Liberal study: CNN misled on global warming coverage because it allowed debate

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Michael Bastasch DCNF Managing Editor
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A new study put out by a liberal environmental group claims that major news networks misled their viewers on the science behind global warming  because they allowed “skeptics” to debate on the air.

The Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) released a report claiming that CNN got climate science “wrong” in 30 percent of its segments on global warming largely because they allowed actual debate to happen on man-made global warming.

UCS noted that allowing debate on the subject “suggests that established climate science is still widely debated among scientists” and allows global warming skeptics to confuse the public with their dissenting comments.

“The biggest step that CNN could take to increase accuracy is to stop hosting debates about established climate science and instead focus debates on whether and how to respond to climate change through climate policy,” said UCS.

Increasingly, environmentalists and some climate scientists have been refusing to debate global warming skeptics in the media, arguing that allowing such debates to occur is a disservice to science.

Dan Weiss, the director of climate strategy at the liberal Center for American Progress, refused to debate global warming skeptic Marc Morano on Fox Business last month. Weiss was set to debate Morano on the show “The Independents” but “refused to debate directly with Morano, and chided [the show] for airing his views,” according to the Fox Business show.

In 2013, about a dozen climate scientists (and UCS) refused to debate skeptic Dr. Roy Spencer, a former NASA scientist who now teaches at the University of Alabama. Fox Business host John Stossel was stunned that no one would come on his show to debate Spencer last year, despite claims from the Obama administration and environmentalists that the “science was settled.”

Stossel said UCS replied that debating Spencer “would be doing the public a disservice because it would give [his] extreme ideas credibility.” One climate scientist, NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies climate scientist Gavin Schmidt, did agree to appear on Stossel’s show, but only after Spencer was no longer on the set.

Newspapers have also taken aim at climate skeptics by not including them in coverage and in letters to the editor. BBC Scotland and the Los Angeles Times newspaper have taken hard editorial lines against featuring the views of global warming skeptics.

“I’m no expert when it comes to our planet’s complex climate processes or any scientific field,” wrote Paul Thornton, the Times’ letter editor. “Consequently, when deciding which letters should run among hundreds on such weighty matters as climate change, I must rely on the experts — in other words, those scientists with advanced degrees who undertake tedious research and rigorous peer review.”

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