As I suggest today in an American Spectator piece, we may be to the point where public opinion is completely out of sync with how the best known (at least historically) news outlets are covering the global warming issue. Witness:
- A poll from last summer found that the vast majority of Americans opposed Lieberman/Warner and would not be willing to pay higher prices for electricity or gasoline to combat global warming.
- Pew found in January that of 20 policy issues it asked people to place in order of importance, global warming ranked last.
- A series of recent Rasmussen polls determined: that more respondents believed global warming was due to planetary trends than by human causes; that voters are evenly divided over whether immediate action on global warming is necessary; that 46 percent believe giving government greater control over the economy to fight global warming will be bad for America; and that a majority (54 percent) believe the media exaggerates the dangers of global warming.
- This week Gallup found a record-high 41 percent believe the media exaggerates the threat of global warming. “This represents the highest level of public skepticism about mainstream reporting on global warming seen in more than a decade of Gallup polling on the subject,” the polling firm reported.
So what does this say after 20+ years of irresponsible media exaggeration of the issue? It tells me a few things: that there is no such thing as a dominant “mainstream media” any more that captivates the news-consuming public. That while it’s nice to have one of these news outlets do your story, it’s not vital, and it’s not necessary to agonize over whether they do so or not. That these historically well-known news outlets are not only losing readership and revenues because of advertising losses, but because of credibility loss and disconnect with their communities. News consumers are smarter these days and know how to detect biased reporting, and they are not buying the product any more. With the speed and efficiency of the Web, it almost doesn’t matter any more where your information gets published; it’s that it does get published, gets found by a few key constituents, and gets launched from there. Can anyone purchase a Sunday paper in any city these days and honestly say it was worth the money?
Yet too many in political activism, public relations, and business believe that if your message hasn’t penetrated these media dinosaurs, then you’ve failed. Well, as the global warming issue illustrates, the skeptics are at least tied with the alarmists if they are not outright winning, despite the lack of respect and attention from the dying news giants. The polls show it clearly. So if the big businesses (you know who you are) who are in bed with the cap-and-taxers in big government and big environmentalism only so they can reap benefits for themselves, while passing costs to consumers and electricity users, you risk a backlash from those who will pay the bill. You are believing the wrong messengers and the evidence is clear.