Technically True But Still Utter BS

Ah, our glorious mainstream media. Here’s wishing they’d actually provide information, not, ya know, troll for clicks with sensational headlines:

Wind Farms Cause Global Warming!

That was the headline of an article in Forbes Magazine from April 30, 2012. And how about this one: “Wind farms can cause climate change, finds new study” from the Telegraph. Or this one from Fox News where they remove the word ‘can:’ “New Research Shows that Wind Farms Cause Global Warming.”

All of these articles have glommed onto a study published in Nature Climate Change on April 29, 2012. The title of that article? “Impacts of wInd farms on land surface temperature.”

It’s amazing how the media can distort the truth when it wants to. The observational study looked at west-central Texas where four of the world’s largest wind farms are located. From 2003-2011, recorded measurements of the local surface temperatures in the vicinity increased by 0.72 degrees Celsius, particularly at night compared with nearby non-wind farm locations. As the authors point out, “These changes, if spatially large enough, may have noticeable impacts on local to regional weather and climate.”

The proposed mechanism is attributed to a changing distribution of air, swapping warmer air above with cooler air below as a result of the rotating motion of the turbines. There’s no net increase in heat, just a change in where it’s located. But this may have the possibility have affecting the regional weather patterns and even regional climate, if the effect is substantial enough

Back in my day this is what we’d call “media bias.” Apparently these days that’s reserved for networks that hire Rachel Maddow. Go figure.

Dibble notes that Forbes actually did provide the accurate information … eventually. But most readers probably didn’t read that far down the article — if they did more than scan the headline, that is. And this is what makes me nuts about most science reporting geared for us uneducated masses: it’s little more than click-bait. That might be fine on a story like “sugar makes you stupid!” — hey, we all know sugar is bad for you. But on an issue like climate change, where manufactured “controversy” has been foisted on the public to the detriment of the health of the entire planet so some rich oil Daddies can get even richer, well, it’s downright irresponsible. People need real reporting on climate change, not sensationalism and click-bait. It’s a complete abrogation of journalistic duty.



Filed under climate change, energy production, Media, media fairness

16 responses to “Technically True But Still Utter BS

  1. This meme was brought up elsewhere recently and quickly debunked. Another of the many “downsides” reported by opponents of windpower is massive numbers of birds being killed by the rotors. Considering that birds can alter their flight paths they might be able to avoid the wind farms; the poisoned grain used to deter their lazy ass welfare peckin’ thievery? not so much. This is without even looking at the degradation of the habitats and eradication of their prey species in the marshes, wetlands and watersheds along which they migrate and raise their broods.

  2. +1 for democommie, who hits the nail on the head.

  3. Michael Johnson

    In Canada they have a law that bans false or misleading news. We used to have something similar – The Fairness Doctrine. Too bad Reagan got rid of it.

  4. Thank you for referencing my blog post. I debated about the headline I used—along the same lines as what the media misused—but I wanted to make sure the point got across, and I hoped I would attract some of the skeptics and deniers out there and possibly sucker them into learning the truth.

    My blog is dedicated to trying to keep people up to date on issues related to climate change. I don’t try to sway the die-hard skeptics because that’s a lost cause, but I want to make sure those who are open-minded have the chance to know what’s really going on from someone they can trust (which I believe I am).

    Thanks for passing it on.

  5. UU4077

    The thing about windmills is that they are not fans (blowing the air around) but are themselves moved by the wind. Not likely the windmills fault for the air moving.

  6. I’m just gonna make a wildass guess here. The amount of “environmental damage” caused by the windfarms is 3 or 4 order of magnitude less than what was caused by the BP blowout.

  7. They will say anything to discredit anything that doesn’t use oil . Just thinking, the major sponsors of MSNBC are major oil companies, like EXXON and BP. I don’t get it.