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Hannity: Global Warming Should By No Means Be Considered Accepted Science

Reported by Ellen - October 29, 2007 -

College drop-out Sean Hannity added global warming to the growing list of subjects on which he is a self-proclaimed expert Friday night (10/26/07) on Hannity & Colmes. As “proof” of his contention that global warming “by no means should be considered accepted science,” he presented an unbalanced segment that skewed public and scientific opinion and also conflated a CNN special with the climate-change issue, itself. Hannity is obsessed with global warming and seems willing to go to any lengths to discredit any such concerns – any length, that is, except having an honest and fair debate on the subject. With video.

UPDATE News Hounds has been contacted separately by two students complaining about the bias of this segment. One said his and other views were either "intentionally misrepresented or completely censored because we had views which did not fit the agenda of the segment."

CNN's “so-called special,” as Hannity described it, was called Planet in Peril. One suspects that at least part of Hannity’s acrimony was because the special beat his show in the coveted 25-54 demographic ratings category.

The first 2 ½ minutes of the Hannity & Colmes discussion were devoted to University of Alabama atmospheric science graduate students critiquing the film. What Hannity didn’t tell his viewers was that the seemingly impromptu discussion was actually led by University of Alabama at Huntsville professor John Christy. Christy, “best known for his skepticism about the nature, causes and effects of global warming,” according to the Huntsville (AL) Times, "highlighted those areas (he found misleading in the special) for the students."

Hannity is forever complaining about “indoctrination” by liberal professors at universities but he seemed blithely unconcerned about any such occurrence here. As a matter of fact, Hannity glowed with gleeful animosity as he praised one of the student's remarks. “I particularly liked the one student that said, ‘Just the name ‘Planet in Peril.’ There’s no question mark there.’ It’s a conclusion that they made right in the title, didn’t they?”

Funny, I don’t remember any complaint from Hannity about the title of Glenn Beck’s CNN special last May called, Exposed: The Climate Of Fear. Nor have I seen any concern for any of the titles that FOX News uses right on the Hannity & Colmes website. A current sampling includes: Defeatist Democrats?, Does Al Gore Deserve to Win the Prestigious Peace Prize?, Was Barack Obama Shunning The Amemrican Flag? and Barack Obama Captured on Tape Not Putting His Hand Over His Heart During The National Anthem. President Bush was also captured not putting his hand over his heart during that discussion but somehow he wasn't mentioned in the title.

Meanwhile, the students didn’t discuss global warming, itself, just the TV special about it. Besides the complaint about the name, they critiqued the evidence presented by CNN and its supposed failure to properly frame the issue. None of them said that global warming didn’t exist or that there was no scientific consensus on the subject.

Nevertheless, Hannity described global warming as “the religion of the modern left,” and “the alarmism that is created by Al Gore and now, obviously, his friends in the media.” Earth to Hannity: Those “friends in the media” include your boss, Rupert Murdoch, and such “modern leftists” as John McCain and Mike Huckabee. Furthermore, the majority of the American public agrees.

The banner on the lower third of the screen read: “SCIENCE EXPERIMENT: CNN’s ‘Planet in Peril’ Documentary under scrutiny by viewers.” They didn’t mention that the scrutiny had been staged by FOX News. The Huntsville Times reported, "The producers of ‘Hannity & Colmes’ contacted Christy about getting some students to watch CNN's special ‘Planet in Peril’ reports on global warming and environmental problems Tuesday and Wednesday nights, and to analyze the information presented by the Fox competitor."

So much for the FOX News mantra, “We report, you decide.” They didn’t do so well with “fair and balanced,” either. Christy was the sole guest for the segment. There was no representative from CNN and no scientist with an opposing view. Yet Christy is not in the mainstream of scientific thinking on the subject.

When it was Alan Colmes’ turn, he asked Christy if the students in the clip were representative of the students in his class.

Christy paused but didn’t answer other than to say, “I think there was a wide range of views presented in that. And those were not special students selected. They were just – they volunteered to come.” In fact, only critical opinions of CNN were shown. One wonders whether students who disagreed with Christy would have shown up knowing, as they surely must have, what the gig was all about.

Colmes got Christy to admit that “humans have had a large effects (sic) on the surface climate of the world.”

“So,” Colmes asked, “In fact, if we can change our human behavior to some extent, it’s better for the planet, isn’t it? …Small things we can do, correct?”

Another pause. Obviously, Christy didn’t want to answer. First, he cracked a joke about people not eating as a help to the planet (to loud laughter from Hannity). Then he changed the subject when Colmes pressed for a real answer. “Well, I would look at it this way," Christy said. "Having lived in Africa, I have seen what the lack of energy does for people and the best thing there would be to put in a coal-fired power plant to supply electricity so those poor folks won’t have to destroy some of the most spectacular habitats on the planet.”

UPDATE: After this post went up, News Hounds was contacted by two students from the panel discussion, each of whom felt he had been misrepresented by selective editing. It was also alleged that the general consensus of the panel was "neutral to positive" and had also been distorted by FOX News. You can read the graduate students' emails here.