February 15, 2009

An Egregious Example Of Biased News Reporting

I was quite stunned this morning to read the following news articles
“Global warming seen worse than predicted” by Julie Steenhuysen of Reuters
”Scientists: Pace of Climate Change Exceeds Estimates”By Kari Lydersen of the Washington Post.
These news is also reported at 431 other sites according to a search on google.
These articles are based on statements by Christopher Field, founding director of the Carnegie Institution’s Department of Global Ecology at Stanford University. I have a lot of respect for Dr. Field as an expert on the carbon cycle [I also have worked with him in the past].
However, while he is credentialed in climate science and certainly can have his own opinion, the selection of his statements to highlight in prominent news articles, without presenting counter perspectives by other climate scientists, is a clear example of media bias.
Dr. Fields is reported to have said
“We are basically looking now at a future climate that’s beyond anything we’ve considered seriously in climate model simulations”.
This claim, though, conflicts with real world observations!
For example, Climate Science has recently weblogged on the issue of global warming; see
Update On A Comparison Of Upper Ocean Heat Content Changes With The GISS Model Predictions.
Since mid-2003, there has been no upper ocean global average warming; an observation which is not consistent with the GISS model predictions over this time period.
The recent and current tropospheric temperature data (e.g. see Figure 7 in this RSS MSU data), also show that the global lower tropospheric temperatures today are no warmer than they were in 2002.
The recent global warming is less than the IPCC models predict, and, even more so, in disagreement with the news articles.
Since papers and weblogs have documented that the warming is being over-estimated in recent years, and, thus, these sources of information are readily available to the reporters, there is, therefore, no other alternative than these reporters are deliberately selecting a biased perspective to promote a particular viewpoint on climate. The reporting of this news without presenting counter viewpoints is clearly an example of yellow journalism;
“Journalism that exploits, distorts, or exaggerates the news to create sensations and attract readers.”
When will the news media and others realize that by presenting such biased reports, which are easily refuted by real world data, they are losing their credibility among many in the scientific community as well as with the public.

Original Article

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