I'll be on the PBS Newshour tonight

The final The NewsHour With Jim Lehrer logo fr...

The final The NewsHour With Jim Lehrer logo from May 17, 2006, to December 4, 2009. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I just got word from the producer, that I will be on the PBS Newshour tonight. This is a long segment on climate change that will include several notable people from the climate debate, including Dr. Richard Muller among others. I don’t know what part of the hour the segment will be in, but because it is a feature story, I would suspect it not to be in the first few minutes. (Check local listings here)

I was asked by Spencer Michels, their San Francisco based correspondent, to do an interview. At the outset, he said that this would be an “in depth” segment. I replied that all I asked for was “fair editing” and he replied that there would be.

I was interviewed in my office on August 14th for about two hours. A three person crew (including Michels) with full production lighting was brought into my office where the interview was conducted.  He was most interested in my surfacestations project, and my views on the severity of AGW effects and I replied at length. Later in follow up requests he asked for examples of weather stations in the SFO bay area that were affected and here is what I replied with in email:


Here are a few in the Bay Area: I will send additional photos from other locations in the USA also
Vacaville Fire Station, next to big concrete pad:
Napa State Hospital Fire Station – note car, parking lot, air conditioner
Healdsburg Fire Station – that wall is a big heat sink
Livermore – in private observers back yard
Note here, the visible and infra red view, the house puts out quite a bit of heat:
Here are a few of them by state:
Ajo, AZ: MMTS electronic thermometer:
Miami, AZ – at a copper mine note the dark gravel
Tucson, at the Atmospheric Sciences Department at the University. It wasn’t always in the parking lot:
Bartow, FL at the fire station right on the street:
Titusville, FL (Cape Canaveral) next to A/C and generators at sewage treatment plant
Fort Scott, downtown at a funeral home!
Detroit Lakes – next to a/c units at a radio station:
Ardmore, OK on the city Street:
Pawhuska, OK on the street, at the city power plant
Perry, OK on the city street at the fire station, note the visible and IR photos:
North Carolina:
Fayetteville, NC at the sewage treatment plant next to sidewalk:
See the IR view, note heat of the sidewalk near sensor:
Ashland, OR at the sewage treatment plant
Lampasas, TX  on mian city street, at radio station parking lot.
let me know if you need others:
here is the breakdown for station compliance, 1007 of 1221 stations have been examined in the USHCN network, less than 10% were acceptablysited
CRN5 is worst, CRN1, 2 are acceptable per this NOAA 100 foot rule:
This one graphic, based on our most recent analysis tells the story:
Full report here, many graphics available in the powerpoint
The GAO back up my work last year:
GAO-11-800 August 31, 2011, Climate Monitoring: NOAA Can Improve Management of the U.S. Historical Climatology Network Highlights Page (PDF)   Full Report (PDF, 47 pages)   Accessible TextRecommendations (HTML)


Whether or not any of that supplemental info plus my two hours of time investment gets turned into a segment that reflects what I actually said is of course the question of the day. I have to think based on my interaction with Mr. Michels, which was quite pleasant, that it will be fair, though he did mention that there was quite a debate in the Washington office over my participation. So, that causes a little bit of worry to me.

On the plus side, he said something off camera that I thought was quite curious at the end of the interview:

You don’t seem that extreme.

I suppose that because I agreed that global warming occurred over the last century, and that Co2 plays a role (though isn’t the only driver) that he was surprised that he didn’t have a “denier” soundbite to work with. I spent a lot of time talking about station siting and the effects on absolute temperature and temperature trends as we discovered in Watts et al 2012, the logarithmic response of IR to CO2 in the atmosphere and other issues from a pragmatic viewpoint (IMHO).

Let’s hope he and the editors kept that thought about my supposed extremism when they edited.

UPDATE: My interview (a condensed version, though mostly accurate) is now online: http://wattsupwiththat.com/2012/09/17/my-interview-with-pbs-newshour-now-online/


newest oldest most voted
Notify of

In the media, the word “fair” is completely subjective. It can mean one thing for you and something totally different for the editor.

