Some 97 out of 100 actively publishing climate scientists agree with the overwhelming evidence that humans are causing global warming.
The challenge for the media is how to accurately reflect that consensus. One way NOT to do it is to give equal time to climate science deniers. Unsurprisingly (yet tragically), that is the preferred strategy of most of the MSM. False balance lives at CNN, Reuters, Bloomberg, and even PBS.
Only one cable news show has been brave enough to take on false balance with a “statistically representative climate change debate.” Unfortunately, it’s a fake news show, John Oliver’s “Last Week Tonight,” on HBO. Here is the must-see segment:
Sadly, this is no laughing matter. False balance and media miscoverage have left the public with a serious misperception about the degree of scientific agreement on climate change:
And as Skeptical Science has noted, this “consensus gap” matters: “Research has shown that people who are unaware of the expert consensus are less likely to accept the science and less likely to support taking action to address the problem, so media false balance can be linked directly to our inability to solve the climate problem.”
All scientists and media outlets should heed the “advice to climate scientists on how to avoid being swift-boated,” from History professor Juan Cole:
“Any broadcast that pits a climate change skeptic against a serious climate scientist is automatically a win for the skeptic, since a false position is being given equal time and legitimacy.”
By. Joe Romm of Climate Progress