The International Conference on Climate Change, an annual convention of global warming skeptics, concluded Tuesday in Chicago. But based on media coverage—or rather, the lack of it—you probably didn’t know that. And this has right wingers up in arms.
“’Deniers’ Meet and the Media Ignores Them…Again,” trumpets the headline of a Canada Free Press article. “International Conference on Climate Change Totally Ignored By Media,” seconds an article on the Newsbusters website.
At the same time, the left also routinely attacks the media for not covering such conferences, but for a different reason; because it conceals their sometimes-murky undercurrents.
In this case, for instance, the conference was sponsored by the Heartland Institute, a major beneficiary of ExxonMobil money. MIT Professor Richard Lindzen, one of the event’s speakers, at one point charged oil and coal interests $2,500 a day for his consulting services, according to Harper’s; when he testified before the Senate about his “findings,” Western Fuels paid his way. Yet another speaker, S. Fred Singer, has worked for organizations that have reaped hundreds of thousands of dollars from ExxonMobil.
So what is the media to do in this situation?
It’s one thing to work for an organization with a certain perspective. But the MSM is supposed to answer to the general public—which is why objectivity is the ideal. If the media were to cover this event with no mention of its oil and gas connections, it would be delivering incomplete and therefore inaccurate information. But when it does mention such connections, it sets itself up for attacks of liberal bias, which is often exploited to turn people against the whole enterprise of journalism. And when the MSM does nothing, it’s slammed for, as the articles above state, general ignorance.
It’s a tricky situation. The thing is, the International Conference on Climate Change is a pretty big deal. It draws hundreds of people, and is one of the largest events for people who don’t support the idea of climate change. As such, it deserves to be mentioned in the press. But it would be wrong to report it without providing the full picture.