Maybe he meant you have a pleasant demeanor….in other words, you lack the horns and pitchfork he was told to expect.


Is there a way that those of us not in the US can see the program, please?
REPLY- it will be online afterwards, I’ll post it. – Anthony


Don’t worry, you will get your “denier” label at some point.
First rule, never trust a politician.
Second rule, apply first rule to journalists.
REPLY: This fellow is old school, and he and I have some shared history in the broadcast business through mutual acquaintances. I got no hint of any sort of setup or malice other than that one curious comment. We’ll see. – Anthony

Paul Westhaver

Well at least it wasn’t the CBC (Canadian Broadcorping Castration) wherein AW would have been portrayed and an insane right wing, Christian, Bush loving, seal hunt advocate, hater.
Maybe some facts will leak out through the cracks.

Jeff D.

Extreme is not a word I would ever use for you, Brutally passionate is far more accurate. Good luck on fair and balanced Anthony in these sad times I really think that phrase is dead.


Just make sure to make and keep your own copy of the interview.
That way if the editing isn’t fair, then you can prove your side of the story.

Extreme Danger, judging by what has happened previously, hope I’m wrong but I fear the worst.

Eric (skeptic)

Don’t let them pull a Lewandowski on you.


I have no confidence, none at all, that your views will be fairly represented. By the time they get through with you, you’ll seem as though you bark at the moon and soil your pants.
Defund NPR and PBS. (They lie and they know they lie.)

Clay Marley

You might consider sending photos of good weather stations so they can see the difference.
Good luck. My parents get almost all of their news from the PBS Newshour. I asked them about climategate a couple of years ago and they’d never heard of it.

Phil Ford

I hope we get a chance to see that interview here in the UK – any chance you could make sure to try and get a link to an online video when it’s aired over there? Meantime, many thanks from a regular reader here, for all your hard work from ‘across the pond’!


They’re always surprised when reality doesn’t match the echo-chamber they live in. You hope that their brains and whatever ethical sense they have would change their behavior, but when roving journalists return to the fold, the light goes out and the fantasy story remains in place. I don’t hold out much hope for a fair report. I’ll be looking for the “what they reported” v. “what I said” post here at WUWT.

I can’t wait to see it.
Every time skeptics gets a fair hearing we usually win out over the “warmists.”

Reed Coray

A warning Anthony. To a journalist (and society in general), the definition of “fair” is: “fair–adjective, anything that is to my benefit is fair, anything that is to my detriment is unfair.” Note that nowhere in the definition is there a reference to other parties.

Paul Westhaver

BTW…. very ballzy. Watts steps into the viper pit.


On the plus side, he said something off camera that I thought was quite curious at the end of the interview: “You don’t seem that extreme.”
Time will tell whether that was a plus or not. It does make it clear that his mindset regarding skeptics had already been set in stone. He’ll be a very exceptional journalist indeed if he can overcome his bias and make an even-handed presentation. He’s apparently already being beat up by his peers for even considering giving you air time. This could be a landmark piece of journalism or it could be the same old propaganda. We’ll soon know.


How on Earth can any sceptic view be considered ‘extremist’? What are these extreme views that we are supposed to hold? Is asking questions extremist?
As for warmist views, extreme is par for the course. Is there anything that the CAGW believer will not exaggerate?
Best of luck with your segment though I do think you are a hostage to fortune here. The fact that your inclusion was considered controversial makes me wary of the outcome.


Having read the democratic platform and its Climate change segments and given the massive bias that Even a Brit like me can detect from thousands of miles away, I wont hold my breath for them being fair towards either you or the subject.
Maybe I have just become deeply cynical in my dotage 🙂

I find it interesting that those who, in the past, have insisted upon “diversity” are the ones nowadays who are doing everything in their power to avoid it when it challenges their
belief that they are saving the world. I am continually struck by the close resemblance of these
folks to fundamentalist religion adherents – the same belief that man is sinful (i.e. has a size 13 carbon footprint) and needs to change his ways or a worldwide catastrophe will descend and wipe us out, and that their’s is the only path to salvation. Of course, their opposition to nuclear power seems to contradict their desires. Their God is Mother Nature, although the destructive forces it
produces doesn’t seem to alter their belief in Her goodness. Logically, environmentalists are
a basket case and have a more or less anti rational outlook – just look at their ready acceptance
of the most implausible conspiracy theories one can conjure up.

