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Brit Hume Blinds Them With Science

Reported by Priscilla - July 11, 2008 -

There should be no doubt about the “dumbing down” of America when one watches Fox News. Not only do they present a “dumbed down” version of current events; but they encourage their viewers to be ignorant. Only on Fox would you have educated “pundits” complaining about criticism regarding America’s lack of proficiency with foreign languages. Only on Fox would you have a college drop out railing against academia. Only on Fox would you have a whitewashed version of race relations which serves to show that whites are the oppressed class. Only on Fox would a “war on Christmas” and “war on Christians” not be seen as totally bizarre; but rather, a grim reality of the forces of light (rightwing ideology) fighting those of the “secular progressive.” America lags behind the rest of the world in science and it’s no wonder when one examines the treatment of global warming on Fox News. This week’s “Grapevine” was a great example.

As I’ve pointed out, the Fox News “Grapevine” conveys the message that global warming is nothing to worry about. Fox viewers are blissfully unaware that both Rupert Murdoch and even John McCain believe in man made climate change. To substantiate this message, statistics are taken from dubious groups (here and here) with ties to those for whom global warming is big business. The little “scientific” snippets are aimed towards those scientifically challenged folks who will not bother to check the veracity of the information. If Fox says it, then it must be true. This week’s “Grapevine” had several such tidbits which were also examples of how the “Grapevine” isn’t really the whole story – but then as propaganda bits, the addition of other important information takes away from the propaganda value.

Last night’s (July 10th) “Grapevine” had a piece about how, despite melting of glaciers in the Artic, the glaciers on California’s Mt. Shasta are growing because of global warming. University of California professor, Slawek Tulaczyk, was quoted as saying the glaciers "seem to be benefiting from the warming ocean." USA Today has an article which reports this phenomenon and in which scientists state that this is an anomaly in a world in which 90% of mountain glaciers are shrinking. Naturally, the right wing blogosphere (starting with that bastion of science, Free Republic) is abuzz with this news that shows an example of how, in their skewed universe, global warming isn’t real.

Wednesday’s (July 9th) “Grapevine” had a report about a German research group’s findings that “the rise in greenhouse gases may be troubling for scientists and some world leaders, but not for plant life.” Plants were put in an environment where the carbon dioxide would be equivalent to that of the year 2050 and "output increased by 10 percent for barley, beets and wheat." What Hume (and the rightwing sites that are running with this “revelation”) don't mention is the rest of the story which was reported from the Agence France Press : "Weigel said that while the institute's findings may prove surprising to some, they are not intended to undermine the drive to slash CO2 emissions. 'This research is not intended as an argument for doing nothing to curb the rise of CO2 levels,' he said. 'It is to find out what the effects would be.' Other studies have presented a more mixed picture about the impact of higher CO2 levels on plants, and there is uncertainty about its effects on soil fertility and which plants benefit most from more CO2.”

Comment: When Hume speaks, people listen and learn. Consider right wing conservative Christian and radio host Rick Moore who, after posting Hume’s piece about the plants, had this genius epiphany: “Has it ever occurred to anybody that increased CO2 levels will mean increased plant life which will also mean more CO2 being removed from the atmosphere as it's converted to O2 that all of us humans and animals need to survive? Probably not” Mr. Moore is not a scientist (a huge NASCAR fan); but he is a great example of Fox’s propaganda reach which is responsible for the “dumbing down” of America.