When someone tries to persuade you of something that is not actually true, and the persuader knows it is not true, then the persuader is engaged in manipulation – versus argument or discussion.
The claim that this is the shortest international bridge in the world is bogus because (a) both islands are in Canada, and (b) a shorter bridge between Spain and Portugal exists.
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.
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.
If you want to get people to tune out and turn off news and information about climate, keep doing this. Per the peer reviewed literature, the claim highlighted above is bull shit. People see that – and not the facts – and just turn it all off. This is not how to present concerns about climate.
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.
Two professors took a look at how the media has reported on the topic of climate and found that almost all news reports leave out critical and basic facts about climate. A corollary is that instead of reporting facts and the use of logic that supports anthropogenic climate change, most turn to propaganda methods such as appeal to authority, fear, name calling (“deniers”), get-on-the-bandwagon and so on. Incredibly, as I was writing this post The Nature Conservancy sent an email fundraising solicitation which illustrates the point: the first sentence of the email makes 4 demonstrably false claims to create fear about changes in climate. “Factfulness” teaches us how to detect when we are being misled – this turned out to be classic example of a charitable organization making exaggerated claims not supported by reputable science organizations (IPCC, NOAA, The Royal Society).
This post may be the first of several on how climate communications has been badly bungled by reliance on propaganda methods, rather than sticking with facts and logic.
The illustration graphic is false, although you might believe it is true because most of the news media reported this topic, as illustrated in the graphic.
The reported information, however, is 100% false and is readily shown as false by a simple example (click through to read why its false). This incorrect information was widely reported and established as a fact. This occurred either because reporters had no understanding of what they report on (far too often to be the case) or because they deliberately misled their readers and viewers.
Reporter and their layers and layers of fact checkers, misquotes a Kaiser Family Foundation study by a factor of 1,000 – changing MILLIONS to BILLIONS. The only appropriate word for this is idiocy.
Social media is a frictionless platform for the dissemination of propaganda messaging. Seeing what just took place in the past few days, can you imagine the firepower about to be unleashed during the next national election in the U.S.? The brutal propaganda messaging on social media threatens to take down democracy.