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Category: Lies

Journalism: CNN settles lawsuit with Nick Sandmann

Journalism: CNN settles lawsuit with Nick Sandmann

CNN and many media outlets falsely reported on a confrontation that occurred in Washington DC in January 2019. The media had the story backwards, reversed from what actually occurred, with many media outlets falsely accusing students of racism. Today, CNN has settled the lawsuit filed against them. Several related lawsuits remain pending.

Social media: Social media meme asserts U.S. corn belt yields 40% more oxygen than the Amazon

Social media: Social media meme asserts U.S. corn belt yields 40% more oxygen than the Amazon

This poster is a persuasive bit of propaganda. Most of it is not true. The parts that are true are that the Corn belt is a very productive region, and about 80 million acres (close to 100 million in the poster?) are growing corn. This item had been shared into my Facebook news feed.

Climate communications: Time Magazine changes headline three times, uses false headline “How Asthma Inhalers are Choking the Planet”

Climate communications: Time Magazine changes headline three times, uses false headline “How Asthma Inhalers are Choking the Planet”

Time Magazine engaged in deliberate, and false, propaganda messaging to influence readers to take action. After contacting the magazine, they did, at least, revise the headline (for the 3rd time). They began with the accurate headline “How Asthma Inhalers are Contributing to Climate Change” but immediately changed it and promoted this rude and 100% false headline: “How Asthma Inhalers are Choking the Planet”.

First, making crude humor of asthmatics “choking” is not funny and is rude and insensitive. Second, it is physically impossible for inhalers to be “choking the planet”. In homes where someone uses an inhaler, annual inhaler usage produces about 1% of the total CO2-equivalent gases emitted by the home and life activities during the course of a year. If all inhalers were eliminated tomorrow, there would be no measurable impact on weather or climate over the next 100 years. A worst case inhaler, using data cited by Time and BMJ, produces about half the CO2-equivalent GHC as does a person breathing and exhaling CO2. Seriously. Just breathing is a bigger threat than using inhalers.

Time eventually changed the headline to the better, but still misleading “How One Commonly Used Asthma Inhaler is Damaging the Planet”. Their fiction story also referenced the wrong gas used as a propellant, cited an exaggerated greenhouse gas effect multiplier from an environmental activist group rather than the more modest IPCC AR5 science-based estimate, and then omitted many article changes from their Corrections List. The text itself continues to climate shame asthmatics with the false “Choking the Planet” claim.

This is an example of garbage journalism and how not to do do climate communications.

Journalism: “1 in 4 Americans defaulted on their student loans” is misleading

Journalism: “1 in 4 Americans defaulted on their student loans” is misleading

The claim that “1 in 4 Americans defaulted on their student loans” is a misleading headline from CBS News. The actual number is less than 1 in 20 Americans defaulted – and this was narrowly during the period of The Great Recession, the worst economic collapse since The Great Depression. They have worded the headline to use the method of “anchoring” – when we see this, we immediately think “1 in 4 Americans” have defaulted, which is not true. This appears to be propaganda in support of wiping out student debts.

Climate Communications “Fail”: This is what happens when propaganda gets extreme

Climate Communications “Fail”: This is what happens when propaganda gets extreme

A classic illustration of how exaggerated, hyperbolic and untrue statements about climate lead to people conclude that projections of human-induced climate change are not true. Our own thesis is that improved communication comes from honest and accurate presentation of facts and logical arguments. Unfortunately, the climate communications community has, rather consistently, engaged in increasingly shrill propaganda messaging that eventually results in the “The boy who cried wolf” phenomena where no one believes anything anymore. This item illustrates how climate communications has backfired, circled back on itself, and produced an outcome opposite to what was intended.