Now THIS Is Irresponsible Broadcast Journalism

"Rarrit!" [Translation: ]

“Rarrit!” [Translation: “Potentially, it’s connected to that-“ ]

This jaw-droppingly stupid conversation actually took place on CBS This Morning, as hosts Charlie Rose and Norah O’Donnell mused about the extreme cold hitting the U.S., and attempted to connect it to that shared mission of the media, environmentalists, and anti-capitalists, global warming, though when you are using epic cold as your proof, “climate change” sounds a lot less silly:

CHARLIE ROSE: Is it stronger/weaker this year than it has been in the past?

BRYAN WALSH, TIME SENIOR EDITOR: …There is – some theories, actually, that some of the warming, actually, you’re seeing up in the Arctic might be changing the atmospheric circulation in that part of the world – actually causing those winds to weaken, and maybe, makes these cold spells a little more likely than they otherwise be….We had a few strong snowstorms – this despite the fact that we’re still seeing warming happening in the winter and the rest of the year. So, there is some theory that, maybe, this is changing the atmosphere, making it more likely.

NORAH O’DONNELL: …I mean, this is the first time I’ve heard the phrase ‘polar vortex’, and I don’t feel I’m out of it. I mean, were you familiar with it?

WALSH: I was not that familiar with it – no – but now, of course, it’s one of those terms that’s –  that’s everywhere….

ROSE: Is it definitely connected to global warming?

WALSH: Potentially, it’s connected to that-

ROSE: Potentially-

WALSH: These, these – been happening already. What’s new, perhaps, is the fact that the winds may actually [be] weakening. That could be due to warming in the Arctic; changing the atmospheric circulation; therefore, making it more likely for that cold, dense air to escape the vortex – spill down to us.

Now who can argue with that?

Translation: “Actually, none of us have a clue what the hell we’re talking about, nor are any of us remotely conversant in the actual science of climate change, but this is an important part of progressive/Obama/Democratic cant, and people are almost certain to be wondering “Huh? I thought the climate was getting warmer like Al Gore said. What’s with this cold?”, so we’re going to ad-lib some supposedly informational blather and hope that works.”

This was, to paraphrase Olson Johnson in “Blazing Saddles,” authentic liberal broadcast journalist gibberish. If you don’t know what you are talking about, Charlie, Norah, why not get a real, objective climate expert in rather than a professional global warming flack and generalist who is not a scientist or even a meteorologist and who has never heard of the phenomenon under discussion (“Uh, polar vortex?“), or, in the alternative, shut up.

Seriously, what exactly does it mean that Walsh, who just said that he was unfamiliar with the polar vortex, answered Charlie’s question—Is  this thing you never heard of before and know as little about as my cocker spaniel definitely connected to global warming?by saying, “Potentially, this thing I just said I had never head of before is connected—whatever I may mean by connected, I have no idea, but let’s keep this as vague as possible—to global warming”? It might connect today’s current cold  to future catastrophic warmer conditions eventually? How is that supposed to work? If the polar vortex that is causing the record cold is caused by global warming, then it IS happening, it doesn’t have the potential to happen….it’s either happening now, or it isn’t. Does Walsh mean, “Someday, when we’re looking at the Atlantic from our Nebraska coastline, scientists may decide that, looking back, this cold snap was related to global warming. Or maybe not”? Essentially he’s saying “Maybe,” or, more precisely, “I have no idea. I’m not a scientist. But I want people to think this is part of climate change, so I’m going to sound as authoritative as possible.”

This was embarrassing. This was dishonest, and irresponsible. This was incompetent, unprofessional, biased, and unworthy of a junior high “Kids News” broadcast—an insult to the CBS audience, and a shocking attempt at advocacy without even minimal expertise.

How much further can network news sink?

Facts: MRCTV

16 thoughts on “Now THIS Is Irresponsible Broadcast Journalism

  1. Jesus Christ, they were just chatting about the weather. How benign is that? And you’re about to have an aneurysm over it.

    Jack why not concentrate on the recent murder of Max Stark, the
    Hasidic from New York? There’s a lot more social angles to that one.

