Bozell Column: Climate Skeptics Need Mental Help?

Talk about an inconvenient truth. In ever-increasing numbers, Americans are becoming skeptical about the scientific argument that there’s a man-made global-warming crisis that requires immediate and drastic government action. The media’s enablers of the radical environmental left have a response: maybe America just isn’t smart or curious enough to save the planet. In fact, they say our growing denial is making us nationally irrational.

On Monday, National Public Radio’s "Morning Edition" ran a story by science correspondent Richard Harris. He worried out loud about a new Harris Poll showing that 51 percent of the American public believes that the carbon dioxide building up in the atmosphere could warm up our planet. That’s down from 71 percent just two years ago. That’s a free-fall.

Harris found an expert from Yale to explain this decline is based on our poor economy. People are too worried about their jobs to care about the fate of the entire globe. In a poll by the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press, that’s why climate came in dead last of 20 issues of concern.

But that’s a dodge. It doesn't explain why a number of recent polls show that people are less and less likely to accept the "science" of global warming. Another possibility was lurking out there.

NPR brought on sociologist Kari Marie Norgaard of Whitman College in Walla Walla, Washington, to explain why, as scientists grow ever more confident of global warming, public opinion is moving the other way. "This seems irrational," she said. "And in that sense, it's challenging the basic premise that we have of an enlightened, democratic, modern society."

Harris said Norgaard studied the shift in public opinion and found that people are not too bright and easily overwhelmed: "As people start to feel overwhelmed by the scope of the problem, they simply turn away from the topic. It's denial, plain and simple," Harris suggested. Norgaard added: "We just don't want to know about it, and so we are actively distancing ourselves from it or trying to protect ourselves from it."

Her scientific theory: Anyone immersed in global warming theory embraces it. To know it is to love it. Anyone opposed to that theory has his nose in a corner with his fingers in his ears, trying not to hear a discouraging word.

The arrogance of liberals never ceases to amaze. Lazy people are the most likely people to go with the media flow on global doom and gloom. But get intellectually involved, analyze the evidence, listen to the discussions on talk radio, read the hot websites skeptical of the global-warming lobby – and you’re bizarrely analyzed as someone who’s "distancing themselves" from reality.

On Tuesday, The Washington Post dove into the shallow end of this debate with a psychoanalysis of its own. Their headline was "It’s natural to behave irrationally: Climate change is just the latest problem that people acknowledge but ignore." Reporter David Fahrenthold began: "To a psychologist, climate change looks as if it was designed to be ignored."

The Post’s expert was Duke professor Dan Ariely: "We are collectively irrational, in the sense that we should really care about the long-term well-being of the planet, but when we get up in the morning, it’s very hard to motivate ourselves." Failing to support Al Gore & Company, Ariely surmised, is just like "why we don’t exercise, and we overeat, and we bite our fingernails...It’s not something where we’re going to overcome human nature."

The elitists at NPR and The Washington Post didn’t stop to consider that while journalists love to scare people about global warming, they’ve seriously neglected to explain what the proposed command-and-control government "solutions" are. In October, the Pew Research Center found that when they asked how much people had heard about a policy called "cap and trade," a majority had not. Fourteen percent said they had heard "a lot" about it, 30 percent said they’d heard "a little" – and 55 percent said they’d heard "nothing."

The networks have barely covered the global-warming legislation debate in Congress this year, preferring to cover health care – which is exactly what Team Obama wanted. Every piece of trivia from Tiger Woods to White House party-crashers has received more attention, at least until the Left gathered in Copenhagen. There was zero coverage on ABC, CBS, and NBC of the "cap and trade" bill in the House – until after it passed. And then it vanished again.

If Americans are growing skeptical of global warming, it’s not due to Al Gore’s army in the newsrooms of the Old Media. It’s the impact of the New Media, daring to expose how "science" is being manipulated and exaggerated to bring about a massive socialist intervention in our economy.

[Crazy Inhofe Bobblehead image from urantiansojourn.com]

Brent Bozell
Brent Bozell
Brent Bozell is the Founder and President of the Media Research Center