The Freedom of Knowledge, The Power of Thought ©

Al Gore's 'Scientific' Media Study Isn't Scientific;
And Boykoff 'Dissent' Authors Oppose Global Warming Dissent

March 2, 2007

Al Gore's 'Scientific' Media Study Isn't Scientific (Mar. 2, 2007)

Posted by Tim Graham on March 2, 2007 - 22:23.

In an address in [Norman] Oklahoma Thursday, Al "Balance Is Bias" Gore repeated his reference made at a "media ethics" seminar in Tennessee, that "a survey of 636 articles in the 'popular press' showed that 53 percent of the stories contended that it was still unproved."  But Al Gore isn't really relying on a scientific study of media coverage. This matches an article by Jules and Maxwell Boykoff titled "Journalistic Balance as Global Warming Bias. " They didn't read all national newspaper articles on global warming in a certain time frame. They picked a "random sample" instead of the full spectrum of coverage.

But wait, it gets funnier. The Boykoff brothers urge that it's unethical to allow experts skeptical of global warming into news stories. But when you turn to Jules Boykoff's college biography page, you discover that much of his writing is devoted to protesting the "suppression of dissent" in America, including by...the mass media. (His 2006 book is titled The Suppression of Dissent: How the State and Mass Media Squelch US American Social Movements.)  Is he against squelching dissenters -- or only in favor of it when he sees a "climate crisis" for Al Gore and other liberals to prevent? 

The Boykoffs explained their methodology this way, looking at news articles with the words "global warming" in the Washington Post, New York Times, Los Angeles Times, and Wall Street Journal from 1988 to 2002:  

From a total of 3,543 articles, we examined a random sample of 636 articles. Our results showed that the majority of these stories were, in fact, structured on the journalistic norm of balanced reporting, giving the impression that the scientific community was embroiled in a rip-roaring debate on whether or not humans were contributing to global warming.

More specifically, we discovered that: 53 percent of the articles gave roughly equal attention to the views that humans contribute to global warming and that climate change is exclusively the result of natural fluctuations.

Let's explain how the Boykoffs and the Bozellians differ on a media study. First, instead of studying random articles over 14 years in four newspapers, it's much more thorough to select one newspaper over 14 years, or four newspapers over three years, than it is to pull stories out of your professor's cap one by one. We call it a "Swiss cheese study" to take about 20 percent of the articles on the subject and then pretend it's all the coverage in four major newspapers

Second, it's probably unfair to the newspapers to expect that when "global warming" first gained media traction in 1988 or 1989, that reporters would act totally convinced that the Earth was warming its way to extinction. It would be more interesting to see how these major newspapers covered it during the last five years, as arrogance about "unanimous" scientific agreement grew.

Third, when you actually read the newspaper stories the Boykoffs cite as examples of "roughly equal attention," you quickly notice that global warming skeptics are not given equal time or space in the stories cited. Even the Boykoffs complain that their example from the March 28, 1995 Washington Post is outrageous because a scientific skeptic speaks -- once, at the very end of the article.

In short, the Boykoffs aren't really complaining that the stories give skeptics of a climate crisis equal time. They're complaining that skeptics get any time or space whatsoever. They're in favor of the suppression of dissent by the mass media. And so is Al Gore.


Tim Graham Says:
March 2, 2007 - 22:32

Here's the March 28, 1995 Washington Post story by Rick Atkinson. See if you think skeptics receive "equal attention" in the piece.


Everyone will be talking about the weather when delegates from more than 120 countries gather here on Tuesday for the opening of the U.N. climate conference. But will anyone be able to do anything about it?

The 11-day conference is expected to be long on palaver and short on decisive action, as nations struggle over a common strategy for slowing global warming and averting what many scientists fear could be a future environmental calamity.

The awkwardly titled First Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change will pull together most of the 166 countries that agreed to tackle global climatological problems at the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro in 1992.

At that time, governments vowed to intensify study of the "greenhouse gases" -- particularly carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide -- believed to accelerate the Earth's warming. A number of industrialized nations also agreed to try to cut back carbon dioxide emissions to 1990 levels by the year 2000.

But since those heady days three years ago, the vested interests of the rich vs. the poor, developed vs. developing countries and energy-producing vs. energy-consuming groups have made it clear that consensus will be hard to come by. And few of the industrial countries are on a clear path toward achieving the 1990 goals.