    • They were not “chatting about the weather.” They brought in Time’s environmentalism editor to chat about the weather? You are the kind of viewer that lets them think they can get away with such crap.

      I write what I want to write about, when I want to write about it. Off=hand, I think most people get that murder is unethical. Apparently they don’t know when the media is conning them, as your comment indicates.

      • No arguments that you write what you want, but I’ve seen some interesting reports about the Stark murder. Basically some tabloid used the phrase “Who DIDN’T want him dead?” in a headline and referred to him as a slumlord, and the Hasidic community is up in arms about it and calling it all quite anti-Semitic. I’d be interested to hear your take on what kind of rhetoric is legit in newspapers (the quote was a headline for an article about his shady dealings and scandals, not necessarily the paper’s view), and whether you think they have cause for complaint.

        On topic, though, I get ulcers whenever I hear mainstream talking heads say they’re going to talk about science. Of course a single cold snap doesn’t disprove hypotheses about climate change any more than a heat wave proves them, However, either THEY think it does, or they assume (probably correctly) that the VIEWERS think it does, so every weather phenomenon has to be tied to the predominant weather/climate question of the day.

    • They were trying to talk about science, and about science with public policy implications, on a national TV network. Higher standards are in order than when chatting over the fence with a neighbor about whether it will rain tomorrow.

      “If you don’t know what you are talking about, Charlie, Norah, why not get a real, objective climate expert” — absolutely. There are times when “I don’t know” is the only correct answer.

      At the risk of derailing, since Jack’s point was about their incompetence and not about climate science, it appears from a little Internet research (which they could have done while putting on makeup) that such a climate scientist would say something like “We don’t know for sure. It’s possible, strange as it sounds, for changes such as less snow cover and less sea ice to let Arctic winds wobble into non-Arctic areas and cause cold snaps, but we simply don’t have enough data yet to tell you that’s what’s happening”.

        • It could have been informative about scientific thinking too. Imagine a scientist on TV saying, about one of the situations where it applies, “We’ve done the numbers carefully and independently checked each other, but we’ve only been watching it for ten years and nature could still tell us we’ve made a mistake somewhere. That happens and when it does we have to start over. [gives examples]”.

          That would have been more informative about climate issues than any single discussion about weather events could have been, it’s CBS’s duty to be informative, and this was worse than a missed opportunity. CBS put word salad where climate science needed to be and probably left viewers thinking that climatologists are equally stupid.

          The hard part would be finding someone who understands what Rossby waves are but who knows how to explain things without mentioning them and causing millions of eyeballs to glaze over. That’s a rare combination of skills, but if CBS doesn’t have someone like that on speed dial then that’s another layer of negligence.

        • Going to put the bulk of my comments in the Stark post, but as far as this one goes. Network news is written by people, their ethnicity and religious beliefs shape their world-view, (this determines their “angle” on current events) then read by humans called ‘broadcasters’ from a TelePromp.

          I like Charlie Rose, and can’t understand except for a gigantic paycheck, why he hosts that broadcast.

    • OK, so they were wrong about that ONE THING, and now we should disregard all the “settled science”, just because it’s wrong? Good god man! Clearly you must see that the only way to save the planet is to institute every far-left, anti-freedom, socialist wet-dream, total change in the structure and fabric of our society. Just in case!

  2. “How much further can network news sink?”

    Hadn’t it already hit bottom with misleadingly editing a 911 tape (NBC), and falsely linking a spree shooter to the Tea Party (ABC)?

  3. When I hear about this type of “News Reporting” it takes the mystery out of why the Onion type of news parody stories will sometimes be taken as true. (Like the recent parody about 37 people dying in Colorado as a result of legal marijuana consumption).

  4. The sad thing is, this is the level of ‘expertise’ which has been used to peddle global warming from day one. The sadder thing is, there are people who will not only believe it, but parrot it back to you. The outrageous thing is that they’re selling it to children both in schools and in every form of media out there – and you’re a climate-denying, racist, tea-bagging ignorant, creationist, bible-thumping redneck if you dare to disagree. Shades of Hitler’s Youth…

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