“False Balance” in Journalism Doesn’t Represent Scientific Understanding Of Climate Change

VIa Media Matters
VIa Media Matters

It may seem like Groundhog Day for frequent readers of this site, but it is vitally important that facts about climate change are in some way able to compete in the information marketplace with the falsities so often spewed out from the leading news outlets.

Here, we feature another academic study displaying evidence that journalists’ desire to present “balanced” coverage of an issue leads to a misrepresentation of facts and rather than illuminates, makes the truth harder to understand.

See the link for the full report:

UN Report Showed Warming To Be “Unequivocal.” The United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) fifth assessment report, the first part of which was released in September 2013 along with a Summary for Policymakers, found that “warming of the climate system is unequivocal” and will continue under all greenhouse gas emissions scenarios. Further, the panel found that human influence is now thought “extremely likely” — representing 95 percent certainty — to be the “dominant cause” of global warming since the mid-20th century. [IPCC, 9/27/13]

False Balance Doesn’t Represent Scientific Understanding Of Climate Change. Scientists are as certain that climate change is a man-made threat as they are that cigarettes can kill. But when journalists bend too far to include “both sides” of the story, it hides that the weight of the facts lies on one side. As Professor Richard Somerville of UC San Diego wrote in a Letter to the Editor criticizing the San Diego Union-Tribune, false balance “gives your readers the impression that we scientists know much less about climate change than we actually do, and that the subject is much more controversial among scientific experts than it really is.” [Associated Press, 9/24/13] [San Diego Union-Tribune6/22/13]

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