Five years of "An Inconvenient Truth"

An Inconvenient Truth

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Executive Summary: Science Fiction

5 Years After: Networks Celebrate Al Gore’s ‘Inconvenient Truth,’ Ignore Scientific Flaws, Criticism

By Julia A. Seymour, Business and Media Institute

The cause for the end of the world has been imagined by screenwriters to include everything from giant insects and malevolent robots to asteroids the size of Texas. But five year ago in May 2006, Hollywood found a new menace: carbon dioxide. This scenario was different in another respect. It was supposedly true.

The documentary “An Inconvenient Truth” wasn’t intended to be the blockbuster end-of-the-world tale that “Armageddon” was, but it was intended to frighten. The new film was full of disaster footage and catastrophic predictions about climate change. Its leading man: former vice president Al Gore.

The apocalyptic warning earned nearly $50 million worldwide and turned Gore into a “movie star,” according to the fawning networks. Gore won accolades, including an Oscar and a Nobel Peace Prize. Reporters and anchors on ABC, CBS and NBC also made a hero of Apocalypse Al, embracing his views and bringing on guests with the same views including one who said Gore had been busy “saving the planet – literally.”

Gore received almost entirely uncritical coverage from the network morning and evening shows over global warming, despite plenty of evidence – scientific evidence – that would have discredited him and his film. Since the movie’s release, nearly 98 percent of those stories have excluded criticism of the so-called “science” of the film.

Gore’s film has been criticized for many errors and hyperbole regarding the past and future effects of global warming – including his exaggerated claim that sea levels will rise by 20 feet and his now-debunked assertion that Hurricane Katrina was caused by climate change. Such examples were used to scare audiences into accepting Gore’s political agenda. The errors and agenda of the film prompted a British judge to rule that the film couldn’t be shown in schools without a disclaimer pointing out its inaccuracies and political bias. But those critical views are regularly banished from the networks.

The Media Research Center’s Business & Media Institute analyzed broadcast news coverage of Gore about climate change and mentions of “An Inconvenient Truth” between May 11, 2006, shortly before the film’s release, and April 30, 2011. Here are some of BMI’s findings:

  • Who Needs Science?: Nearly 98 percent of broadcast stories (266 out of 272) failed to challenge the supposedly scientific claims of “An Inconvenient Truth” about global warming, including dramatic predictions of sea level rise and links between climate change and extreme weather such as tornadoes, hurricanes, fires and droughts. Many of these claims have been challenged, yet scientific criticism was barely represented by ABC, CBS and NBC.
  • Gore’s Way or the Highway: More than 80 percent (222 of 272) of the network stories and briefs excluded any criticism of Al Gore or his film. About one-fifth of the stories that included opposition were critical of the 2007 Live Earth concerts organized by Gore, but expressed no dissent about global warming.
  • Gore For President, or VP or Czar: Gore’s success with “An Inconvenient Truth,” was used by all three networks to push him to run for president again or accept a position within the Obama administration. In one CBS “Early Show” interview, Harry Smith literally tried to pin a “Gore ’08” campaign button on the former vice president.
  • NBC the Worst: NBC has thrown objectivity out the window on the issue of global warming, preferring activism instead. In the past five years, “Nightly News” and “Today” maintained that role by including the lowest percentage of opposing views (17 percent) in its Gore/”An Inconvenient Truth” reports. Its parent company NBC/Universal also partnered with Gore for the Live Earth concerts, which were aired on its networks.
  • ABC the Best: ABC news programming with “World News” and “Good Morning America,” ranked best out of the three networks because they included more opposing views than the other networks. But those views were still only included roughly one-fifth of the time (20 of 95).

To improve coverage, BMI recommends:

  • Don’t just take Gore’s word for it: Al Gore is certainly a passionate activist, but he isn’t a scientist. The networks shouldn’t take his interpretation of global warming science as truth. Rather, they should be skeptical because of his very real political agenda.
  • Include both sides: The Society of Professional Journalists Code of Ethics states journalists should “ Support the open exchange of views, even views they find repugnant.” It is the media’s job to inform the public, not persuade them by leaving out alternative viewpoints. Particularly, networks should give skeptical scientists the opportunity to share their findings – just like they include scientists who say manmade global warming is going to devastate the planet.
  • Recognize that advocacy is not reporting: The SPJ Code of Ethics also says to: “Distinguish between advocacy and news reporting. Analysis and commentary should be labeled and not misrepresent fact or context.”

