UPDATE: 1/23/12 11AMPST Exposed – Forecastthefacts.org is a George Soros funded activist website. See details below.
By Michael A. Lewis, PhD. and Anthony Watts
Some one or some organization is attempting to influence the upcoming annual meeting of the American Meteorological Society (AMS).
According to WCTV-TV’s story Urging American Meteorological Society to Get Tougher on Climate Change, a program called Forecast the Facts is attempting to lobby the AMS to change their 5-year policy on climate change to a new policy “drafted by a panel of [unidentified] experts” (emphasis added).
A new campaign, Forecast the Facts (www.forecastthefacts.org), launches Sunday to pressure TV meteorologists to inform their viewers about climate change. The launch coincides with the kick-off of the American Meteorological Society’s (AMS) annual meeting in New Orleans, LA.
“This is an important moment in the history of the AMS,” said Daniel Souweine, the campaign’s director. “It’s well known that large numbers of meteorologists are climate change deniers. It’s essential that the AMS Council resist pressure from these deniers and pass the strong statement currently under consideration.”
The “Campaign Director” is identified as Daniel Souweine. The Forecast the Facts web site turns out to be a product of “Citizen Engagement Laboratory (CEL).”
The web site describes CEL as: “a non-profit, non-partisan organization that uses digital media and technology to amplify the voices of underrepresented constituencies. We seek to empower individuals to take collective action on the issues that concern them, promoting a world of greater equality and justice in the process.”
But as we see elsewhere, in the green incubator building description of CEL at the David Brower Center at 2150 Allston Way, Berkeley, CA, that “non-partisan” claim doesn’t match this description:
So much for the “truth in advertising”.
They also go to trouble to obfuscate their website domain, here is the WHOIS results for forecastthefacts.org and .com:
Interesting thing though, is that when you check to see what other web servers are at the same domain IP address, you discover a whole flock of political activist websites:
Turn Off Fox, “bastadobbs” (to get Lou Dobbs fired from CNN), occupyhomes ( an occupywallstreet spinoff), and trail2010 (a website pushing a vote for the Dream Act) are just a few of the “non-partisan” websites run by the same outfit on the same server.
And then there’s the
usual suspects friends of forecastthefacts.org
The CEL web site lists 350.org as a “Partner,” which describes itself as: “building a global grassroots movement to solve the climate crisis. Our online campaigns, grassroots organizing, and mass public actions are led from the bottom up by thousands of volunteer organizers in over 188 countries.”
Sounds like birds of a feather, even though they are both attempting to lobby a major national organization to change a policy that affects all of its members… from the top down. Hardly grass-roots organization. And hardly on behalf of “underrepresented constituencies.”
Evidently, grassroots meteorologists are insufficiently toeing the line when it comes to laying weather patterns at the feet of “global warming.” Someone unnamed wants them to publicly join the global warming bandwagon in blaming human CO2 emissions for observed climate change, ignoring the uncertainty of climate science, ignoring all evidence to the contrary, insisting on one single simplistic explanation for climate change.
Here’s the video where they roll out their immutable “weather is not climate unless we say it is” logic:
TV weather presenters, even those who are qualified meteorologists endorsed by the AMS, are the most visible source of public information about weather and climate. They appear daily to billions of people, and whether or not it is a good idea, their “opinions” about climate change carry a lot of weight in popular culture. It’s no wonder that those whose interests are served by spreading fear of climate change in support of a predetermined economic outcome are after these “grass roots” who fail to tremble in fear of natural climate phenomena.
This is not grass roots, this is Big Money come to the service of shadowy figures in the background of international politics and economics. Who profits from fear of climate change? Who is funding this program to gag independent meteorologists and TV weather presenters?
This is part of a concerted behind-the-scenes program funded by monied interests to subvert all elements of environmental awareness and activism to the cause of money and power, political and economic influence. Global warming hyperbole has been used to discredit free-thinking, independent scientific research, free expression, free thought and free action. The individuals and corporations funding this movement are laying the ground work for society controlled by corporate-government-military oligarchies to maintain the economic and political status quo.
Follow the money…
Now here is where this campaign is likely to backfire, and backfire big. These activist dolts don’t know much about television news, or they would have figured this out ahead of time. I spent over two decades of my life in TV news, so let me (Anthony) tell it like it is.
The front page of forecasthefacts.org has a list of who has been naughty and the statement:
In order to convince meteorologists to forecast the facts, we have to know where they stand. So we’re tracking meteorologists’ attitudes toward climate change across the country.
They also want you to “rat out” your local TV weathercaster/meteorologist:
Know what your meteorologist thinks? Drop us a line: firstname.lastname@example.org
They have a “methodology” for who gets on the list:
Forecast the Facts defines a denier as anyone who expressly refutes the overwhelming scientific consensus about climate change: that it is real, largely caused by humans, and already having profound impacts on our world. Forecast the Facts also includes meteorologists who have suggested that extreme cold spells or snowstorms disprove climate science. We track the views of meteorologists through their on-air statements, blog posts, social media activity, public appearances, interviews, and interactions with viewers.
