Media: The use of weasel words to scare you

Media: The use of weasel words to scare you

Source: Scientists warn an El Niño is likely coming that could bring scorching heat to Earth

“Warn” “likely” “could bring” “scorching heat” <- these are weasel words

A weasel word, or anonymous authority, is an informal term for words and phrases aimed at creating an impression that something specific and meaningful has been said, when in fact only a vague or ambiguous claim has been communicated. Examples include the phrases “some people say”, “it is thought”, and “researchers believe”. Using weasel words may allow one to later deny any specific meaning if the statement is challenged, because the statement was never specific in the first place. Weasel words can be a form of tergiversation and may be used in advertising, (popular) science, opinion pieces and political statements to mislead or disguise a biased view or unsubstantiated claim.

From Wikipedia

From the story:

Chances for a strong El Niño are about 55%.

When journalists use weasel words, it is difficult to believe what they are writing.


NWS: ‘Dangerous heat’ hitting Western Oregon, SW Washington this weekend

For those living most anywhere else in the U.S., you might be amused by labeling 90 degrees as “dangerous heat”. We’ve lived in places where summer temperatures are often above 90 deg, even 100 to 110 +/- degrees. This, however, follows a June 2021 event when there really was dangerous heat.

About 91% of all U.S. homes have air conditioning – which is an astounding figure. An estimated 76% of Oregon homes have air conditioning – this lower percentage is because coastal areas are generally much cooler and throughout the U.S., homes in cooler, coastal areas tend not to have air conditioning.

Seattle has the fewest homes with air conditioning of any U.S. metro area, for example, but: Most newly built homes in Washington include air conditioning – a change from decades past |

In June 2021, areas in the Pacific NW experienced an unprecedented heat wave with temperatures in the 115-120 degree range; while some attributed this to global climate heating, only a tiny fraction could be attributed to climate change (read that entire long item from an atmospheric scientist).

Update: Near the end of the “dangerous heat” episode, there have been no heat related deaths. There is a big difference between 90 degrees and 115-120 degrees.

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