The Berlin conference is intended to resolve several administrative issues set in motion at the Rio summit, including choosing a site for the headquarters for the new international climate secretariat -- Canada, Germany and Switzerland are vying for the privilege -- and how big a budget to allocate.

More substantively, delegates will debate whether and when to begin setting guidelines for emissions levels in the decades beyond 2000. And among the most politically explosive issues is whether to adopt such guidelines eventually with less than unanimity -- such as the three-quarters majority rule favored by the United States on substantive matters.

"Theoretically it's possible to make progress on a consensus basis, but we do not think that is an appropriate way to go," Rafe Pomerance, the deputy assistant secretary of state who is heading the U.S. delegation, told reporters.

While there appears to be widespread support for the U.S. position, members of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries reportedly fear that an agreement to curb carbon dioxide emissions will inevitably lower global oil consumption and damage their exports. An OPEC bloc, perhaps supported by some developing countries who want to avoid restraints on industrial development, may thwart efforts this week to adopt some version of majority-rule voting.

Such procedural scuffling reflects the lack of international consensus on the causes and hazards of global warming. Many environmental groups contend that industrial gases are, in effect, magnifying the heating powers of the sun. Vice President Gore, in a speech in Washington earlier this month, said "global surface temperatures could increase from an average of 2 degrees Fahrenheit to 8 degrees over the next century, [a] rate unseen on this planet for at least the last 10,000 years."

The consequences of such a radical alteration of the climate could include a melting of polar ice and subsequent raising of the sea level; a calamitous change in storm and rain patterns; and the widespread alteration of ecosystems.

"Rising sea levels, threats to food crops, more severe floods, hurricanes, drought, increasing poverty, the spread of disease and a threat to the survival of millions of the world's species are some of the risks that we face," warned a recent report by Earthaction Network, an international umbrella organization of environmental groups.

In a similar vein, the Association of Small Island States is anxious enough to demand a 20 percent cut in carbon dioxide emissions by 2005, a goal that is improbable at best.

"Each tick of the clock could be time lost in saving some 30 small island nations from drowning in a sea of rising tides," President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom, president of the low-lying Maldive Islands, said here today.

On the other hand, some skeptical meteorologists and analysts assert that global warming reflects a natural cycle of temperature fluctuation and cannot be decisively tied to human actions.

"As far as we are concerned, there's no evidence for global warming, and by the year 2000 the man-made greenhouse theory will probably be regarded as the biggest scientific gaffe of the century," Piers Corbyn, an astrophysicist at London's Weather Action forecasting organization told the Reuter news agency.

HumanEvents Says:
March 2, 2007 - 22:53

Ha ha, that 1995 article talks about global warming as if it's a fact and that the only issue is how and what we are going to do to combat it. It's not until the last two paragraphs that the article finally acknowledges that there are some skeptics. What a joke.

By the way, anyone who listens to Sean Hannity has heard him play the Dragon Lady shouting this shrill quote:

"I am sick and tired of people who say that if you debate and disagree with this administration, that somehow you're not patriotic. We need to stand up and say we're Americans, and we have the right to debate and disagree with any administration."

Well first of all, she is 100% full of crap. No one has ever said you can't debate or disagree with George Bush and his administration or you are not a patriot. But now in view of Algore and these Boykoff brothers wanting the media to not allow any dissent at all about global warming, how come HiLIARy doesn't condemn this fascist view? She is really sick. She takes Bush to the woodshed for something he never did and then gives Gore a free pass for that very thing she falsely accused Bush of!

Tim Graham Says:
March 2, 2007 - 23:21

On Rosie, I would merely say that dissent is very democratic, but not necessarily very patriotic. Dissent doesn't always display a love for one's country. You can love your country and think going to a war is wrong. But if you suggest that your country is despicable and its troops are vicious murderers of civilians, then you shouldn't expect the word "patriot" to fall your way.

HumanEvents Says:
March 2, 2007 - 23:34

Tim, yes absolutely. Hillary was saying in that quote that anyone who simply disagrees with the Bush administration is labeled unpatriotic. And that's such a lie. It's only those who, like you say, put down the country and the troops and make it clear they don't want a successful outcome in Iraq that are unpatriotic. Hillary was setting up a straw man that those on the right can't tolerate debate. And now here's Gore and these two brothers coming right out and saying there should be no debate or dissent allowed on global warming and Hillary is nowhere to be found. And I'd bet the house on it that she never will take Gore to task for this.

gideonmjames Says:
March 3, 2007 - 03:02

"She takes Bush to the woodshed for something he never did [sound familiar - Katrina, outing Valerie Plame, "stealing" the 2000 election, etc. etc. ?] and then gives Gore a free pass for that very thing she falsely accused Bush of."


