Re: Stossel program faces generic engineering threat

From: Mike Lorrey (
Date: Mon Jul 02 2001 - 08:01:20 MDT wrote:
> One area I thought worked well was when school kids all vehemently
> insisted that air pollution was getting worse, and then Stossel showed
> charts that showed major pollutants getting better. However some of
> his other charts did not work so well.
> In discussing global warming, he showed a chart with temperature increasing
> over the past 100 years. But then he pulled back to show it over a larger
> span of several hundred years, and present temperatures were no longer
> highest, things had been much higher a few hundred years ago.
> I don't think this is correct. The chart's temperature axis read -32,
> -34, -36 degrees down the vertical axis. What was this a chart of?
> I got the impression this was some polar region. I think if you look at
> worldwide average temperatures then the recent temperatures are unusually
> high even over the past 1000 years. This chart was up so briefly that
> probably most viewers were unaware of the oddity.

Well, his point, if you were paying attention, was that most of the
warming was occuring at the poles, so his chart, likely, was presenting
temperature changes at the poles, which do, in fact average their annual
temperatures heavily into the minuses. Also, I was under the impression
that the chart covered the last 10,000 years, not last 1000 years.

> In another example, an activist complained about the use of recombinant
> bovine growth hormone (RBGH). She said that the U.S. was the only
> industrialized country to allow its use. Later she simplified that to say
> that the U.S. was the only country which allowed it. Stossel challenged
> her and put up a quickly-scrolling list of other countries that allowed
> the use of RGBH. There were 20 or more and it made her look bad.
> But if you looked closely at the list, all were Third World countries.
> Venezuela, Mexico, etc., all poor nations. The United States was the only
> First World country that I saw. So in fact the activist was basically
> correct in her initial statement, although the streamlined version of
> the message was not right. But I felt that Stossel was trying to snow
> the viewers by putting up the list so fast that most people couldn't read
> it carefully. (I Tivo'd the show so was able to view it at my leisure.)

Could you post the list of countries? I'd hardly consider Mexico and
Venezuela undeveloped countries. They are industrialized, and Venezuela
is actually a rather rich country, not poor at all.

> I had a lot of other complaints too, as when Stossel would subtly
> switch the question being discussed, starting from the question of
> whether global warming is occuring and whether man is causing it, and
> then saying no, many scientists don't agree that global warming will
> be harmful. Both statements are true: there is a consensus that warming
> is occuring and that it is very likely due in part to human activities;

No, there is not a consensus among scientists, just among those with the
same agenda.

> and there is much less consensus about the net effects of the warming,
> because some will be good and some will be bad. Stossel emphasized the
> second point and let it be assumed that the disagreement covered the
> other issue as well.

Sure. If it is actually occuring, and its not actually a bad thing (who
can complain about millions of square miles of tundra becoming
productive agricultural acrage? Who can complain about the fact that if
sea levels rise, this will actually INCREASE the amount of coastline,
and therefore more seashore fore everybody....)

> All in all I don't know how well Stossel has helped his cause with the
> show. One interesting point is that probably a lot more people watched
> it due to all the publicity gained by pulling the interviews with school
> children at the last minute (interviews with other kids were substituted).

And I think he got points for doing that in a way that illustrated the
manipulativeness of the greens.

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