Read the Full Report

Read the Sidebar: Live Earth: NBC Joins the Fight for ‘Climate in Crisis,’ Fails to Stay Objective

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Latitude

What can you say….
“World ends at 10..
….film at 11”
Sells advertising

John Marshall

It would be good if the BBC had a code of ethics where CAGW were concerned.

What a fool I was…I fell for it.
I initially believed him….
I now believe the real truth is a bit more convenient.
http://www.letterdash.com/HenryP/more-carbon-dioxide-is-ok-ok

Jeremy

It’s interesting how those who lack facts and seek to persuade always label their dogma “truth.” They behave as if they simply know something other people don’t, and must reveal truth to you.
It’s even better for them when they charge you to reveal that truth to you. How many people paid $8-10 for tickets to that film? How many purchased it on DVD? I’ve been in cults where the propaganda was free. Gore is probably making an enormous profit on nonsense.
Perhaps we should exchange those awards with “best snake-oil salesman of the new millenium.”

Stefan

I always think of Tony Robbins, “The Giant Within,” at TED advising Gore that if only Gore would communicate his message with more passion and conviction then people would act.

sdollarfan

If the American people are to get the truth about the bogus pseudoscience of AGW, I wish Fox News (the only TV news network that is not Leftist) would make more of an effort to put the skeptical scientists on the air and give them the opportunity to show us all the science that makes the AGW theory highly dubious (to say the least). Perhaps they could make a one or two hour special (or a short series of specials) about it using the best scientists from the skeptics side of this issue. Of course, to be fair, the special(s) should review and explain the pro-AGW argument as well, but it should
then explain the science that shoots it down. Using TV to educate the American people with the science that makes AGW seriously suspect is the best way to overcome the pro-AGW propaganda from the Left in the MSM and politics.

Yesterday Al Gore stated to a graduating class that climate change is “the most serious challenge that our civilization has ever faced” which would, I suppose, mean that Al Gore is the greatest ambassador/herald of all time. The arrogance is insufferable.
http://uticadailynews.com/daily_local_news/20942-Gore-addresses-Hamilton-grads.html

On the topic of the media and climate change, I found this article in the NYTimes of interest:
Once-Rare Mississippi River Flooding Now ‘More Frequent and More Severe’
By PAUL QUINLAN of Greenwire Published: May 17, 2011
It contains this quote:
“I’m also confident that because we’re changing the climate, there is human influence on every weather event,” Gleick said. “That influence may be incredibly tiny for every single weather event, but I’d like to argue that it is no longer zero.”
Hard to argue with such a statement, isn’t it. The article itself, despite the headline, was pretty good at giving the ACE interpretation of the statistics.

Latitude

sdollarfan says:
May 24, 2011 at 7:30 am
=======================================
Hannity did a global warming special August, 2110.
You should be able to find it on Fox or U-tube.

reason

Having never seen the movie or any associated materials, I’ll have to ask here: what was the time-scale on The Goreacle’s predictions? Did he actually assign real numbers to his estimates?
In other words, how long do we need to wait before we can superimpose a plot of “reality” on top of his charts of prediction, to see the divergence?
Because I’ve gotta say, it really drives a point home.

Shevva

Scott Ramsdell says:
May 24, 2011 at 7:40 am
Yesterday Al Gore stated to a graduating class that climate change is “the most serious challenge that our civilization has ever faced” which would, I suppose, mean that Al Gore is the greatest ambassador/herald of all time. The arrogance is insufferable.
I’m glad we’ve solved poverty and famine from the world.

Sundance

I am going out on a limb (not too far) and predicting/projecting that “An Inconvenient Truth” will replace “Reefer Madness” as the classic alarmist movie that will become the laughingstock for many generations.

Alan the Brit

Sounds as though they’ve employed people from the BBC!
It’s always worse than we thought. The worst storm for 20 years, the worst flooding since 19whenever, the worst drought since 18??. They always give the clue in the headline, & they don’t even have the intelligence to realise it. It’s inevitably happened before, & if it hasn’t, statistically it’s possible for it to happen at some stage. The floods in Queensland (it’s ALL Queen’s land BTW;-) ) are a case in point!

