ABC Skips Opposing Views; Continues to Fret About No Ice at North Pole

March 3rd, 2009 3:40 PM

Despite evidence to the contrary, Tuesday's "Good Morning America" continued to hype the idea that there could soon be no Arctic sea ice at the North Pole. Co-host Robin Roberts began a segment on the subject by fretting, "But, can you imagine going to the beach and finding it's not there? Sounds like science fiction."

Referencing a group of scientists who are traveling 600 miles across the Arctic to test ice thickness she added, "Well, a new expedition is under way to find out if this could happen in the not-so-distant future." However, "Good Morning America" has been wrong on this issue in the past. On the June 28, 2008 GMA, weekend anchor Kate Snow introduced a story on polar bears by worrying, "You know, the polar bear has become the iconic face of climate change and this summer scientists are saying the North Pole could be without ice, another symptom of a warming planet." Yet, by the fall of last year, the arctic ice caps had grown by 150,000 square miles (which, while still low, is not the same as disappearing.)

Additionally, Discovery News reported on March 2 of this year that global warming may be on hold. On the Discovery Channel website, Michael Reilly wrote, "Earth's climate continues to confound scientists. Following a 30-year trend of warming, global temperatures have flatlined since 2001 despite rising greenhouse gas concentrations, and a heat surplus that should have cranked up the planetary thermostat."

And Bloomberg reporter Alex Morales noted on February 20, 2009 that a satellite glitch had resulted in scientists underestimating the amount of arctic sea ice by 500,000 square kilometers. Yet, ABC's onscreen graphic didn't mention any of this and instead asked, "Explorers Begin North Pole Trek: Is all the Ice Disappearing?"

GMA reporter Nick Watt featured no opposing views and only stated, "Their [Arctic scientists] data might tell us how soon the polar ice could disappear completely." ABC viewers should expect more of this type of reporting, as the correspondent explained that in a few weeks, "Good Morning America" would be joining the expedition and will track the progress of the scientists investigating the level of sea ice.

The ABC morning show has developed quite a reputation for global warming alarmism. Weatherman Sam Champion famously hosted a segment on January 31, 2007 that featured a hyperbolic graphic which screamed, "Will Billions Die from Global Warming? New Details on Thirst and Hunger."

A transcript of the March 3 segment, which aired at 7:37, follows:

ROBIN ROBERTS: But, can you imagine going to the beach and finding it's not there? Sounds like science fiction. Well, a new expedition is under way to find out if this could happen in the not-so-distant future. It's an expedition to the North Pole that will take a look at the ice caps. And our Nick Watt went along for the ride.

NICK WATT: This daring expedition has taken five years of planning and training.

UNIDENTIFIED EXPLORER: Here we are in the middle of the Arctic Ocean. Safely landed.

WATT: The two men and one woman are excited to be on their way.

PEN HADDOW (explorer): We're also very anxious because this is a huge challenge we've set ourselves to do the journey and the surveying on top in the world's most extreme environment.

WATT: They're expecting temperatures as low as minus 60 degrees. They'll have to swim part of the way, where the ice has melted.

ABC GRAPHIC: Explorers Begin North Pole Trek: Is all the Ice Disappearing?

ANN DANIELS (explorer): We will have to deal with potential polar bear attacks, open water, thin ice, moving ridges and, of course, surviving in the terrible temperatures.

WATT: This awesome adventure has a serious purpose. The team will progress this radar 600 miles to the North Pole. Every few inches, it measures the ice thickness. And ten times a day, the team drill through the ice pack, which is melting at an alarming rate. Their data might tell us how soon the polar ice could disappear completely.

HADDOW: Some scientists say this sea ice loss could occur in just four years from now.

WATT: Those polar bears the team are afraid of would lose their natural habitat and global weather patterns would change. This trek will take three months. And in just a few weeks, we'll be joining the team, out there on the ice and bringing you an update from their progress. For "Good Morning America," Nick Watt, ABC News, London.

ROBERTS: My goodness. And we're truly looking forward to Nick Watt reports from out there.