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FRONTLINE: A Climate of Doubt

2012 October 17
by Shared by Steve Rust

Next week on most Public Broadcasting stations, Frontline will be airing “A Climate of Doubt” special report on the ever-changing public debate on climate change.  The issue has been completely ignored during both U.S. presidential debates and the vice presidential debate so I’ll be tuning in to hear the PBS take on public opinion and the role of media pundits and think tanks in shaping the debate. The candidates did address the issues in their convention speeches, with Mitt Romney using the issue as a laugh line and Barack Obama claiming it is not a hoax. At least NPR is not ignoring the issue, thanks to the reporting of Richard Harris. I’m not sure I agree that there has been a “reversal” in public opinion as green consumerism is hotter than ever but it is clearly not on the minds of the mainstream media. Frontline promises to look behind the issue to the uncover the reasons why public interest seems to have waned.  Clearly, the global economic recession and massive job losses have to be a primary reason, but as Frontline uncovers, rhetoric and politics have played a key role as well. Here’s a description of the program:

“Only four years ago, politicians from both parties, pressed by an anxious public, seemed poised to act on climate change. But that was then. Today, public opinion about climate change has cooled, and many politicians either ignore the issue or loudly proclaim their skepticism of diverse scientific evidence that human activity is imperiling the planet. What’s behind this reversal? John Hockenberry (host of The Takeaway on NPR radio) goes inside the organizations that fought to shift the direction of debate on climate issues and redefine the politics of global warming.”

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