I’m finding the comments of active hyping of global warming to be very much at odds with my own experience in Scotland. We’ve just a quite a dramatic storm with trees down everywhere and despite trying to find anyone hyping it up as “yet another example of global warming” … there’s nothing.
Similarly with the ubiquitous “global warming could …” story which used to be linked to any scientific investigation from lemmings to motorway traffic. A few years ago, the papers were full of “scientists” falling over each other to link their research to the global warming. Apparently these days global warming is … well … it’s like the last thing you want to do is link it to global warming if you want your research to be taken seriously.
Obviously there’s still a few pockets of this nonsense .. the Zimbadwe independent is one website that springs to mind, but overall as far as I can see climate alarmism is dead in the normal news outlets.

dragineez

This is only one aspect of the all-pervasive liberal bias in the media. I’ve noticed in the morning NPR coverage of Republican primary candidates that following announcing the candidate’s name and background, they ALWAYS include some disparaging snippet of opposition viewpoint. Fine, that’s what they’re supposed to do. Want to guess how many times they do that with Democrat candidates for anything, at any time, anywhere?
And who is Herman Cain? They won’t say his name. They won’t mention he exists. They will refuse to acknowledge his existence until there’s just no other option and they’d be made to look like fools (well, even bigger fools) by remaining silent.

Stefan says on May 24, 2011 at 7:30 am:
I always think of Tony Robbins, “The Giant Within,” at TED advising Gore that if only Gore would communicate his message with more passion and conviction then people would act.

Well, that’s not going to happen!
This is the man was once described as “wooden”.
It followed him around to the point of being a joke with the entertainment industry even: Al Gore Makes Surprisingly Non-Wooden Appearance on “30 Rock”
.

Lichanos says:
May 24, 2011 at 7:42 am
It contains this quote:
“I’m also confident that because we’re changing the climate, there is human influence on every weather event,” Gleick said. “That influence may be incredibly tiny for every single weather event, but I’d like to argue that it is no longer zero.”
Hard to argue with such a statement, isn’t it. The article itself, despite the headline, was pretty good at giving the ACE interpretation of the statistics.

Also hard to argue with this statement:
“I’m also confident that because the climate has been warming since the end of the Little Ice Age, there is this influence on every weather event,” JohnWho said. “That influence may be incredibly tiny for every single weather event, but I’d like to argue that it is no longer zero.”
Doh!
Regarding Gleick’s statement, he’s not being specific on exactly what humans are doing to “change the climate” at all.

Mike McMillan

The cause for the end of the world has been imagined by screenwriters to include everything from giant insects and malevolent robots to asteroids the size of Texas.
Asteroids the size of Texas are called planets.

Jeremy says:
May 24, 2011 at 7:22 am
It’s interesting how those who lack facts and seek to persuade always label their dogma “truth.”

It is the way religion always has been, and by its very nature is. Therefore it is not surprising. What is surprising is the number of sources that have abandoned all pretexts of science in this debate, and instead rely on the belief system.
Some say that the state of science in education (especially in America) is in a very sad state. Gore’s inconvenient truth is merely affirmation of that statement.

Espen

I didn’t even see the movie, but the reports I got from my children who saw it in school (!) was actually what triggered a more skeptical view of global warming theory in me. So thank you Al Gore, your marketing efforts woke me up!

RockyRoad

Scott Ramsdell says:
May 24, 2011 at 7:40 am

Yesterday Al Gore stated to a graduating class that climate change is “the most serious challenge that our civilization has ever faced” which would, I suppose, mean that Al Gore is the greatest ambassador/herald of all time. The arrogance is insufferable.

Actually, Al Gore has the greatest monetary gain to make if he can only convince the world of his thieving, lying ways. Unfortunately, people are waking up, taking note, reading WUWT–but what’s not to like?

DaveBates

I can attest to NBC being the worst, which I think they even force on their affiliates. I’m a bike commuter and as such I am in the elements every day. Our local NBC station has the best radar and weather reporting, so I check their website frequently to see what the radar looks like. I only need a 40 minute window to get home, so on rainy days I can tell if jumping out soon or hanging back will give me clear skies. Anyway, they have a “Climate Change” section of links to the right side of the page. It’s always full of the most easily swiped aside alarmist reports. If I wasn’t a fan of this site I’d really get whipped up into a lather over the stuff posted there. Thanks to WUWT I can chuckle at it.

AC

The movie would have made far less money if it was titled “A Politically Expedient Passel of Hogwash.”

