Wisconsin Politifact | 8-14-2016
Editors Note: Thank you to the tipster that alerted WMC about this instance of media bias! The financial support from our readers and alerts to media bias are greatly appreciated!
On August 12, 2016, PolitiFact Wisconsin – featured in both the Green Bay Press-Gazette and Appleton Post-Crescent’s August 14th print editions – presented yet another piece that WMC believes contains bias. This time, PolitiFact Wisconsin decided to take on the sensitive and often controversial subject of climate change.
In its “analysis,” titled:
PolitiFact Wisconsin concluded that U.S. Republican Senator Ron Johnson’s statements, “[t]he climate hasn’t warmed in quite a few years. That is proven scientifically” was “FALSE”.
WMC will once again rate PolitiFact Wisconsin as biased. Yes, it is true that some scientists disagree with Sen. Johnson’s statements, but it is very easy to verify that some scientists agree with Mr. Johnson. PolitiFact Wisconsin provides WMC with an example of bias by spin because in this piece, PolitiFact perpetuates the narrative that that global warming and climate change is an undisputable fact. Yet, PolitiFact fails to cite any research or other scientific sources in support of its conclusions that Mr. Johnson’s statements were per se “false.”
Instead of citing scientific journals or experts on the topic, PolitiFact Wisconsin cites President Obama (no more a climate specialist than Sen. Johnson) as saying “the 12 hottest years on record have come in the last 15 years”. Here, WMC is presented with an example of bias by selection of sources. PolitiFact Wisconsin assumes that Mr. Obama is not only an expert on the subject, but that his statements are true. Has PolitiFact Wisconsin checked Mr. Obama’s claim? Why is Mr. Obama to be taken more seriously that Mr. Johnson?
In PolitiFact Wisconsin’s defense, it does cite to a NASA/NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) study wherein the agency “found that the Earth’s surface temperatures were the warmest since modern record keeping began in 1880.” However a look at NOAA’s own graphs show that temperatures in the 21st century and before have been stable and even falling. Curiously, NOAA was reluctant to release its research data when the U.S. Congress became interested and requested its data.
In fact, NOAA has even been accused of adjusting global temperature numbers to make global warming seem more dire.
The point WMC wishes to make is that with so much controversy and disagreement among climatologists, it is imprudent for local media outlets to outright rate any claim on climate change as “false.” Jumping to this conclusion without giving deference to differing scientific opinions can only be one thing: bias.
Links to other websites presenting data related to climate change that our contributor found useful.