Welcome to the Democratically-perfected art of blatant hypocrisy.

bassndude Says:
March 2, 2007 - 23:20

Tim, not to be a pain or anything...well maybe...but sence when has Al let the facts get in his way where GW is concerned? I mean, his little bar chart starts off with CO2 instead of H2O, and there is much more of that, than there is CO2. In fact, he doesn't even address it in his award winning film.

AtheistRepublican Says:
March 2, 2007 - 22:49

NO! Gore was in MY state?! Why? Losing state pride.... think... Will Rogers. I never liked Norman anyway, horrible place!

When will people learn, Science doesn't equal Democracy? Its a sad era in human existence when people are calling for the suppression of their opposition, this ain't the middle ages. Its down right criminal, its just not funny anymore, Gore and his ilk are getting dangerous.

bassndude Says:
March 2, 2007 - 23:15

Will Rogers never met Al Gore. If he had, he would have died laughing instead of in a plane crash. That Al., Never a dull moment. I wanted to go to OU yesterday, but had to attend a funeral instead. Then again, I think the funeral was more fun than Al.

AtheistRepublican Says:
March 2, 2007 - 23:43

Somehow I failed to make the OU-Norman connection...  Of course it makes alot more sense now: evil school; crazy man;  still, to think he has corrupted the soil of Oklahoma. Even our dirt is red for goodness sakes, why would a Green come here?

upcountrywater Says:
March 2, 2007 - 23:03

How does algore sleep at night, what goes through his head? "It's going to get warmer tomorrow; yes it is warmer and warmer, I'm right, I am !" surely kneading and rubbing his hands while he's saying this. "Everyone will agree with me yes yes they will, they must.". tossing and turning.  Sweat dreams al.

NeoConfirmed Says:
March 2, 2007 - 23:14

Probably....Where does Al Gore sleep at night?

Someplace really green stroking his Tipper...

bassndude Says:
March 2, 2007 - 23:16

Al sleeps? Quick, get a wooden stake and a hammer!!!

kathleenirish Says:
March 3, 2007 - 13:12

  Can someone tell me if Al Gore has had plastic surgery? (it isn't pretty). I mean, the guy looks like an alien to me.  He could play a Vulcan in a Star Trek episode and not require any time in make-up!  I barely notice the gobbledegook coming out of his mouth because I can't stop noticing how odd his appearance is!   Cringe-cringe-cringe.  Uggh!

"He who has a thousand friends has not a friend to spare, and he who has one enemy will meet him everywhere"          -Ali ibn-Abi-Talib, 4th Islamic Caliph

bigtimer Says:
March 3, 2007 - 13:23


I think he other half and I were discussing the same thing last we saw him on some cut from a show....he looks total plastic....

It's like Coulter said yesterday,

'Of course the Hollywood believes in Global Warming, they know what heat does to plastic'!

Wonder95 Says:
March 3, 2007 - 00:33

Mr. Boykoff is a professor here in Oregon at Pacific University. I actually did a post on my site about a profile done on him in the Daily Dead Fish Wrapper (aka The Oregonian). It was such a puff piece, but that's what you expect from the Fish Wrapper, especially since the only profiles they ever do are liberals. Interestingly enough, it mentioned this book in the profile. The best line from the book that was quoted in the profile was this winner:


"Balance is good," Boykoff said. "Bias is bad. But balance can sometimes become bias."

Sound familiar, anyone?

gfrrman Says:
March 3, 2007 - 01:40

"Balance is good," Boykoff said. "Bias is bad. But balance can sometimes become bias."


MikeB Says:
March 3, 2007 - 12:45

Gfrr, the meaning is plain as it can be: balance is good, but if it leads to the goring of my pet ox, then we can call balance "bias" so that the information can be supressed.  After all, bias is bad, therefore biased people are bad people, and bad people shouldn't be allowed a forum to spread their badness.

"A communist is someone who reads Marx.  An anti-communist is someone who understands Marx."  Ronald Reagan

gfrrman Says:
March 3, 2007 - 13:14

Thanks guys, I was being facetious. I just can't keep up with the libs moving the goalposts anymore. Left is Right, Right is left, black is white......ergo "balance is bias". Oh hell yeah, now it all makes perfect sense.. ?


bigtimer Says:
March 3, 2007 - 13:01


It's just plain leftist looniness (sp) at the ultimate point IMO.

