Consensus in, false balance out


It is a mystery how someone can state with a straight face that there is a false balance on global warming reporting in the media.

False balanced being: the bias with which journalists present an issue as more balanced than the actual evidence supports. In Climatese this is explained like: 97% of the scientists believe that our CO2 emissions are the cause for global warming/climate change. Therefor it is not a good thing to spend equal representation on both, because this gives the impression that both are valid.

This was also the theme of Suzanne Goldenberg talk in “Crossing the 2014 Climate Divide: Scientists, Skeptics & the Media”. That’s how she explained it:

I think this is a problem when you come to the world of climate denial. Because these voices are very much at the fringe, right. And yet we are continuing to see these voices being inserted into coverage, as if they were part of the mainstream debate. And that really is not the case.


So I think, having the idea of false balance overstates the importance of what essentially are fringe groups that have thrust themselves in positions of prominence.


And yet this creates problems for journalists to a great degree. There is a false balance issue. I find, you know, if we take our traditional journalist way to cover things, that you have to take equal times on both voices. That creates a problem.

Mainly, a small, powerful, prominent group of people who make it difficult for journalists, because they have that incredible urge to give both sides equal time. Water comes into my eyes. Poor alarmists, they are so in the disadvantage in the media. 😉

Now back from the land of the unicorns to something called “reality”.

Some sort of balance on global warming reporting in the media? Huh? One needs to be seriously out of touch with reality to even consider believing that! If there is a balance, why don’t we hear more about the views of skeptic scientists, about the arctic ice for almost 1.5 year back in the 2 standard deviation, about the ever increasing antarctic ice, about the failed predictions, about the failed models, about the backpedaling on sensitivity and so on. Heck, there are people who aren’t even aware of something like the standstill in global temperatures. They think it is still ever warming. That is what the media is still telling us.

Back then when I was still a believer, I knew absolutely nothing about the views of skeptics scientists. Even when the skeptic vision was explained, it was done by the alarmists themselves, distorting it in a way they could claim that it is safe to ignore those skeptics with their wacky ideas. But when looking more deeper into the global warming issue, I came to realize that the skeptics were present on the Internet where they could talk freely. But you definitely had to search from them. The reporting of the alarmist views on the other hand is rolling unobstructed via the mainstream media. There are of course exceptions, but they are just that, exceptions. When following the mainstream media I still have the impression that there is not much improvement.

But why on earth declaring a balance that is not even there?!?!

It changes the public perception towards skeptics voices. It makes an emotional response to the public that consider the skeptic voices automatically as invalid without even looking at the issue.

Skeptical Science went into hyperbole mode and called it The epidemic of climate science false balance in the media:

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.

For the public the consensus can be very important and without that consensus, there is no reason for excluding skeptic voices. No skeptic voices means only one united (alarmist) voice to the public.

That last part of the sentence is just a straw man. The “inability to solve the climate problem” has many other reasons than false balance. For example in our country where there are hardly any skeptic voices in the mainstream media and even an overwhelming majority of politicians who want to do “something”, there is hardly any action on climate change. There are many reasons why this is the case, but as far as I know, at least in our little country, false balance in the media is not one of them.

To me the big question beyond false balance is: What EXACTLY is there a consensus on? The answer could be very revealing.

2 thoughts on “Consensus in, false balance out

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