The original idea behind the name of the group Moveon.org was aimed at Congress to get past nominal indiscretions perpetrated by Bill Clinton in the Oval Office and deal with more pressing issues. Balance on climate change is largely the same problem for PBS, which cannot seem to accept global climate change as settled science and so must continually provide denialists a counterpoint to…? I don’t know what but it’s very annoying.
Last night, PBS NewsHour turned to meteorologist and climate change contrarian Anthony Watts to “counterbalance” the mainstream scientific opinions presented by the program. This false balance is a disservice to PBS’ viewers, made worse by the program’s failure to explain Watts’ connection to the Heartland Institute, an organization that receives funding from some corporations with a financial interest in confusing the public on climate science.
While PBS mentioned that 97 percent of climate scientists agree that manmade global warming is occurring, it did not reflect this consensus by giving significant airtime to Watts’ contrarian views. The segment presented Watts as the counterbalance to scientists that believe in manmade global warming — every time a statement that reflects the scientific consensus was aired, in came Watts to cast doubt in viewers’ minds.
As Revkin explains and is mentioned in the MM piece, the goal of groups like the Heartland Institute is segments just like this. They don’t exist to further the science, but to distract from solving the problem. That’s a story; that the fossil energy industry doesn’t buy AGW is not. I’ll soon be hosting an interview show on PBS affiliate and so don’t know whether this makes my criticism more or less valid. But come on.
And this is the rubber-glue Romney strategy as employed by Watts in the PBS piece, accusing global warming of becoming a big business as Watts does when it’s denial that has actually become an industry in its own right, funding astro think tanks and employing former TV weathermen to further a controversy that serves the interests of more of the same, in terms of polluting, non-renewable energy.