Theo Goodwin

I saw the film when it was released because several of my friends saw it. Among my friends were several Green activists, so I did not discuss it with them. The film contains a lot of utter nonsense. The one I find most outrageous is Gore’s claim that one-third of all CO2 emissions come from burning of forests in South America and Africa by people who are preparing for spring planting and similar activities. I have not been successful in getting anyone to discuss this claim. I guess everyone recognizes it as a ludicrous claim. That is pretty much my opinion of the entire film.

Jerry from Boston

Scottish Sceptic,
Just heard about what you went through. Something similar slammed through central Massachusetts a couple years back. Massive power outages and the debris still hasn’t been completely cleared up. Good luck to you and your neighbors.

Brings to mind another American preacher who predicted the end of the world two days ago, ermmm, it didn’t end and neither will the world end according to the religion of Al Gore!

jorgekafkazar

Mike McMillan says: “Asteroids the size of Texas are called planets.”
No. Dwarf planet or Kuiper belt object. Pluto is no longer called a planet.

Bob Diaz

Sadly, the lack of fact checking on the part of the major news media is getting worse. Had this sort of junk science come out in the 1950s, the reporters would have given both sides a chance to respond.
Today, the major news media is more about hype and facts take a back seat. ABC, CBS, NBC, CNN, and MSNBC should change their name to The Propganda Report. In my book, their credibility is ZERO!!!

jeanparisot

The movie earned him a Nobel and an Oscar; I hope it will someday earn him an indictment for stock manipulation.

Mike McMillan says:
Asteroids the size of Texas are called planets.
Tell that to Pluto…

BradProp1

I owe Al Gore alot. He saved me. Until “Inconvenient Truth” I believed in AGW. His movie made me start thinking and researching AGW for myself. The facts made me a skeptic. I also realized the people that were telling me AGW was a disaster a coming, and we “peasants” must give up everything and live like people did in the “Dark Ages”; were living in million dollar homes, flying all over the world, and driving big cars. It doesn’t take much smarts to understand the hypocrisy in people the likes of Al Gore.

BarryW

The minister that was pushing the Rapture coming this last weekend should have taken a lesson from Gore. Make dire pronouncements, point to all disasters in the news and claim they are portents of the coming end of the world. BUT make sure that it’s after you’re lifetime.

MackemX

That minister should get a job with GISS, he’s adjusted his figures to allow for God’s compassion so armageddon’s been postponed until October 31st.

But wait, there’s more, namely with the “10th error” in his movie about skeptic scientists being corrupted by fossil fuel industry money. Please see ‘Mainstream Media Marginalization of Skeptic Scientists: Was Al Gore just a handy speaker in it, or was he the major driver behind it?’
http://www.climatedepot.com/a/11168/Climate-Depot-Exclusive-Smearing-Skeptic-Scientists-What-did-Gore-know-and-when-did-he-know-it

higley7

Since there is really not a single piece of defensible science to support Al Gore’s global warming claims, it is not hard to criticize the movie. It’s just the intractable and blockading nature of the media, the simpleton trust by much of the public, the stubbornness of the blindly faithful, and the zero integrity of Al Gore and his cronies that makes the global warming scam difficult to fight.

Frank Black

In my high school environmental science class I usually end up the year playing Gore’s video- but then I follow it up with “The Great Global Warming Swindle” and “Not Evil, Just Wrong.” And perhaps the Monckton video too (by this time they are usually complaining of global warming overload).
I’ve found that students are not so gullible when presented with both sides of an issue. I wish the MSM would do their job.

DJ

The only difference between Al Gore and Harold Camping is Gore is more wily. Camping put it all on the line by specifying a specific day, whereas Gore knew that to keep the momentum running he’d have to spread out the time-line and make sure nothing was provable.
Gore’s downfall was that after 5 years, too many of his proclamations have proven wrong. Polar bears, Kilimanjaro, the Hockey Stick, rising sea levels, and the other fallacies….
Camping’s math was wrong, so’s Gore’s, yet their respective net worths are mind numbing. If we could only make people see that both of them are jokes, and the joke’s on anyone who believes them.

Huth

Gore’s film turned everyone in this household into sceptics about AGW.

Charles Higley says:
May 24, 2011 at 11:56 am
Since there is really not a single piece of defensible science to support Al Gore’s global warming claims, it is not hard to criticize the movie. It’s just the intractable and blockading nature of the media,

Actually, like the NPP, and Fahrenheit 9/11, it is not about anything other than propaganda. Both the film critics and the NPP Committee just wanted to make a statement – they did not care of the quality or impact of the work they were making the statement with.

