Wednesday, December 09, 2009

CNN: Please, Turn Us Off! (Climategate)

CNN habitually provides a platform for the likes of Christopher Horner, a man essentially shouting fire in a crowded theater when it comes to global climate change.

It allows boldly asserted lies, e.g., his assertion that the climate change data has been fabricated, to go essentially unchallenged – as though the most outrageous statements need no refutation, and then CNN’s anchors (in this case Campbell Brown) take the provocateur’s statement as the predicate (“Climategate”) for a debate among responsible talking heads who are asked to defend against these baseless charges.

The result is irresponsible journalism of the most egregious kind. But 'good' TV as a TV producer might say. It's the modus operandi of this so-called news organization. Never, for example, in Horner’s case are his thoroughly disreputable and totally self-interested bonafides stated, let alone questioned. In fact, Horner’s only ostensible means of income is the CEI, an advocacy group based in Washington DC that calls itself "a non-profit, non-partisan research and advocacy institute dedicated to the principles of free enterprise and limited government,” but is, in fact ,a consortium of rabid, unrepentant and unscrupulous energy companies, energy company-owned foundations, and private foundations whose fortunes were amassed from tobacco and oil. But his wholely unfounded claims become the basis of a bogus discussion. His expertise, if he has one, is as a lawyer/lobbyist, a paid flack with no science background whatsoever. "Why," Campbell Brown then opines with a supercilious shake of her walnut mane, "Why would climate scientists around the world conspire to claim the earth is getting warmer?" What ensues, inevitably interrupted by the energy company pitbull Horner with snide insinuation and totally groundless authority, centers on what motivation NASA, NOAA and the world community of climate scientists could possibly have to conspire to rig data or falsify a conclusion about global warming. Reasons are inevitably offerred and apologies and explanations profferred. But the entire exercise is an obscenity -- a big lie. It’s an abuse of the air-waves. It should be punishable by FCC license revocation as once-upon-a-time it was.

CNN is simply a money-grubbing rumor-mill. No better than Fox in many ways, and hardly superior to the kind of ranting and hyperventilating found on MSNBC by Keith Doberman. Why do they do it?

Below, from are two graphs which explain why absolutely NO REPORTING of any kind was done for over two hours during CNN's promotion of the bogus balloon boy story October 15th, 2009.

As we see in the chart and graph below, the CNN ratings skyrocketed with the balloon’s flight last Thursday as the story first “aired.”

The set top box tune in to CNN Newsroom between 1 and 4 pm EST on October 15th was more than 1.6 times higher than on the three previous Thursdays at the same time. The tune in to The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer more than doubled in comparison to each of the three previous Thursdays. At 6:14pm EST, CNN reported that young Falcon Heene had been found. The story’s arc culminated for the night, and the prime time CNN ratings returned to normal levels.

The less obvious effects of spectacular viewership spikes on breaking news may prove more interesting. yuliya torosjan