As we awake to national news and preempted programs held hostage to the weather, it’s worth noting one finding that barely half of TV weatherman hold a college degree in meteorology or another atmospheric science.
There’s a difference between accredited meteorologists and those schooled in the science of climatology. TV weatherman are largely meteorologists. (ABC’s Sam Champion is not even that. He’s got a B.A. in broadcast news from Eastern Kentucky University.) CJR:
Kris Wilson, an Emory University journalism lecturer and a former TV news director and weatherman himself…surveyed a group of TV meteorologists, asking them to respond to Coleman’s claim [link] 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. [….]
More striking is the fact that the weathercasters became outspoken in their rejection of climate science right around the time the rest of the media began to abandon the on-the-one-hand, on-the-other-hand approach that had dominated their coverage of the issue for years, and started to acknowledge that the preponderance of evidence lay with those who believed climate change was both real and man-made. If anything, that shift radicalized the weathermen. “I think the media is almost sleeping with the enemy,” one meteorologist told me. “The way it is now, there is just such a bias as to what gets out.”
Free-market think tanks like the Heartland Institute, knowing an opportunity when they see one, now woo weathercasters with invitations to skeptics’ conferences. The National Science Foundation and the Congress-funded National Environmental Education Foundation, meanwhile, are pouring money into efforts to figure out where exactly the climate scientists lost the meteorologists, and how to win them back. The American Meteorological Society (AMS)—which formally endorsed the scientific consensus on climate change years ago, but counts many of the skeptics among its members, to its chagrin—has started including climate-change workshops for weathercasters in its conferences.
No wonder Americans are skeptical. When asked whom they trusted for information about global warming, 66 percent of the respondents named television weather reporters.
Copyright 2010 The Moderate Voice