Wayne Strong

BradProp1…Ditto, after watching the movie and doing a small amount of study, I no longer worried about AGW. Though it was replaced by an extreme fear of our collective gullibilty!

We Aussies still want our cyclone back – the one that Al Gore stole and placed off Florida.
http://www.prisonplanet.com/with-hurricanes-at-thirty-year-low-gore-turns-to-photoshop.html
And while we’re about it, he can give back the one on his book cover too.

chris b

Sundance says:
May 24, 2011 at 7:53 am
I am going out on a limb (not too far) and predicting/projecting that “An Inconvenient Truth” will replace “Reefer Madness” as the classic alarmist movie that will become the laughingstock for many generations.
“Reefer madness”: Bad acting, good message.
“Inconvenient Truth”: Good acting, bad message.

Robert Stevenson

Concerning his Nobel Peace Prize, I went to the Nobel museum in Stockholm which included a lecture or talk. In the question and answer session it was proudly stated that Al was fast tracked to the prize. It was also stated that over the years some individuals had been found unworthy of the Nobel Prize; to which I offered the comment that this would certainly apply in Al Gore’s case as he was a complete charletan. The lecturer was speechless; my wife stepped in to save me saying I was an chemical engineer and didn’t believe in AGW. This was in June 2008 when he was flavour of every month.

Robert Stevenson

I didn’t click the comments box.
[Maybe hit Enter by accident? ~dbs]

Jim Barker

Starting to see more anti-CAGW thoughts in engineering blogs. He makes the point that at least the preacher makes his predictions specific enough to be falsified.
http://www.pddnet.com/column-karl-stephan-global-warmings-judgement-day-052411/?et_cid=1581418&et_rid=45603233&linkid=http%3a%2f%2fwww.pddnet.com%2fcolumn-karl-stephan-global-warmings-judgement-day-052411%2f

See - owe to Rich

OK, completely OT but there isn’t a suitable recent thread. I’ve just looked at the SOHO phot of the Sun on solarcycle24.com, and there’s just one sizeable spot (1105242130Z). Therefore, can anyone explain to me why the official sunspot number should not be 11 = 10 (for the group) + 1 (for the single spot)?
TIA to any experts out there,
Rich.

See - owe to Rich

Heck, let’s make it two. I just visited Weatherbell.com – Joe Bastardi’s just gone behind a paywall. Only $160 a year to subscribe. Good luck with that, Joe. You know what, you used to be popular…
Ciao it’s the only weather blog you ain’t got today…
Rich.

moptop

It turns out that that rapture guy was right, except only one person cut the mustard. According to his father, he disappeared through the sunroof of his dad’s car into the sky on Saturday afternoon in Joplin, MO.

wobble

DJ says:
May 24, 2011 at 12:30 pm
The only difference between Al Gore and Harold Camping is Gore is more wily. Camping put it all on the line by specifying a specific day, whereas Gore knew that to keep the momentum running he’d have to spread out the time-line and make sure nothing was provable.
Gore’s downfall was that after 5 years, too many of his proclamations have proven wrong. Polar bears, Kilimanjaro, the Hockey Stick, rising sea levels, and the other fallacies….
Camping’s math was wrong, so’s Gore’s, yet their respective net worths are mind numbing. If we could only make people see that both of them are jokes, and the joke’s on anyone who believes them.

Good analysis, DJ, but let me help you create a more simply message.
Al Gore = Harold Camping

Roy

What has Al Gore got to do with llama dung? The connection is not immediately obvious but in Britain the Guardian newspaper has long functioned as a cheer leader for Al Gore and other global warming zelots. Therefore I was rather surprised to read a sentence about the benefits of global warming in the Guardian yesterday. It probably escaped the censors because it was in an article about llama dung.
Dung loaming: how llamas aided the Inca empire
http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/may/22/incas-llama-manure-crops?INTCMP=SRCH
The main thesis of the article was that Inca culture spread from Andes after manure from llama herds provided fertiliser for corn crops at high altitude. However the writer also pointed out that climate change was a factor.
“Climate change, in the form of warmer temperatures, also helped Inca society to evolve by making it easier to cultivate corn at high altitudes.”
Could climate models tell us how important temperature was compared with llama dung?