April 30, 2007
A Global Warming
Skeptic’s Primer on Propaganda
Can a science ignoramus make a compelling case against the supposed
scientific super-consensus on global warming?
This supposed super-consensus of scientists tells us that global
warming, and man’s complicity therein, are undeniable. And we must act
now to stop it.
don’t really understand science, so I won’t try to take on the
scientists on their turf. But they’re coming on mine. I do understand
propaganda. And no matter how compelling some of the science may be,
it’s the nature of the propaganda – aimed at influencing public policy
through politics – that causes me to smell a rat.
used to own a public relations firm. During a 10-year career in the PR
field, I became familiar with the techniques that are used to influence
public opinion on an issue. You repeat your message often. You “partner”
with celebrities if you can. And you work through the news media by
giving them new angles as often as possible.
The message of the global warming movement could not be clearer: It’s
a crisis. We need to act now, or the consequences will be catastrophic.
Action means international agreements to regulate the way people and
industries do things. If we wait until we’re sufficiently “sure,” it
will be too late. We’re sure. Stop debating it and take action.
You use certain tactics to get the public to buy in to your message. One
is to use celebrities and entertainers. Al Gore’s Live Earth concerts
will do nicely. Millions will tune in (myself included; I want to see
Genesis) and hear the message that we need to act now to save the
planet. The artists they respect and admire will either be delivering
the message or standing there applauding.
Another tactic is the trickle of news on the subject. In recent weeks,
we have been treated to a veritable scare-a-day feast of
global-warming-related headlines. One day global warming is going
deplete the water in the Great Lakes. Another day it is going to change
the sex of lizards. Then it’s going to make tropical fish bigger. Each
headline results from the release of a new “study.” You think it’s a
coincidence that a new one comes out every day?
In PR, if you think you’re winning the debate, you proceed to the next
step of marginalizing the skeptics. This step is fully in motion with
the labeling of skeptics as “deniers,” a loaded word designed to evoke
comparisons to neo-Nazis who deny the Holocaust. Mr. Gore was advocating
as early as 1992 that major media should not cover “both sides” of the
issue because to do so would give a false impression that there are
two sides. Early in my career as a journalist, a particularly arrogant
PR person tried the same tactic on me when I was writing a story about a
local development issue. The proponents were respected community
leaders, he explained, and the opponents were gadflies and cranks. Their
point of view did not deserve mention in my story. The media are loathe
to compromise their access to “respected community leaders,” so this
tactic often works.
Finally, PR likes to achieve its goals by attaching them to a popular
cause. Global socialism is not a popular cause, but saving the planet
is. Check the roster of save-the-planet, we-must-act-now activists. You
don’t find many fans of market capitalism. Global warming is merely a
means to an end for many in the movement. Whether the UN controls and
regulates the world’s economy for the purpose of stopping global warming
or curing cancer, it makes no difference. Any reason will do.
Science has demonstrated convincingly that global temperatures have been
rising for the past generation. I am not skeptical of that. But
temperatures have risen many times in the Earth’s storied history – when
there were no smokestacks, internal combustion engines or Bush
administrations. Every single period of warming was followed by a period
of cooling, even though the UN wasn’t there to regulate anything.
Should you take it from a science ignoramus that the situation will
moderate itself once again? Up to you. But if you buy into some of the
most sophisticated propaganda ever perpetrated on modern society – and
let yourself be intimidated into believing it for fear of being labeled
a “denier” – don’t say I didn’t warn you.
© 2007 North Star
Writers Group. May not be republished without permission.