Weathermen amongst most trusted authorities on climate change; many are skeptics
January 15, 2010
Columbia Journalism Review reports a worrying fact: a significant number of US weathermen on TV believe climate change is a scam, and two thirds of Americans trust weathermen for information about climate change.
Coleman’s crusade caught the eye of Kris Wilson, an Emory University journalism lecturer and a former TV news director and weatherman himself, and Wilson got to wondering. He surveyed a group of TV meteorologists, asking them to respond to Coleman’s claim that global warming was a scam. The responses stunned him. Twenty-nine percent of the 121 meteorologists who replied agreed with Coleman not that global warming was unproven, or unlikely, but that it was a scam.* Just 24 percent of them believed that humans were responsible for most of the change in climate over the past half century, half were sure this wasn’t true, and another quarter were “neutral” on the issue. “I think it scares and disturbs a lot of people in the science community,” Wilson told me recently. This was the most important scientific question of the twenty-first century thus far, and a matter on which more than eight out of ten climate researchers were thoroughly convinced. And three quarters of the TV meteorologists Wilson surveyed believe the climatologists were wrong.
Some other worrying facts highlighted by Charles Homans:
- Only 17% of weather reporters have a graduate degree of any kind, while only half had a degree in meteorology or similar.
- Only scientists outrank weathermen as more authoritative on climate change.
- Just 18% of Americans know a scientist.
- 99% of Americans own a TV.
- John Coleman is a well known climate skeptic who founded The Weather Channel (he doesn’t work there now).
- 85 million people watched The Weather Channel in 2008.
Read the entire article here.
(Via Sean Kidney.)