Perhaps the mainstream media have come to the realization that after decades of end-of-the-world predictions and oversaturation coverage, during which time global temperatures have barely budged, the public has stopped paying attention.
This week, the southwest was hit with an earth-scorching heat wave, with temperatures well above 100 in some areas. Normally that would cause every news organization to trot out “global warming is killing us” stories. But not this time. Maybe they’ve caught on to the fact that the public has tuned out.
It wasn’t long ago when the mainstream press took every opportunity, no matter how weak the connection, to blame bad things on global warming. So far, at least, we haven’t found one major story using the heat wave gripping the southwest to sound the alarm about global warming.
This lack of alarmism has not gone unnoticed.
Writing at the New Republic this week, Emily Atkin complained that despite record-breaking heat and a wildfire season that, she says, is already worse than usual, “there’s no climate connection to be found in much news coverage, even in historically climate-conscious outlets like NPR and The New York Times.”
When Atkin contacted NPR for an explanation, the network’s science editor said “You don’t just want to be throwing around, ‘This is due to climate change, that is due to climate change.'”
Also this week, Chris Hayes of the uber-liberal MSNBC responded to a complaint on Twitter that his network wasn’t clanging the global warming alarm bells loudly enough or regularly enough with this tweet:
“every single time we’ve covered it’s been a palpable ratings killer. so the incentives are not great.”
So why this sudden outburst of common sense among the mainstream press?
Perhaps they’ve come to the realization that after decades of end-of-the-world predictions and oversaturation coverage, during which time global temperatures have barely budged, the public has stopped paying attention. You can only predict the end of the world so many times, after all, before people start to get skeptical.
The attempts by scientists and environmental activists to blame everything on global warming has probably increased public skepticism as well. Case in point is a video running on the Weather Channel app about a study that claims to have found a link between suicides and climate change. Even an uninformed public will start to question the validity of all these wild claims.
The public may also have noticed that the most vocal preachers of climate change doom — Al Gore, Leonardo DiCaprio, etc. — don’t act like there’s any crisis whatsoever. They still own huge energy sucking mansions and party on massive gas guzzling yachts.
They aren’t the only global warming hypocrites. A survey earlier this year by researchers at the University of Michigan and Cornell University found that those who said they were “highly concerned” about global warming were the least likely to take individual action. Skeptics were more likely to do the things the alarmist demand: recycle, use public transportation and so forth.
How big a crisis can climate change be if those who scream the loudest about it can’t be bothered to change their own behavior?
Whatever the cause of the climate ennui, it’s clear that years of proselytizing about the “existential threat” posed by a warmer planet has failed to win many converts.
In fact, a recent Gallup survey asked people to name the most important problems facing the country today. Neither “climate change” nor “global warming” even showed up on the list of more than 45 items. Just 2% named “environment/pollution.”