This Sunday marks the 42nd anniversary of Earth Day and for 25 of those years the MRC has documented the liberal media’s role in advancing the left’s green agenda. From fretting about overpopulation to scaring viewers about global warming, for over 25 years the media have championed the capitalism-killing agenda of the modern environmentalist movement.
So sacrosanct the liberal media believes its mission to be, that they haven’t even bothered to hide their bias. CNN’s environmental editor Barbara Pyle, as quoted in the July 1990 issue of American Spectator, actually bragged: “I do have an axe to grind...I want to be the little subversive person in television.” Time magazine’s science editor Charles Alexander, at a September 16, 1989 global warming conference, confessed: “I would freely admit on this issue we have crossed the boundary from news reporting to advocacy.”
That advocacy has been on full display as reporters and anchors have gone overboard in scaring their audience about the perils of our effect on the Earth, from overpopulation to global warming. In its January 2, 1989 “Planet of the Year” Time magazine’s editors warned: “Unless the growth in the world population is slowed, it will be impossible to make serious progression on any environmental issue.” Two years later, in an ad for its “Lost Tribes, Lost Knowledge” issue that appeared in the April 27, 1992 Sports Illustrated, Time magazine again warned: “Nature has a cure for everything, except the spread of Western civilization.”
Perhaps the media’s most popular scare tactic has been the specter of global warming. CNN’s Don Harrison, on the August 1, 1989 primetime special Climate in Crisis, hyped: “Global warming could mean economic upheaval. It could bring suffering. It could bring starvation.” Narrator Roy Scheider, in a ten-part PBS documentary aired in 1990 starkly intoned: “The environmental revolution has made us understand where we humans are taking the Earth: Towards a world poisoned by pollution.”
The forecasts coming from the media have been apocalyptic. Reporter Mark Phillips, on the January 16, 1990 CBS Evening News predicted that if nothing was done, global warming “would turn much of the planet into a desert.” On the January 11, 1990 Today show, it wasn’t arid land to be feared, but rather too much water as ecologist Paul Ehrlich predicted: “The Supreme Court would be flooded. You could tie your boat to the Washington Monument.”
Sixteen years later the Today show was still in the outlandish prediction business, as on the May 24, 2006 Today show, then co-anchor Katie Couric prompted former Vice President Al Gore, “What do you see happening in 15 to 20 years or even 50 years if nothing changes?...Even Manhattan would be in deep water?” Gore responded: “Yes, in fact the World Trade Center Memorial site would be underwater.”
Of course being a lead spokesman for the global warming hysteria movement meant Gore was elevated to almost deific status by the liberal media. Former Time reporter Margaret Carlson, on the October 13, 2007 Bloomberg TV’s Political Capital, deemed him a “prophet.” However, if any critic dared to express skepticism they were trashed. In his magazine’s special Earth Day, 2000 issue Time’s Michael Lemonick dismissed: “Only a handful of the most doctrinaire die-hards still dispute the idea that human activity is heating up the planet.” The cover of the August 13, 2007 Newsweek denounced the “well-funded naysayers who still reject the overwhelming evidence of climate change. Inside the denial machine.” NBC’s Anne Thompson, on the August 16, 2007 Nightly News, mocked: “Deniers are confusing the issue and delaying solutions...The scientific debate is no longer over society’s role in global warming. It is now a matter of degrees.” CNN’s Miles O’Brien, on the October 12, 2007 Newsroom, went as far as to cast global warming skeptics as “dead enders.”
When e-mails surfaced, during the ClimateGate scandal, that showed science was being perverted to advance a hoax, the liberal media leapt to the movement’s defense. ABC’s Clayton Sandell, on the December 6, 2009 World News, assured viewers “the science is solid, according to a vast majority of researchers.” NBC’s Anne Thompson, on the December 7, 2009 Nightly News huffed: “It doesn’t matter what’s in those e-mails - the Earth is changing.” Wyatt Andrews, on the December 9, 2009 CBS Evening News, scoffed: “ClimateGate is a sideshow.”
The same disgust the media exhibited against those bringing reason to the ClimateGate debate was also brought against conservatives attempting to scale back overly-burdensome regulations. When the GOP controlled Congress attempted to do just that in 1995, the late Peter Jennings, called it “the most frontal assault on the environment in 25 years.” NBC’s Roger O’Neil, in a July 28, 1995 Nightly News story on proposed changes to the Endangered Species Act, feared: “if the plants and animals can’t survive, what future is there for the human species?” On the August 5, 1995 edition of CNN’s Capital Gang, Time’s Margaret Carlson complained: “This is deregulation madness! We’re gonna have dirty water, dirty air.”
The following collection of 25 quotes represents the worst of the media’s environmental pandering culled from the MRC’s archive:
25. Billions of Lives At Risk
“Will Billions Die from Global Warming?”
— ABC’s on-screen graphic from the January 31, 2007 Good Morning America.
24. Who Needs Tanks, When You’ve Got the EPA?
“And yet, Congresswoman Schneider, in 1989, fiscal 1989 as we say in America, the Environmental Protection Agency got $5.1 billion dollars and the Defense Department got $290 billion dollars. What’s that tell us about our priorities?”
— ABC anchor Peter Jennings on the September 12, 1989 Capital to Capital special “The Environment: Crisis In the Global Village.”