David, UK

Hope you recorded the interview yourself – even if only via a little digital recorder strategically hidden out of sight. Having said that, I’m pretty sure you legally need a person’s consent to record them. Just because I it’s obviously a common query in these cases: could you tell us if you did record it yourself, Anthony?

lurker, passing through laughing.

Be careful. These people are not fair and trustworthy.
See if you can make a complete, seperate unedited video of the interview, or get the same.
Media like this have no problem parsing an interview to make you look as badly as possible.
Beware of the friendly reporter who gets you to smile at somethign and then edits it to show you as some vacuuous uninformed person.
Be preapred, if it is a panel, to be rudely interrupted and then not allwed to respond.

Lets try again:
Here’s hoping that you are fairly represented by the editors Anthony. You never know, now that the IPCC have redefined climate change , the tide may be turning.

This is PBS right? Sorry but he must stick to the party line.
IT”S NOT HIS FAULT. I hope I’m wrong though!


Let’s hope he and the editors kept that thought about my supposed extremism when they edited.

Anthony, get your side of the story out at the same time that the section is aired. I hope you made a tape recording for yourself. You don’t want to be taken out of context. If you did then put it online when the section starts.

Paul Westhaver

Did you get a copy of the raw footage of your interview? I am a familiar with a CANDU Nuclear Plant Operations policy that requires all interviews of plant employees to be recorded by the Plant operations due to anti-nuke biased editing circa 1970s and 1980s. It was insurance against libel.


Anthony….while I love your optimism,you have as much chance of a “fair” editing and representation as a white mouse in a rattler’s cage. Journalistic integrity,whether print or media, was lost about…oh….hold it.What you never had,you can’t lose.


“I replied that all I asked for was “fair editing” and he replied that there would be.”
You are so naive Anthony. Get ready for disappointing news.


Yeah, Anthony. You don’t seem too extreme, but you didn’t let them interview UCS-member-in-good-standing Kenji Watts, did you?
I’ll be quite surprised if you’re not edited down to 8 seconds of “…there are some problems with some of the surface stations…” and then 3-4 minutes are given over to someone else explaining how those problems have “been accounted for and adjustments made and we’re still all gonna fry.”
I am not holding my breath for “Fair and balanced; we report, you decide.” But we’ll see.


I bet Anthony gets less than one minute air time and they show his statement closest to denialism they can edit. Plus they will use the least flattering shot with a telephone pole coming out of the top of his head.

j molloy

careful anthony remember what they did to dellingpole. record the interview yourself. it can’t be illegal to record something that happens in your own office, can it ?

Paul Coppin

DayHay says:
September 17, 2012 at 11:44 am
Don’t worry, you will get your “denier” label at some point.
First rule, never trust a politician.
Second rule, apply first rule to journalists.
REPLY: This fellow is old school, and he and I have some shared history in the broadcast business through mutual acquaintances. I got no hint of any sort of setup or malice other than that one curious comment. We’ll see. – Anthony

He’s just the field producer, who’s only job is to supply the content, probably given a checklist of things to look for. He doesn’t do the on-air edit, or even probably have a contribution to it. Don’t expect to come off looking especially well. PBS went off the rails with the election of Obama. Ifil is so in the tank, its embarrassing. If you didn’t come off extreme, you might not see much actual airtime…

D Boehm

Happy Birthday, Anthony!

