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U.S. media giving one side of global warming debate

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Posted: Tuesday, January 15, 2013 12:00 am

People seem to trust their national news sources less and less. A study by a UCLA political scientist found that bias concerns, both conservative and liberal, do have merit.

An example might be a recent nationally released press story on global warming: The headline read: "2012 was the hottest year on record in U.S."

There's no doubt a number of scientists and others believe that global warming is real. But if this hypothesis is true, then why do some media people seem to distort facts and present only one side of the story?

Take the aforementioned headline. It could lead one to believe that the entire country was roasting under temperatures never before seen. While the Northeast suffered higher than average temperatures, most of the West remained average to slightly below. Alaska was below normal. Yet, it was only briefly reported in this story.

Of course, statistics from one summer in a small part of the world hardly prove a popular global theory. Actually, London's Daily Mail reported that average world temperatures have not increased during the last 192 months.

This year, California is setting record lows. Russia is having its coldest winter in a half-century. Don't these facts have some bearing on the overall premise of the story? Again, points omitted in the article.

This same writer also reported the following: "Global warming is caused by the burning fossil fuels — coal, oil and natural gas — which sends heat trapping gases, such as carbon dioxide, into the air, changing the climate, scientists say."

To promote man as the cause of any questionable warming is conjecture, not fact. Global warming conclusions are based on computer models and correlation studies. They assume if more carbon dioxide is in the air and temperatures are warmer, then one must cause the other. But in legitimate science, correlation by itself cannot prove causation.

"Scientists say" is always a loaded phrase. There are plenty of scientists and researchers who "don't say." But when it comes to this issue, they usually are not quoted in the American mainstream press, but easily can be found in the European media and other legitimate news sources.

As an example, Matt Ridley states in the Wall Street Journal that the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has overestimated the future of temperature changes, and the facts do not support their predictions. The small temperature variation that may occur could actually be beneficial over the next several decades.

"The scientists at the IPCC next year have to choose whether they will admit — contrary to what complex, unverifiable computer models indicate — that the observable evidence now points toward lukewarm temperature change will do no harm," he says.

If global warming stories are based on biased interests, then the question remains: "Why?"

There are many possibilities. Turning again to sources outside the U.S., the Russians have an interesting take on this very question. As expressed in Pravda, the paper opines: "For years, the elites of the West have cranked up the myth of Man Made Global Warming as a means first and foremost to control the lives and behaviors of their populations. Knowing full well that their produce in China and sell to the West model and its consequent spiral downward in wages and thus standards of living, was unsustainable."

So, why do people who want a complete picture of a story seem to be losing faith in the so-called "mainstream" media? Perhaps it's because too many "news" pieces look more like one-sided opinion rather than objective fact.

It's a sad commentary when one has to look outside of the U.S. and other less-touted sources to get alternative viewpoints on common issues.

Steve Hansen is a Lodi writer.

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