They are beyond crazy.

Nothing else can explain it.

Galvanic Says:
March 3, 2007 - 15:16

"Balance is good," Boykoff said. "Bias is bad. But balance can sometimes become bias."

Rather Orwellian, no? 

What I love about Gore's "the science is in and the debate is over" mantra, is that we really haven't had a national debate.  Gore and the MSM labeled opposing opinion as heresy, and continue to try to squash it.  GW zealots have suggested "Nurnberg-like" trials, compared GW 'denial' to Holocaust denial, and now declare that 'balance is bias.' 

But the sheep follow Gore --- who, afterall, is just the lead sheep and not the shepard --- and aren't interested in hearing the other side of the story, for fear of being excommunicated from the Church of Global Warming.

Fairlight Says:
March 3, 2007 - 01:20

About the only profession that liberals have mastered is hypocrisy. The art of pretending. No wonder so many are actors.

gideonmjames Says:
March 3, 2007 - 02:52

"They picked a 'random sample' instead of the full spectrum of coverage."

THAT'S the same problem they're doing with their "global" warming numbers ... they're cherry-picking the data to support their conclusions.

Damn globalwarming-tologists.

KC Mulville Says:
March 3, 2007 - 03:37

"You can't disagree with us, because we're right."

This is the essence of the anti-dissent attitude. What they don't grasp is that they may be right, but the public forum is not governed by rightness. The public forum is simply to allow the expression of any point of view, whether right or wrong. Right and wrong are for individuals and majorities to decide for themselves, not for journalists to decide for us. The public forum isn't a vehicle for journalists to dictate right and wrong to us, much as they want to.

Even if it could, journalists should be careful what they wish for. If journalists are required to be absolutely right before they publish anything, that's fine, but let the rule be universal. Let journalists only publish the opinions that achieve near-unanimous support. After all, other issues are important also. Who would deny that issues of nuclear war are as important as climate change? (Of course, since everyone agreed that Saddam had WMDs, you could still have safely published that!) Therefore, let the rule be that journalists are only allowed to discuss issues that everyone already agrees on.

Come to think of it, though, if journalists only published the opinions of the unanimous, they couldn't publish anything about issues currently under debate. The reason these issues are debated is precisely because there are opposing side. Issues rise to national attention precisely because they spark debate. If we adopted the rule, however, that journalists can only publish "right" opinions, then journalists could discuss nothing of current importance. The news magazines would fill with articles about ... cooking and fashion. Well, not even fashion, because that can be contentious as well.

OK. If that's what you want ... At least it would leave more room for the crossword puzzle section ...

radiofitz34 Says:
March 3, 2007 - 06:58

Well said KC. I didn't know what it felt like to be scwelched. Those of us who dissent are made to feel like morons. But because this is a PC world, they won't come right out say it.

I seem to remember hearing the same thing about evolution...suddenly it's a fact and sorry no debate on it cause don't forget it's a fact. It's a fact because we said so, so there nyaaaagh. These wacky liberals will be the judge and jury while we stand outside the greenhouse shouting and all they can see is our mouths moving.

dahliatravers Says:
March 3, 2007 - 10:33

Yes, dissent  is acceptable for opinions (and even then, only those within a certain range).  It turns out dissent is not permitted for evidence if "we" have "established" what is "right".

dahliatravers Says:
March 3, 2007 - 10:20

"It depends on what the meaning of the word dissent is."

bigtimer Says:
March 3, 2007 - 12:08

They're in favor of the suppression of dissent by the mass media. And so is Al Gore.

Tim, that about sums up the whole bottle of wax in that one sentence for me.

I heard interesting facts about oil and Global Warming at the CPAC program yesterday...too bad more people out in the real world aren't listening, well wait a minute, these views rarely get a chance to present their facts do they?

We have more oil here than all of Iraq...and we can't be self-dependent here?  What is wrong with this picture folks?..

Drill Often....Drill Everywhere!

Free Newsletter

Email Address:

Join the Educate-Yourself Discussion Forum

All information posted on this web site is the opinion of the author and is provided for educational purposes only. It is not to be construed as medical advice. Only a licensed medical doctor can legally offer medical advice in the United States. Consult the healer of your choice for medical care and advice.