Democrats bribe local TV shows to push
Global warming, now hyped by your local TV weathercaster
Democrat Senators own the stock for wind mills, solar panels and
electric cars so they make profits if you believe in global warming
Local weathercasters have become one of
the primary conduits for news on global warming. One nonprofit
helped push the change.
powerful winter storm moves toward New England on Jan. 4, 2018.NOAA
LaPointe has been a television weatherman for nearly three
decades, and for most of his career, he didn’t focus much on
global warming. He was skeptical about the science behind it,
particularly the notion that human behavior was heating the
But the issue
wouldn’t go away. So LaPointe began to do “a lot of homework,” he
said, reading research papers and consulting fellow
meteorologists, who connected him with a nonprofit,Climate
Central,that spreads information on
increasingly came to realize he was wrong — that the evidence that
greenhouse gases are warming the Earth is “irrefutable.” Now,
LaPointe routinely reports on the effects of climate change — from
the escalated growth of poison ivy to a jump in the number of
high-pollen days — alongside his usual seven-day nightly forecasts
on CBS affiliate WRGB in Albany, New York.
journey has been repeated by many of his peers across America. The
friendly neighborhood meteorologist — found in a 2010 poll to be
more skeptical than the general public about global warming — has
rapidly evolved to not only accept climate change but to share the
news with audiences in hundreds of U.S. television markets.
Key to the
shift has been Climate Central, the nonprofit that helped school
LaPointe. The Princeton, New Jersey-based organization sponsors
classes and webinars for meteorologists and also shares real-time
data and graphics with TV stations. The group has reached more
than 500 local TV weathercasters — about a quarter of those
working in the U.S. — since it started its“Climate
Matters”education program in 2012, and it
is expanding this week to a wider group of journalists.
So far, the
efforts have paid off. The number of stories on global warming by
television weather people has increased 15-fold over five years,
according to data from theCenter
for Climate Change Communicationat George
Mason University. If the trend continues this year, there will be
more than a thousand stories that touch on climate delivered
during local TV weathercasts, up from just 55 such climate stories
with meteorologists are particularly significant because local TV
news remains the top source of news for most Americans. And George
Mason surveys have shown that when it comes to climate issues, the
public trusts their familiar local TV personalities more than
anyone, other than scientists and family members.
Americans don’t know a scientist, and their loved ones probably
don’t know much about long-term climate dynamics, said Ed Maibach,
the climate change center’s director. “So we immediately saw the
potential with weather people,” he said, “and helping them to do
the job of putting extreme weather in context.”
WEATHER FORECASTERS ARE AN IMPORTANT PART OF CLIMATE MESSAGING
percent of Americans now accept that global warming is occurring,
and 58 percent agree that it is mostly caused by human activities,
most people still don’t express urgency about the problem. It’s
not listed as a pressing issue by most voters and just 39 percent
believe that climate change is causing harm right now, according
George Mason surveyof 1,278 adults.
people this is distant in time, distant in space, distant in
species,” said Susan Hassol, who has been working in climate
communications for three decades. “We say, ‘No, it’s about us, and
it’s local, and it's happening right now.’”
researchers at George Mason and communications experts at Climate
Central believe the big changes needed to slow global warming will
happen only when citizens sense the urgency of the threat and the
opportunity to make things better. Under a National Science
Foundation grant, with research support from NASA and the National
Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration, George Mason and
Climate Central have collaborated on the Climate Matters project
to get weathercasters to report on global warming.
still not enough people telling that story, of what climate change
means to me and what it means to the community,” said Bernadette
Woods Placky, Climate Central’s director and a former TV
weathercaster. “It’s time to move beyond the question of ‘Is
climate change happening?’ to the question ‘What does climate
change mean to me?’“
It was just
eight years ago that the George Mason climate group surveyed 571
weathercasters and found that only about half believed in global
warming, while one-quarter said it was “a scam.” The dim view of
climate science, coming from some of the people most likely to
talk to the public about it,made
the front pageof The New York Times.
between TV meteorologists and climate scientists may have been
exacerbated by differences in education, some experts believed.
Meteorologists generally hold bachelor’s degrees and work with
short-term data to project weather over a week or two. Research
scientists, usually Ph.D.s, chart trends over decades and even
By 2017, a
of broadcast meteorologistsby George
Mason found that views had shifted rapidly, with an overwhelming
95 percent saying they believed that the climate was changing.
