Manipulation of the news, manufactured controversy and misuse of the word skeptic. Just another day at Fox News.
Just days after NOAA released its reading of last year’s US temperatures, Fox responded with a report in which it questions whether NOAA is producing accurate temperature readings.
The report is a classic example of what’s been termed “false balance.” It presents experts with relevant experience and the official word from NOAA, but it simultaneously surrounds them with quotes from several people who aren’t scientists—as well as one scientist who is a notable contrarian about other fields of science. In many ways, the self-labelled skeptics contradict each other in their haste to condemn NOAA. But the Fox article doesn’t point any of this out, and it actually ends with a veiled hint that we might consider throwing NOAA scientists in jail for their “manipulations of data.”
At issue are the historic US temperature records. These are generated from stations maintained by the US government. Over the course of 100-plus years, many of these stations have been moved to new locations or had their equipment replaced. These events create a break in the record. To generate its historical analysis, NOAA has to identify the breaks and perform an analysis that matches up the two end-points, creating a single, continuous record.
Fox News had three commentators on to discuss the issue against NOAA. Who were they? One was a blogger, Steve Goddard, who disagrees with NOAA’s results but doesn’t offer any valid (certainly not scientific) counter arguments. The second was Roy Spencer, who well known for questionable scientific judgement, that is, he disbelieves evolution. And the third is meteorologist Anthony Watts “who runs a prominent skeptic site that is notable for its generally flawed approach to science.”
So all is well in the world of Fox News as they cherry pick their “experts” to manufacture controversy where there is none. Another problem is the misuse of the word “skeptics”. These folks don’t doubt, they are BLIND to reason and science. No evidence will do. There is NOTHING that could possibly sway them from their head in the sand ideas about climate change.
Faux News. The laughing stock of journalism.