I see on the PBS web site that tonight’s story is titled:
“A change of heart for a global warming skeptic”
No doubt this is a story about Muller and his BEST project.
Watts may not get trashed, but his opinion will be marginalized.

j molloy

better still have a large digital clock displaying hours, minutes & secondbehind you in shot

j molloy

sorry that should be seconds behind you


There seems to be some worry they’ll edit AW into a crazy denier.
I think it would be more clever and actually quite funny if they edited him into the consensus. He probably made enough statements of truth that concede points to the opposition, and defferent waffles to invite civil discussion, that it could be spliced in with polar bear drownings and pictures of dried out corn stalks to make a good scare movie.
I agree with the sentiment here that the warmists tend to be left wingers, but don’t forget that the real forte of the left wing is unconstrained thought (unconstrained by arbitrary tradition or by reality). I enjoy NPR the same way I enjoy Star Wars – suspension of disbelief and acceptance that it assumes the character of the genre.


You”re a brave man, Anthony. I do think they’ll make an effort to be “fair,” but their number one job is to promulgate the CAGW partly line. They’re convinced all skeptics are all nut-jobs and that the fate of the planet is hanging in the balance.
The main problem is you’ll never be given the last word. You’ll be seen pointing out XYZ problem, and then we’ll be shown someone from the team explaining, in condescending tones no doubt, why you’re wrong. And that will be that. So much for fair and balanced.

Note to all WUWT readers, regardless of your position (alarmist, lukewarmer, or skeptic), when being interviewed by “the media”, always have a video or at least a sound recording of the interview. As a condition of the interview, always insist the copyright for the raw interview is jointly shared (you are 50% of it, consequently you _OWN_ 50% of it). Let them know you reserve the exclusive right to publish your raw recording of the interview in the event you ‘feel’ you have been used & abused by the media’s editing of the interview. The editing process is extremely subjective. Alternatively, don’t tell “the media” you are also recording the interview, since it is more fun to ‘catch’ the interviewer in a lie at a later date.

Toby Nixon

Thanks for the heads-up, Anthony. This is one of those days I’m happy Comcast lets me program my DVR over the internet!


I have to think based on my interaction with Mr. Michels, which was quite pleasant, that it will be fair

I think someone wanting you to lower your guard would be quite pleasant, also. But maybe I’m just too cynical about such issues.

David Ball

Anthony has the devastating WUWT? to get his side out. Be aware that EVERYBODY on either side of the debate read WUWT? extensively. The bullies fear your reach Anthony. What is more important is that the surfacestations project is correct.
People who believe the stuff oozing from their tv set need to wake up. The world is being bamboozled by a source of entertainment that is extremely powerful in zombie-fying those who are hypnotized by it’s enticing glow.

Well, let’s hope they give you a fair shake, Anthony.
Please post a link to the interview. I, for one, unplugged my television about 5 years ago. And I can guarantee you I have not missed it.


I can get pbs news here in the uk via virginmedia,channel 243. and its on Sky channel 166.
Looking forward to it.
Heres`s hoping we dont get a cut down version.


azleader says:
September 17, 2012 at 12:36 pm
Watts may not get trashed, but his opinion will be marginalized.

Maybe the story will be that Professor Muller demonstrates mathematically that Watts’ surfacestations project doesn’t change anything, and that Watts, himself, agrees that the earth is warming so it’s all a big waste of time.

It’s interesting that Anthony mentions ‘the logarithmic response of IR to CO2’
This seems often forgotten.
Has this curve ever appeared in an IPCC report? I have seen it explained in a subdued way but I have not seen the curve. Callendar used it in his AGW papers in the 1930s but I have not seen it in AGW account since. I spoke to someone once who was telling me about his failed campaign to get it into SAR. Such a dampening response (lim -> 0) is of course the mathematical opposite to catastrophic (lim -> infin, or classic catastrophic tipping pts) and so anathema to the alarmist project.


I would still like to see the evidence behind CO2 being a factor – I know the chemistry behind the suggestion that CO2 influences global temperatures – but I have yet to see absolute proof suggesting this is true – in fact the CERN Cloud study suggested other things, and at least from the abstracts I saw at the time of the release, that CO2 impact was negligible.
I realize that is only one study – but before I believe anything about CO2 I would sure like some actual evidence – not a chemistry lab experiment – verifying it. It seems that CO2 is more a byproduct of heating than its cause.


Leave it to the prejudiced broadcasting service to never surprise anyone. It’s refreshing that you still trust people Anthony, but sometimes worrisome.