A case study on what happens when somebody makes an assertion about a Fox News personality without doing some elemental research into what he actually says or believes.
A Business Insider article yesterday links to a video on how a supposedly diehard Bill O’Reilly fan watches him daily, loves him, is “proud to be an American”, and up until now, believed him on the topic of global warming. However, after viewing the movie Chasing Ice, she now tearfully believes global warming is real and we all should do something about it immediately.
No doubt this video will be a great preaching-to-the-choir promo for the Al Gore crowd, but for the rest of us having actual familiarity with the issue and being frequent viewers of Fox News and The O’Reilly Factor, her proclamation falls apart in an instant.
First, if she were to appear on The Factor and arbitrarily blurt out that she was “proud to be an American”, he very likely would glare at her and ask what that has to do with anything. Apparently she is mixed up over that statement being more appropriate for Sean Hannity and his “you’re a great American” radio show tagline.
Second, a rather clear indicator that this person is not at all familiar with the global warming issue is her new-found ‘belief’ in it, as opposed to the nauseatingly repeated talking point about Fox News viewers and skeptics in general being “deniers” of global warming, climate change or whatever its current designation happens to be. Nobody that I’m aware of denies outright that global warming is happening, especially the skeptic climate scientists. As hurricane expert Dr William Gray said so succinctly almost thirteen years ago in the New York Times, “I don’t think we’re arguing over whether there’s any global warming, the question is, ‘What is the cause of it?'”
Third, there is the teensy little problem that Bill O’Reilly would prompt daily viewers not to ‘believe’ in global warming.
Daily viewers like me will remember rather clearly when guest Laura Ingraham unsuccessfully attempted to steer him to the skeptic side after he told her that he believed in global warming. Then there was the time when his producer Jesse Watters tried to entice Al Gore into accepting an interview with O’Reilly by saying “You know Bill is not a big anti-global warming guy”. [12/4/12 Author’s UDATE: I missed O’Reilly’s Feb 2007 CBS News “60 Minutes” interview where it very clearly said (bold emphasis mine), “But what you don’t expect are his views, which sound more like they’re coming from a Democrat. …. “Government’s gotta be proactive on environment,” says O’Reilly. “Global warming is here. All these idiots that run around and say it isn’t here. That’s ridiculous.” Transcript here, YouTube short clip here.]
I was even compelled to write my own story right here at JunkScience back in March about his failure to recognize the head of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.
To his credit, however, O’Reilly had Bill Nye and Joe Bastardi debate in a February 2010 segment where O’Reilly opened by saying a global warming study was debunked, but he ended the segment with “I am making an appeal to the Diety to come onto the program and tell us once and for all what’s going on”. Compare that to how Sean “global warming is a hoax” Hannity causes pro-global warming folks to rant about his tone of discussion.
And, O’Reilly had Bastardi back again on November 1st to debate with the Union of Concerned Scientists’ Brenda Ekwurzel. It is hard to miss the basically fair and balanced moderator approach O’Reilly gave to each guest, concluding with “I have to compliment you both; very clear, and that’s the kind of debate we need to hear, so the folks can get the information.”
So, if the promoters of man-caused global warming hope that a single viewing of a film showing melting ice is enough to sway even the most ardent Bill O’Reilly fan, then it would be advisable to chose a spokesperson having just a little more plausibility if the endorsement needs to avoid the appearance of being a botched orchestration.