Winston Churchill once said, “A lie gets halfway around the world before the truth has a chance to put its pants on.”
That was before the Internet and Television and 24-hour news cycles, and way before corporations had perfected the art of public relations, and the ability to invest hundreds of millions of dollars in PR campaigns to advance their commercial and political interests.
This has left us with a number of indelible truths … except they’re not truths. They’re media truths. Things that if I said to you, you would instantly know they were right. Things like “Global warming is false; most scientists disagree that global warming is a fact.” Or, “The Keystone XL pipeline will create 10,000 jobs and tons of oil.” Or, Social Security is about to go broke.” These are the result of well-planned, well-funded, long-term propaganda campaigns designed to make people believe things that are against their own best interests.
There are lots of other lies as well, most notably dealing with “Job Creation”, “National Security” and the “Price of Oil”. I addressed the Keystone myth in an earlier post and will address Social Security myth in a later post, but right now I would like to focus on the “Global Warming Myth” as my buddy, Rush Limbaugh would call it.
The “Climate Denial” industry is on my mind recently, mostly because I spent much of the Spring (or late Winter) in Boston and New York, and right before I left, I watched the video below. I was in Boston on February 14 and 15, New York on March 8 and 9 and in Boston again on March 20 and 21. The average weather in Boston during February is 29 degrees with 11 inches of snow while the average in New York is 34 degrees with 4 inches of snow. When I was there it was 75 degrees, it hadn’t snowed in like, forever and it was sunny. The evenings were balmy like a Summer night. I also noticed that the United States just completed breaking over 3,600 weather records this Spring.
Want to watch 131 years of global temperatures in 26 seconds? Go here:
But, see … it really isn’t in anyone’s interests to admit that there might be a problem with the climate, because then those responsible might actually have to change some of the ways they do things. And that would be EXPENSIVE. Very. The “Climate Denial” industry, which is funded by some of the richest corporations on the planet, to protect their profits from regulations that would address climate change, might have to stop spending on the “Climate Denial” Industry and start spending on alternative ways to do things. EXPENSIVE. Far more than the hundreds of millions spent on the perpetuation of the “Climate Denial” Industry. And, as things are going, they seem to be winning.
In spite of the fact that it’s one of the biggest threats we have ever faced, an increasing number of Americans believe there is widespread disagreement in the scientific community about climate change. They believe that most scientists disagree with the notion of global warming.
The truth is that there is actually widespread scientific agreement on climate change, with only a few dissenters, most of them paid in some way by the oil industry. Hundreds of millions of dollars have been spent to create the appearance of disagreement, including deployment of so-called experts, and even TV meteorologists, to repeat talking points favored by big oil and others, but mostly big oil, and Rush Limbaugh.
The good news is that in just the past year, the Internet and social media have brought together social movements across the globe, and there are signs that, in this new Social Media Age, people are beginning to break through the fog of corporate disinformation. But some of the “facts” have been repeated for so many years that most people still think they are true. Maybe truth has one pant’s leg on after all.