only present one side.Perhaps it is unfair to compare reporters to prostitutes. Prostitutes are professionals who are provide their services to those who pay them. Reporters who present only one side of an issue don't serve the people who pay them.