Monday, August 6, 2007

Newsweek's Global Warming Bias

Bias. A particular tendency or inclination, esp. one that prevents unprejudiced consideration of a question; prejudice.

In the August 13, 2007 issue of Newsweek Magazine Sharon Begley has authored the Cover Story on Global Warming, where she shows her profound bias. (The Truth About Denial) Early in this article Ms. Begley quotes the following statement as made by a staffer to Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA) who assumed the chair of the Senate's Environment Committee in January 2007.
A conservative think tank long funded by ExxonMobil, she [the staffer] told Boxer, had offered scientists $10,000 to write articles undercutting the new report and the computer-based climate models it is based on.
But not contained in the article is any reference to the funding sources for the supporters of Global Warming. Media Ignore Al Gore’s Financial Ties to Global Warming exposes Al Gore, and many of his friends, who stand to make a fortune if they can sell Global Warming as fact. Thereby leaving the reader with the impression that Global Warming deniers are skewing the data for monetary gain, while the Global Warming preachers have no such prejudice. It is dishonest to suggest that only one side may be influenced money, when in fact both sides could be, but this does fits the definition of bias.

In addition Ms. Begley infers that results are being "bought" by Special Interests without offering a single example of skewed, biased, incomplete or inaccurate results. By making this accusation, Ms. Begley soils the reputation of any Scientist associated with an Energy Company or Group whose research conclusions don't conform to her preconceived ideas. In the Scientific Community, Reputation and therefore Respect of peers is paramount.

Ms. Begley further implies that these Special Interest groups succeeded in rendering useless any attempt by President Clinton to obtain Senate Ratification of the Kyoto Treaty.
Although Clinton did not even try to get the Senate to ratify the Kyoto treaty (he knew a hopeless cause when he saw one)...
But she makes no mention of the fact that the Senate did Vote on the Kyoto Agreement (S.RES.98) which
Declares that the United States should not be a signatory to any protocol to, or other agreement regarding, the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change of 1992, at negotiations in Kyoto in December 1997 or thereafter...
The Senate passed this item on 7/25/1997 by a vote of 95-0. This oversight constitutes the definition of bias. Further into her article, Ms. Begley states the following in reference to current President George W. Bush:
In March [2001], he [President George Bush] withdrew from the Kyoto treaty.
How can you withdraw from something to which you were never a party?
Through advertisements, op-eds, lobbying and media attention, greenhouse doubters (they hate being called deniers) argued first that the world is not warming; measurements indicating otherwise are flawed, they said. Then they claimed that any warming is natural, not caused by human activities. Now they contend that the looming warming will be minuscule and harmless.
Most Deniers I have knowledge of don't hate being called deniers, rather they don't think the term is accurate. It is political name-calling. It's a term used to shut down honest debate about a subject whose cause and effects are not yet understood. So called Deniers do not deny that the Earth is Warming, or that Carbon Dioxide (CO2) increases are largely due to man. They do argue that the World has at times been much warmer than today's predictions for the future. They do argue that more research is needed before drastic and Expensive Life-style changes are Politically Mandated. The research to date is subject to honest interpretation and differences of opinion as to cause and effect. In the simplest terms, the Global Warming Issue is not settled. See This Web Page for a rational discussion of Global Warming.

Carbon Dioxide (CO2) is the only Greenhouse Gas over which man can have any real effect. But between 90 and 95% of the Atmospheric Greenhouse Gases is water vapor (H2O), the rest is CO2, Ozone, Methane, Nitrous Oxide and other minor Greenhouse Gases. Atmospheric CO2 is the result of both man and nature. About 1/2 of this Gas is the result of the Earth's natural processes, mainly Volcanoes. To eliminate the part attributable to man, is going to be very expensive and will have minimal effect. For an idea of the expense, see this previous post, and be sure to follow this link.

In summary, Newsweek has taken the low road with this cover story. This article by Sharon Begley is more opinion than fact. Is it Biased? I think so, but you should decide for yourself.

For another disection of this article see this post at NewsBusters.

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