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The Implications of the Anthropogenic Global Warming Hypothesis - Essay Example

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No issue has initiated a more spirited debate, both scientific and social, than the controversy that surrounds the Anthropogenic Global Warming Hypothesis. Interested stakeholders have applied a significant amount of pressure from all directions in an effort to prove or disprove the theory, or gain the support needed to enact the legislation that is favorable to their cause…
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The Implications of the Anthropogenic Global Warming Hypothesis
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Download file to see previous pages Indeed, the stakes are high in the game of global warming. Trillions of dollars, our ability to compete, future energy policy, and our standard of living all hang in the balance. The national media, charged with informing the public on this important issue, has fallen into the trap of politicizing the issue, while truth has become little more that a reluctant victim of the infighting. In fact, on the issue of global warming the media has been accused of being a propaganda mouthpiece for whoever's political influence they happen to fall under. Media propaganda concerning the Anthropogenic Global Warming Hypothesis is the result of internal and external information manipulation, an inability to understand the science, and a propensity to serve the special interests that spin the narrative.
Accusing the media of purveying propaganda, either knowingly or unwittingly, is a serious charge that needs to be defined and substantiated. The recitation of inaccurate information or the innocent broadcasting of a news item that is 'fed' by a special interest group may be negligent or incompetent, but does not rise to the standard of propaganda. In these cases, the propagandist is the government or organization that feeds a politically biased press release to an innocent reporter under the guise of credibility, and the news outlet is merely an unwitting dupe. Propaganda may also be in the form of information that has been skewed or spun by scientific experts who are pursuing a hidden social or political agenda. In these cases, the news organization does not have the expertise to analyze the highly technical data and they rely on the testimony of experts. Here, the experts who are using skewed science to advocate a controversial social issue are guilty of propaganda, but the media is merely their vehicle. The media rises to the level of a propaganda machine when they knowingly issue false or misleading information whose sole purpose is not to inform, but to sway public opinion to serve their own self-interest.
There is little doubt that there are two deeply polarized stands on the significance of man's contribution to the global warming phenomena, and the media will promote the one that serves its best interests. The best interests of the media may be to satisfy a major advertiser, or may be to generate appeal among an audience that is sensitive to political correctness. Opponents of the hypothesis contend that science is merely placing the present in context with the recorded metrological history of about 200 years, and does not account for the natural shifts that take place over tens of thousands of years1. Indeed, advocates do rely on a limited window for their data as Houghton states, "For an understanding of the global warming issue, of most interest is the period of the last 50 years during which greenhouse gases increased substantially as did the global average temperature"2. Constrained by sound bytes and the perceived short attention span of their audience, the media does not have the resources to fully explain the implications of the widely conflicting data. The news outlet, or media source, needs to make a decision in regards to what they will tell their audience and how thoroughly they will explain it. This decision will almost assure them that they will ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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