On Factual Literacy and Media Responsibility In The Age Of Fox News and Rush Limbaugh

Tue, 2010-08-31 16:05Jim Hoggan
Jim Hoggan's picture

On Factual Literacy and Media Responsibility In The Age Of Fox News and Rush Limbaugh

This New York Times online editorial last week by Tim Egan, “Building a Nation of Know-Nothings,” says a lot about the need for literacy, respect for facts and rational thought all being important building blocks for democracy.  

Egan notes the “astonishing level of willful ignorance” evident among the public, thanks to the lies and distortions put forward “largely by design” by Rush Limbaugh and Fox News, “aided by a press afraid to call out the primary architects of the lies.”

Egan correctly points out that this pattern is all too often seen on the subject of global warming:

“Climate-change denial is a special category all its own. Once on the fringe, dismissal of scientific consensus is now an article of faith among leading Republicans, again taking their cue from Limbaugh and Fox.” 

Read “Building a Nation of Know-Nothings” on The New York Times website. 

 

Previous Comments

The UK is no better.

The Daily Express front-page headline for 31.08.10 was “Climate Change Lies Exposed”

The ridiculously untruthful article claims that the IAC report into the IPCC was damning. This is far from the truth. Here is the opening of the conclusions of the IAC report:

“The Committee concludes that the IPCC assessment process has been successful overall and has served society well. The commitment of many thousands of the world’s leading scientists and other experts to the assessment process and to the communication of the nature of our understanding of the changing climate, its impacts, and possible adaptation and mitigation strategies is a considerable achievement in its own right. Similarly, the sustained commitment of governments to the process and their buy-in to the results is a mark of a successful assessment. Through its unique partnership between scientists and governments, the IPCC has heightened public awareness of climate change, raised the level of scientific debate, and influenced the science agendas of many nations. However, despite these successes, some fundamental changes
to the process and the management structure are essential, as discussed in this report and summarized below.”

The Express article claims that the mistaken Himalayan section was ‘key’ to proof of climate change. But it is not.

The Express article says that Peter Taylor is an “independent climate scientist”. He is not. He is a the author of a couple of very dodgy books, one of which contains his personal theory that the climate is cooling.

The Express article is the worst instance of media manipulation I’ve seen in a very long time. I have made a complaint to the Press Complaints Commission on the grounds of untruthfulness in the article. I strongly urge everyone who can to do the same - do the research - write a better complaint than mine. I’d like to see a retraction.

Cornelius Bread - long time ago, but on finding this, and realising desmogblog believes in accuracy in the press (and blogs!) - you could usefully read the review of Chill in The Holocene, a climate science journal which recommended it alongside Sir John Houghton’s book on the IPCC science. And I guess you probably have not read Prof Jackson Davis’ endorsement on the cover - he was drafting author of the Kyoto Protocol. Other dodgy books - my Beyond Conservation endorsed on the cover by Prof Bill Adams at Cambridge? And, I personally do not call myself a climate scientist - I am a seasoned science and policy analyst with some experience of critiqeing environmental modelling (see my CV on www.ethos-uk.com) and as long ago as 1996 was consulted by UK government agencies on climate science and policy (also on my CV).

And for the record, i do not state the world is cooling - rather, that the warming is 80% natural and MAY cool in the next decades.

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