I love this retarded logic: Forecast the Facts also includes meteorologists who have suggested that extreme cold spells or snowstorms disprove climate science. The inverse logic of course that any meteorologist who suggests that a heat wave or drought “proves climate science” gets a pass.
What these bought and paid for CEL activists (and apparently also the American Meteorological Society) don’t understand is the following:
1. Most TV weathercast segments run 2:30 to 3:30 in length. Because they are done mostly ad lib, they are often called upon by the newscast producer to cut time after the news segments typically run long after live shots or wordy live interviews…I’ve done this thousands of times. Climate? – hardly ever enough time to even mention.
2. TV stations are about ratings, and ratings are what determine revenue. They really don’t give a rat’s patootie about climate unless it helps make a buck. Note the statistics cited by CEL – the public isn’t believing it either. If someone tries to challenge the TV station on the issue, the management will most likely instruct their news department and meteorologists to not say anything either way to avoid aggravating the viewers. As topics go, climate isn’t an important topic except to a handful of viewers, they just want to know when it will rain and if there’s a weather bulletin that affects them. Politicizing a “cause” in a weather bulletin will piss off viewers like you can’t imagine. They’d be fools to touch it with a 40 foot pole.
3. Television news is a fickle beast, more so that just about any occupation. TV weathercasters and meteorologists are almost all on contract, some as short as a year, some as long as three years. Will anyone who wants to get their contract renewed take on an issue from a shadowy political hack in Berkeley that will piss off about half their viewers? Not likely. Most TV weathercasters and meteorologists I know stay neutral on the subject on-air for this reason.
4. The CEL and AMS cite the weathercaster survey, which was put together by George Mason University. See my report on it here. Amazingly, these geniuses think that what weathercasters and meteorologists answer in a written survey translates directly to what goes on-air every night, yeah right. See 1-3 above.
5. CEL is making a “list” of TV weathercasters and meteorologists who aren’t toeing the line as the paymasters of CEL want them to. They are labeled “deniers” and called out by name. I expect letters will go out to TV stations and maybe also to letters to the editor of local newspapers. This sort of labeling and pressure will be a fatal move. Why? Because it is actionable. You see as I said above, TV stations are about ratings, and ratings are what determine revenue. And when some organization starts smearing the news team, that becomes actionable, especially if it coincides with a drop in ratings. Monetary losses can be shown, and linked right back to CEL’s campaign to calling the local weathercaster a “denier”. Most TV stations are group owned, and these media groups all have legal departments specifically trained to deal with this sort of defamation.
Personally, I hope some TV station sues the living crap out of these bozos and whoever is paying them to be a “non-partisan” activist that apparently doesn’t know the first thing about television news.
But, it will probably fail long before that, as the money for this silliness dries up because it won’t be effective.
In the meantime, here’s what I’d like to ask the readers of WUWT to do:
1. Email this article to your local TV weathercaster/meteorologist. Let them know they are going to be the target of a paid political activist campaign out of Berkeley that has nothing to do with the American Meteorological Society.
2. If you are a member of the American Meteorological Society, let them know how tacky and misguided this would be to get into bed with such an organization. If they do, consider resigning, because who needs this sort of stuff from an organization you pay dues to? This is Teamsters style thinking and ask yourself – how does it help you get your next job or keep the one you have?
I find the National Weather Association to be far more sensible and practical.
3. If you see your local local TV weathercaster/meteorologist listed as a “denier” on the forecastthefacts.com website, let them know so they can alert their legal department that they are being defamed professionally. Your local TV station website also has contacts for the news director and general manager, contact them too.
4. If you see letters to the editor in your local newspapers attacking local TV weathercaster/meteorologists, back them up with facts, and write a letter of support.
Help keep your local TV weather report free of political activisim!
Thanks for your consideration – Anthony Watts
UPDATE: Forecastthefacts.org (operated by Citizen Engagement Lab) is a George Soros funded activist website. Here’s the proof (h/t to WUWT reader Jan):
Further, the director of CEL’s forecastthefacts.org Daniel Souweine, his Facebook page has an interesting exercise in selective censorship.
He agrees that the Protect IP act is a bridge too far in censorship, but thinks it is OK to shut down free speech and open discourse on the public airwaves by targeting TV meteorologists and weathercasters who don’t toe the line on their view of climate.
What a guy!
UPDATE2: The AMS has no plans to pay any attention to these guys, nor the petition they submitted. This from the AMS blog, bold mine:
A Statement on Statements: Works in Progress
Today at its annual January meeting, the AMS Council will hear a report from a committee of expert members on the progress of a new revision to its Information Statement on Climate Change.
To say that the AMS’s current statement on this topic is “oft-cited,” particularly by advocates of strong action to mitigate and adapt to climate change, would be an understatement. It represented the best of climate science when it was adopted in February 2007, and includes such wording as:
strong observational evidence and results from modeling studies indicate that, at least over the last 50 years, human activities are a major contributor to climate change
increases in greenhouse gases are nearly certain to produce continued increases in temperature.
But despite the importance of keeping the public up to date on advancing climate science, don’t expect any major decisions in New Orleans. In fact, adoption of the updated Statement isn’t even on the Council’s agenda.
Actually, approval of the update would be forbidden by Council policy that requires a 30-day period to allow comments by members.