The spin on global warming |

The spin on global warming

Bob Berwyn

While the scientific consensus on global warming has become overwhelming, advocates for action, such as Brad Udall, say they are still concerned the message isn’t getting out as forcefully as it should.That’s partially due to the way the story has played out in the media, with many mainstream reports taking a he-said, she-said approach, which unjustifiably gives global warming skeptics equal space.”There’s been a lot of confusion,” says Udall, Boulder-based head of the Western Water Assessment program. “It’s very real. It’s a serious issue, but it’s been a slowly evolving story.”The media has focused on the political elements, sometimes at the expense of covering the scientific aspects, Udall added. The mainstream media’s coverage of global warming got scathing criticism from environmental writer Ross Gelbspan, who charged in a recent Mother Jones article that the story is “threatening to become the shame of the American press.”Gelbspan pointed to a recent media analysis that showed the issue receives three times as much media coverage in Great Britain than in the U.S. He also faults the corporate conglomeration of media, with staff cuts at newspapers and a focus on celebrity coverage, for making it hard for editors to give reporters the time and resources to cover complex stories.In part, Gelbspan attributes the poor coverage to a “decade-long campaign of deception, disinformation, and at times, intimidation by the fossil-fuel industry to keep this issue off the public radar screen.”Part of that campaign involves millions of dollars in funding from ExxonMobil to sympathetic think tanks and propping up a handful of skeptic scientists, according to environmental writer Bill McKibben, reporting the same issue of Mother Jones. According to McKibben, the company has pumped more than $8 million into 40 think tanks, media outlets and other groups that “preach skepticism” about global warming.Vail, Colorado

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