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CNN Host: Climate Change Is Undeniable,
So Here's a Denier

CNN Reliable Sources host Brian Stelter was refreshingly direct about climate change on his November 2 show:
I don't think there are two equal sides to climate change. The scientific consensus is that it's real. The debate is over what to do about it. And the press has to be careful about creating this notion of sides.
That's right, down with false balance!

Stelter said this, unfortunately, as an introduction to a debate about whether there's any such thing as global warming.

He introduced it as "a story you will see nowhere else this morning." That story is that one of the founders of the Weather Channel, retired TV weather forecaster John Coleman, thinks "climate change is a hoax."  And saying so got him invited on Fox News.

So how does this all add up to something that deserves a segment on CNN? It's not clear; the CNN host only says that
Coleman's platform as a co-founder of a channel dedicated to weather is unique and so is the channel's declaration that it believes climate change is happening. So, this morning both players are here, Coleman and the CEO of the Weather Channel, David Kenny.
This would be precisely the type of climate debate that Stelter just said the media shouldn't have. Coleman, for his part, represented the climate change-denying side exactly as you'd expect: He accused CNN of bias, and claimed that the US government only gives research dollars to scientists who support climate change and hence the Democrats.

He added:
If you get down to the hard, cold facts, there's no question about it. Climate change is not happening. There is no significant manmade global warming now. There hasn't been any in the past, and there's no reason to expect any in the future. There's a whole lot of baloney and, yes, it has become a big political point of the Democratic Party and part of their platform, and I regret it's become political instead of scientific, but the science is on my side.
Or, the short version:  "Hello, everybody. There is no global warming."

Meanwhile, back in reality…. (cc photo: Brendan Cox / Oxfam)

The current CEO of the Weather Channel arrives next to affirm the channel's statement that it disagrees with Coleman. And, since the discussion mostly skipped over challenging any of Coleman's rhetoric, one could actually argue that there wasn't much of a debate at all.

What else happened the day of this segment? The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which represents the work of thousands of scientists, released a new report. "UN Panel Issues Its Starkest Warning Yet on Global Warming," read the New York Times headline (11/2/14); "Effects of Climate Change 'Irreversible,' UN Panel Warns in Report," was how the Washington Post (11/2/14) played it.

It does not appear to have received any coverage on the Sunday chat shows–making this CNN segment, featuring the views of a former TV personality with a journalism degree and a media executive with an MBA, one of the few mentions of climate change in TV news that day.
It could be worse, I suppose–CNN could have had Ann Coulter on again to talk about climate change unopposed (FAIR Action Alert, 5/29/14).

Reprinted with permission from Fairness & Accuracy In Reporting.

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