A Weblog monitoring coverage of environmental issues and science in the UK media. By Professor Emeritus Philip Stott. The aim is to assess whether a subject is being fairly covered by press, radio, and television. Above all, the Weblog will focus on science, but not just on poor science. It will also bring to public notice good science that is being ignored because it may be politically inconvenient.

Saturday, December 11, 2004

Let's make it cool to question media and government ecohype over 'global warming'.....

I was fascinated to watch another interview with Michael Crichton about State of Fear on the BBC's leading television art's show, 'Newsnight Review' (BBC 2, Friday, December 10), and especially by the thoughtful responses of the participants in the ensuing discussion, particularly those of one my own heroines, Deborah Bull, the ballet dancer. Deborah's comments made me understand what an important role Michael Crichton, and his latest blockbuster, will play in beginning to make it cool (no pun intended) in the UK to question the increasingly-nonsensical media and government hype on this topic. Indeed, I wonder if the best way to redress the balance in Britain is to make it newly-fashionable to debunk 'global warming'. Even the media types might be swung a tad by such a ploy.

And this may not be quite so far-fetched a policy as it might seem. We are, at the moment, a pretty shallow society and to achieve some common-sense on this issue it might be necessary to employ the language and tactics of such a society. Of course, Michael Crichton's book, while undoubtedly an airport, page-turning thriller, is seriously researched (it was wonderful, for example, to hear the arts' buffs marvelling at a novel actually containing graphs! How jolly spiffing it all sounded....) But Crichton is also, and justly, 'popular'. This is where the red tops, the tabloids, popular radio and TV might prove distinctly more valuable than bothering to attack the dread rantings of the usual suspects in the Gloomiad (what utter twaddle from Robin Cook yesterday!).

Moreover, all recent Barthesian myths have their sell-by-dates, and I suspect that quite a lot of people are starting to be bored to tears (I know my wife is) by the 'global warming' gloomsters. Overplaying a hand can ultimately lose the game. Somebody told me the other day that, when they now hear the phrases 'global warming' and 'climate change' on air, they just switch off, or over to Radio 3 where they pray for some calming Bach. How wise. In addition, the more the government supports a position, the more the media will be tempted to criticise.

I think, therefore, that we should unrepentently demonstrate that 'global warming' ideas are ever-so 'old hat' and that we need a new, much more fun set of myths to help us to mould a post-fear society. Thanks so much to Michael Crichton for pointing the way.

Philip, enjoying the cold winter sun. What fun indeed. Lunch.

[New counter, June 19, 2006, with loss of some data]

WWW EnviroSpin Watch

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?