Get ready for an onslaught of climate disinformation as the 2020 Presidential campaign heats up between Trump and the eventual Democratic nominee.
The same bad media actors that helped Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin steal our democracy in 2016 have done little to stem social media disinformation again in 2020 despite their protestations to the contrary.
As a result, we can expect that there will be a small group of powerful and influential people on our planet who will make sure their power will not be threatened. To accomplish this, the kakistocracy of kleptocrats must ensure that the rest of us die. This will be the final endpoint that awaits us in a rapidly heating world if their strangle hold on power is not loosened. The enablers of Armageddon will accomplish this by weaponizing all the technologies available in the digital world, specifically in social media, subverting our democracy by amplifying messages on media platforms that simpletons desperately want to hear.
Citing survey data, the author, Dana Nuccitelli, wrote that “Republicans who watch Fox News are more than twice as likely to deny human-caused climate change than Republican non-viewers, and 62 percent of Republicans watch Fox News.” Nuccitelli added that the data “suggests that the presence of Fox News and other conservative media outlets may be the primary explanation for why climate denial is more prevalent in the United States than in other developed countries.”
And it’s further proof that Rupert Murdoch, whose family runs Fox News, is one of the most dangerous people on the planet.
It sounds ludicrous. But when your Uncle Bert and Aunt Gertrude watch hours upon hours of this stuff, the effect is to produce a combination of anger, cynicism and inertia that makes it nearly impossible to break through with serious ideas about how to save the planet. And let’s not forget that Fox functions as state television for a president who declared on Twitter in 2012 that global warming was a hoax perpetrated by the Chinese.
Despite overwhelming scientific consensus that time is running out to avoid the worst effects of climate change, the level of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere continues to rise. As one of the two worst polluters (China is the other), the United States has to lead if anything is going to be accomplished. Unfortunately, Trump’s response has been to pull out of the Paris climate-change accords and to torment California for taking action at the state level.
The role of Fox News in preventing serious action on climate change shouldn’t be underestimated. From propping up the Trump presidency to mocking science as a bastion of liberal elitism, Fox is hastening the day when parts of the planet will become uninhabitable.
The Pew survey shows that a majority of Americans wants to do something serious about climate change. It also shows that the same Foxified minority keeping Trump in office is blocking the wishes of the majority. It’s further proof that our media system, like our electoral system, is undermining our democracy.
The Guardian has breaking news on a draft report to be published in the journal Nature in an analysis of “6.5 million tweets posted in the days leading up to and the month after Trump announced the US exit from the Paris accords on 1 June 2017.”
The social media conversation over the climate crisis is being reshaped by an army of automated Twitter bots, with a new analysis finding that a quarter of all tweets about climate on an average day are produced by bots, the Guardian can reveal.
The stunning levels of Twitter bot activity on topics related to global heating and the climate crisis is distorting the online discourse to include far more climate science denialism than it would otherwise.
An analysis of millions of tweets from around the period when Donald Trump announced the US would withdraw from the Paris climate agreement found that bots tended to applaud the president for his actions and spread misinformation about the science.
The study of Twitter bots and climate was undertaken by Brown University and has yet to be published. Bots are a type of software that can be directed to autonomously tweet, retweet, like or direct message on Twitter, under the guise of a human-fronted account.
“These findings suggest a substantial impact of mechanized bots in amplifying denialist messages about climate change, including support for Trump’s withdrawal from the Paris agreement,” states the draft study, seen by the Guardian.
Think Progress, 2019, reported on Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg’s anti-science alliance with Tucker Carlson and the Daily Caller.
Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg keeps dashing any hope that the world’s largest social media platform might be a positive force in the fight against catastrophic climate change.
In its latest disastrous move to fight the online epidemic of fake news, Facebook’s fact-checking effort announced last week that it was teaming up with CheckYourFact.com — an arm of the conservative, anti-science media site The Daily Caller.
The Daily Caller, which has published misinformation about climate science for years, was co-founded by the science-denying Fox News host Tucker Carlson and is backed by major conservative donors, including Charles and David Koch, the billionaire fossil fuel barons who are the single biggest funders of climate science misinformation.
“It is appalling that Facebook has teamed up with a Koch-funded organization that promotes climate change denial,” leading climatologist Michael Mann told ThinkProgress. Mann, whose own work has been misrepresented by The Daily Caller, added, “Facebook must disassociate itself from this organization.”
The Guardian writes on the contributions of Google to climate change denier efforts to mislead the public on the biggest existential threat humanity has ever faced.
Google has made “substantial” contributions to some of the most notorious climate deniers in Washington despite its insistence that it supports political action on the climate crisis.
Among hundreds of groups the company has listed on its website as beneficiaries of its political giving are more than a dozen organisations that have campaigned against climate legislation, questioned the need for action, or actively sought to roll back Obama-era environmental protections.
The list includes the Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI), a conservative policy group that was instrumental in convincing the Trump administration to abandon the Paris agreement and has criticised the White House for not dismantling more environmental rules.
Google said it was disappointed by the US decision to abandon the global climate deal, but has continued to support CEI.
Google is also listed as a sponsor for an upcoming annual meeting of the State Policy Network (SPN), an umbrella organisation that supports conservative groups including the Heartland Institute, a radical anti-science group that has chided the teenage activist Greta Thunberg for “climate delusion hysterics”.
SPN members recently created a “climate pledge” website that falsely states “our natural environment is getting better” and “there is no climate crisis”.
Google has defended its contributions, saying that its “collaboration” with organisations such as CEI “does not mean we endorse the organisations’ entire agenda”.
Ciara Nugent in Time Magazine writes on how YouTube actively promotes videos spreading climate denialism.
YouTube has been “actively promoting” videos containing misinformation about climate change, a report released Thursday by campaign group Avaaz claims, despite recent policy changes by the platform intended to drive users away from harmful content and conspiracy theories.
Avaaz examined 5,537 videos retrieved by the search terms “climate change,” global warming” and “climate manipulation,” and then the videos most likely to be suggested next by YouTube’s “up next” sidebar. For each of those search terms respectively, 8%, 16% and 21% of the top 100 related videos included by YouTube in the “up-next” feature contained information that goes against the scientific consensus on climate change – such as denying climate change is taking place, or claiming that human activity is not a cause of climate change. Avaaz claims this promotion process means YouTube is helping to spread climate denialism.
“We’ve found that it’s very likely that at least one in five users who search for a term like global warming or climate change could be sent down this type of misinformation rabbit hole,” says Fadi Quran, a campaigns director at Avaaz, and one of the report’s authors. “Scientists are working so hard to educate people about the existential threat we face and YouTube is allowing bad actors among us the last word on this issue for many people.”