Still, some expressed misgivings about discussing the issue on the
air. Roughly one quarter worried that if they raised the subject,
“the feedback from management is or would be predominantly
negative,” the survey found. Placky said TV meteorologists also
tend to feel that their hands are already full, between predicting
the weather and producing on-air reports, while also filing online
updates and posting on social media.
weather people leave discussion of climate issues for news anchors
strictly seven-day forecasts. We talk about the weather — that’s
what people want,” said Greg Pollak, who has worked at five
stations in North Dakota, Massachusetts and New York in his eight
years in the business. He said he has never been asked to tackle
climate issues in any of those jobs.
management probably felt it was too much of a sensitive subject to
touch on,” Pollak said of why his bosses didn’t push for climate
coverage, “and maybe we would get thrown under the bus, somehow.”
CLIMATE MATTERS WORKS WITH WEATHER FORECASTERS
Matters campaign to integrate climate information with weather
reporting started with a 2010 pilot program, featuring South
Carolina meteorologist Jim Gandy. “I told them: ‘I don’t live in a
red state. I live in a dark red state,’“ Gandy recalled. “And I
said, ‘If you can talk climate change here, you can talk it
fears that viewers in the conservative state might be turned off
by Gandy’s reports, areview
foundthat viewers knew more about climate
change after seeing his stories. And ratings for the overall
newscasts on his station, CBS affiliate WLTX in Columbia,
increased, though it is impossible to know if the jump was
connected to Gandy’s reporting.
“But in my
mind it smashed the idea you can’t talk about climate change
because you will turn people off,” said Gandy, 65, who has been on
the air for more than 40 years.
Central now routinely provides local climate information for 244
cities in the U.S., said Placky, the group’s director.
Meteorologists can plug their city into a Climate Matters search
page and find analysis of local climate impacts — often backed by
NOAA and NASA experts, along with ready-for-air charts and
of the pre-packaged material can be seen across the country.
LaPointe recently stood in front of a Climate Central chart
showing how average temperatures in upstate New York had jumped
1.6 degrees Fahrenheit, on average, over the last three decades.
An NBC affiliate in Connecticut displayed a Climate Central chart
depicting a 20-day increase in frost-free weather annually and,
thus, in the length of allergy season. And multiple stations used
the organization’s data on how higher temperatures and humidity
had lengthened the mosquito season.
to move beyond the question of ‘Is climate change
Central has gotten creative in providing fodder for climate talk.
On St. Patrick’s Day, 18 stations used the group’s research for
reports on how warming temperatures might affect the beer
industry. The reports suggested barley costs could go up because
of more frequent droughts, while hops could taste different if
farmers shift away from scarcer surface water to supplies pumped
from underground. (The report acknowledged these changes have not
Yanez, a meteorologist at KNBC in Los Angeles, said he saw the
wave of stations across the country offering reports on the
potential climate-beer connection, and he credited Climate
Central. “They have information that’s easy to get, easy to use
and that gets right into the local market,” said Yanez, who
recently produced a segment on the increased wildfire threat,
tying it to global warming.
logistical help is particularly welcome in an era when local TV
news operations have sustained staff reductions, said Tom
Rosenstiel, executive director of the American Press Institute, a
think tank on sustainable journalism practices.
said there’s no problem with news organizations using data and
graphics from groups like Climate Central, as long as outlets know
the source of the information and report it clearly to viewers.
“The stations still need to be gatekeepers, assuring that the
information is good and that their audience knows where it’s
coming from,” Rosenstiel said.
Matters program has been successful enough with forecasters that
organizers are expanding it this week to workshops for other
journalists. The first training is being held for print and radio
reporters at the University of South Carolina, with four more
sessions planned around the country through November.
he has run into no opposition as he has increasingly folded
climate reporting into his weather forecasts, including from the
Sinclair Broadcast Group, the conservative-leaning company that
owns his upstate New York station. “There is zero pushback. Nobody
has said ‘You can’t do this.’ Nobody has said ‘You cannot say
this,’” LaPointe said.
all based on science and on fact,” LaPointe added, “and on the
idea that it can help us to make better decisions and elect better
people and implement the policy changes we need to turn this thing