Discovery Channel Finds Climate Alarmism Isn't Popular

Based on its past track record, it would have been unsurprising if the Discovery Channel's new and heavily-promoted miniseries "Frozen Planet" pushed heavy on themes of global warming and man-caused climate change. But it doesn't - a surprising change for the cable network that has, for years, pushed the climate change message.

The New York Times took note of the change in a Friday article that surmised that the Discovery Channel was influenced by a desire for ratings:


The vast majority of scientists agree that human activities are influencing changes to the climate — especially at the poles — and believe that the situation requires serious attention. That scientific consensus is absent from 'Frozen Planet,' for reasons that shed light on the dilemma of commercial television, where the pursuit of ratings can sometimes clash with the quest for environmental and scientific education, particularly in issues, like global warming that involve vociferous debate. Including the scientific theories 'would have undermined the strength of an objective documentary, and would then have become utilized by people with political agendas," Vanessa Berlowitz, the series producer, said in an interview. She added, 'I feel that we’re trying to educate mass audiences and get children involved, and we didn’t want people saying ‘Don’t watch this show because it has a slant on climate change.’

The Times says the Discovery Channel's "anticipating criticism and tiptoeing around it accordingly"  reflects the "political and ideological fury that infuses many conversations about climate change," adding, "some scientists say that the politicization of the subject has succeeded in causing governments, corporations and media outlets to shy away from open discussion about it."

A more simple explanation may be that the Discovery Channel has realized that the public isn't buying the "climate change" mantra anymore, or at least that there is a viable counter point of view.

"Frozen Planet" isn't the only sign that the Discovery Channel also recently announced it is shutting down the low-rated enviro-themed Planet Green cable channel.

As Steve Maley wrote at RedState, "One day we may look back on this as the time when the tide began to recede – that being the tide of Anthropogenic Global Warming hysteria. The canary in this metaphorical mine is the Discovery Channel, long a mass purveyor of AGW porn. In its new seven-part series 'Frozen Planet" Discovery confronts distraught polar bears and calving glaciers in glorious High Definition, but nary a mention of the Scientific Consensus that can best be summed up as 'Aaaaargghhh! We’re All Going to Die!!' Because their marketers have discovered that people don’t buy that. Either they don’t agree or they’ve tired of the subject, but Discovery just can’t sell that brand of compost any more."

And maybe the editorial decision-makers at Discovery Channel have been paying attention to the news recently, including reports of the lack of actual global warming since the year 2000. Even some former pushers of the global warming hysteria are backing away from the hype and hysteria, as MSNBC reported Monday in a story about scientist James Lovelock, a scientist who "became a guru to the environmental movement with his 'Gaia' theory of the Earth as a single organism," and who has written alarmist books about global warming, but recently has changed his tune and now regrets being such an alarmist.

“The problem is we don’t know what the climate is doing," Lovelock told MSNBC. "We thought we knew 20 years ago. That led to some alarmist books – mine included – because it looked clear-cut, but it hasn’t happened ... We were supposed to be halfway toward a frying world now. The world has not warmed up very much since the millennium. Twelve years is a reasonable time… it (the temperature) has stayed almost constant, whereas it should have been rising -- carbon dioxide is rising, no question about that."

Whether they did so out of concern over ratings or wishing to avoid political controversy - or simply because the issue of climate change is not nearly as cut-and-dried as some media outlets like to pretend, the result for the Discovery Channel with "Frozen Planet" is what they claim it to be - a documentary.

Matthew Sheffield
Matthew Sheffield
Matthew Sheffield, creator of NewsBusters and president of Dialog New Media, an internet marketing and design firm, left NewsBusters at the end of 2013