Monday, April 7, 2014

Fox News Bias Bash Bias Bash

NBC News did a special report Sunday, 'Ann Curry Reports: Our Year of Extremes - Did Climate Change Just Hit Home?'

Fox News has hated any kind of reporting supporting climate change. This well done piece by NBC News (not usually one of my favorite news sources) apparently made Fox News go into some kind of fit because they did a 'Bias Bash' piece with Cal Thomas that is simply laughable.

Right off the bat, Mr. Thomas begins by calling climate change a 'cult'. Immediately, we can see that Mr. Thomas and Fox News are not interested in having any kind of 'debate' that climate change skeptics keep saying they want.

The next point is to quote Dr. Leslie Woodcock, a professor emeritus at the University of Manchester. He is a physicist in the School of Chemical Engineering and Analytical Science. Really? If I wanted to make a refute climate change I would have found me a climatologist. What was that you said? You can't find one the says climate change isn't real? Maybe that is because its real. At least, Dr. Woodcock is a real scientist.

Dr. Woodcock's objection to global warming is that 'Water is a much more powerful greenhouse gas and there is 20 times more of it in our atmosphere'. This is a really perfect example of how the climate change deniers use false arguments and half truths to deceive people. What he says is true, but incomplete. Obviously, what he is trying to say is that climate change is invalid because water vapor is the cause of global warming, not CO2. And, there is the lie.

Yes, water vapor is a better greenhouse gas than CO2. But, that isn't the cause of the warming, its a result. What happens is that the CO2 causes the temperature to rise. The amount of water vapor in the atmosphere is directly connected to the temperature, so as the temperature increases the amount of water vapor also increases. Water vapor then causes the temperature to go up even more.So, yes, water vapor is a potent greenhouse gas, but the reason water vapor is increasing is because CO2 is causing the temperature to increase in the first place. Without something to cause the temperature to rise in the first place, the amount of water vapor would not increase.

Next, Mr. Thomas brings out the case of Dr. Richard Tol. Dr. Tol is a professor of economics and an expert on climate change. He was a member of the IPCC and gained fame when he refused to sign the IPCC report, claiming it was alarmist. He claims he has since been subject to a smear campaign from a certain individual as a result of his actions. Mr. Thomas cites this as evidence that climate change science is a 'cult.'

If, in fact, Dr. Tol is being subjected to a smear campaign as a result of his stand on the IPCC report I agree that it is an unethical, and possibly illegal, action. But, I don't have all the facts and I am not willing to claim his allegations are true. I certainly hope not.

But, that does not mean anything regarding the validity of climate change science. In fact, Dr. Tol himself stands by the science. He has stated that he considers the science sound, he just disagrees with the resulting scenario painted out in the IPCC report. That fact that one person involved with the report disagrees with the results predicted in the IPCC report does not, in any way, invalidate the science of climate change. But, it makes a good headline for the deniers. And, of course, Mr. Thomas reports this as if every person supporting climate change science is involved in some grand conspiracy to persecute Dr. Tol. That is an obvious false statement. Yet another one on the part of Cal Thomas.

Then, Mr. Thomas goes into 'big government,' something most of us don't care for. His implication is that the only reason we have climate change science supporting the notion of global warming is because 'big government' wants to control more of our lives. So, by denying climate change you are a hero in the fight against 'big government.' This entire position of Mr. Thomas is simply silly. Climate change science is multi-national and is supported by every scientific agency of any size throughout the world. If 'big government' had that kind of reach it wouldn't need to fake climate change science, it could just go out and do what it wanted to do.

Then, Mr. Thomas pulls out the tried, and proven false, claim that there hasn't been any 'real' warming in more than a dozen years. Again, this is a totally false claim the deniers like to pull out. Let's look at the facts. First, nine of the ten warmest years ever recorded have occurred since the year 2000, including the hottest three years on record. But, more importantly, the deniers such as Cal Thomas take the air temperature and claim it represents global warming. The word 'global' in global warming means the entire planet. Ocean temperatures have been going up dramatically over the last 50 years and this fact is typically ignored by people such as Mr. Thomas. It would not fit their program if they included it. It also wouldn't fit their program to mention it takes about 4 times as much heat to warm a given mass of water as it takes to warm the same mass of air. When you include rising ocean temperatures, it is very clear that global warming has been continuing at an alarming rate.

Mr. Thomas' next claim is that Newsweek ran an article in the 1970s that 'proved' global cooling was coming. This is a true, but misleading statement. It is true that Newsweek ran a cover story in 1975 that global cooling was on the way. But, it is a false statement that this was the consensus claim among climate scientists. What the news media decides to run is out of the hands of scientists. And, the fact that the news media reports something doesn't make it true. It is a false argument to clam that, because Newsweek ran an article, climate change science is invalid. This is yet another way the climate change deniers try to deceive people.

One of Mr. Thomas' final statements is one of my favorite lies, and yes, it is a lie. He states that science is never settled and is being constantly revised. No, Mr. Thomas, this is just not true. Science is constantly being refined and constantly being made more accurate. To state that science is constantly being revised means we routinely come in and throw out everything we stated before. Again, let me state that this is a lie. We learn more and that leads to an improvement of what we understand, but what we learn must support what we already know. We are not going to come in and say that Newton's law of gravity is wrong and throw it out. We might come in and say there is some factor we didn't know about before that needs to be included. But, science at this point has been thoroughly tested. What we know may be incomplete, but is unlikely to be completely wrong and it is a lie for Mr. Thomas to say we can ignore climate science because we might come out at some time in the future and realize the science is all wrong. That is simply not going to happen. The science is way too sound.

Mr. Thomas finishes by stating this isn't settled science and it isn't even 'real science' according to the detractors, but those deniers don't get interviewed by the media. In fact, one of the biggest problems we have is that the deniers are interviewed in the media as if they are equally credible. People then point at the one denier as evidence and ignore the thousands of scientists that claim climate change is real.

In summary, Cal Thomas did a hatchet job on the NBC documentary. He did not produce any single piece of evidence to refute the claims made in the show, yet he claims it isn't 'real science.' The fact is, the science really is settled and the only way you can deny climate change is to deny science. Mr. Thomas at least succeeded in proving that point.

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