JACK SPENCER: News bias - Downplaying a story

Among the most prevalent forms of national mainstream news media bias are the fact-based stories it downplays or refuses to report. When this happens and the conservative news media covers the story, it often ends up being characterized as “right-wing” rhetoric.

Plenty of stories should be recognized as being slanted, or rhetoric-based, on both the political left and right. This article is not about those stories. It is instead about stories that have clear news value and merit universal news media attention.

There would be no grounds for criticizing the national mainstream news media for ignoring such stories if it admitted its bias. The pretense that it is unbiased is what justifies such scrutiny.

One of the best examples of a fact-based story the mainstream news media failed to adequately cover occurred nearly two years. It was a press release pertaining to global warming.

In 2012, two organizations, including one that had been the hub and headquarters for man-made global warming propaganda, announced that data showed the planet had stopped warming in 1997.

Apparently the warming took place between 1979 and 1997. This period followed a period of global cooling between 1960 and 1978. The fact that each period lasted 18 years was probably coincidental.

This should have been a huge story for every segment of the news media, including the so-called mainstream news media. What gave the story its significance was the “fact” that the announcement came from the Met Office and the University of East Anglia Climatic Research Unit.

Dating as far back as the mid-1990s, alarmist reports about global warming had been churning out of East Anglia, claiming virtually every year was the hottest on record. Headlines out of East Anglia had screamed that glaciers were melting faster than previously believed; the world’s shorelines would disappear because of the rate of global warming, etc., etc.

But in 2012, after more than a decade of these claims and predictions, the climatic research unit at East Anglia quietly issued a press release basically saying: “Um, gee whiz; actually the data shows that the warming trend ended 15 years ago.”

This warranted full-focused news coverage, not just a 60-second mention on the nightly news. It should have been covered extensively, with numerous follow-up stories and interviews. It was covered that way in other nations and by the conservative news media in the U.S.; but the mainstream news media chose to practically ignore it.

Some readers might be thinking — “I heard about that story. It was adequately covered.”

However, even at this late date, many Americans are either unaware of the details of the story or consider it “right wing” rhetoric. That wouldn’t be the case if the national mainstream news media had given the story the focus it deserved. If it had been thoroughly covered, more people would realize the story was supported by an entity that had previously insisted global warming was an undeniable fact.

Increasingly people are seeing it for what it was. Unfortunately this has happened as the story and its implications have seeped into the overall culture via the Internet and other sources. But, considering the raging man-made global warming debate and the billions of taxpayers’ dollars spent to fight “global warming,” it deserved a lot more attention than it received.

Meanwhile, the man-made climate change crowd has been adapting. It is recalibrating its message to fit any sort of climate change or no change at all. Arguably the term “global warming” is now out-of-date. It wasn’t flexible enough to allow those who promote man-made climate change dogma to stay in business until the glaciers move south again.

Look at it this way: all of our government-mandated laws and regulations pertaining to “climate change” are predicated on the assumption that the climate is “warming.” Yet, the core of the “climate change” propaganda apparatus has admitted global warming ceased during the Clinton administration and the mainstream news media barely lifted an eyebrow.

It would be nice to hear one reporter challenge the use of the term “global warming” when someone they’re interviewing uses it in reference to a summer heat wave or low water levels.

A good reporter should ask: “Hasn’t the Met Office and the University of East Anglia Climatic Research Unit concluded that global warming ended 16 years ago?”

Don’t hold your breath waiting to hear that question posed by anyone in the mainstream news media. Chances might be less than 50-50 that the reporter would even be aware of the 2012 findings and the significance of their source.

Another story that surfaced at the time of the announcement that global warming ended in 1997 was a prediction of global cooling. This too came from so-called “leading climate scientists.” These predictions are based on the theory that the sun is now heading towards a ‘grand minimum’ in its output, threatening cold summers, bitter winters and a shorter growing season.

This lines up with what top Russian scientists have argued for years, which is that naturally occurring activity on the sun has a profound impact on Earth’s climate. However, if a theory doesn’t include ways to blame human behavior, the man-made climate change folks can be counted on to not only reject it, but pretend it doesn’t exist. Unfortunately, that appears to be the way the mainstream news media reacts as well.