Wednesday, March 31, 2010

TV Weatherman Plays Politics with Science

The Green Miles used to work as a TV news producer. One night I was out for beers some coworkers when a weatherman with little formal scientific training started spouting global warming denier talking points -- solar cycles, etc. I wasn't all that surprised because it came in the middle of a rant about Big Government -- clearly his beliefs were based on his personal politics, not science.

So when I hear about local TV weathermen who are global warming deniers and are also prominent Republicans ... well, I'm not exactly shocked:
Tim Kelley, a meteorologist at New England Cable News who is married to Scituate Republican Town Committee Chair Janet Fogarty, told a crowd at a GOP St. Patrick’s Day breakfast this month “the forecasts that the alarmists have made are obviously not coming true.” Before a crowd of state officeholders and candidates, Kelley added, “We’re wasting so much time and so much money on that issue."
Two things here. First, Tim Kelley is flat wrong. As the World Meteorological Organization confirmed last week, the 2000s were the hottest decade on record as man-made global warming continues unabated. 

Tim Kelley is also not an expert on climate. He has no formal training in climatology and no advanced scientific degree. Kelley has a bachelor's degree in meteorology from Lyndon State College. He got his degree 23 years ago -- not just before climate science became so well understood, but even before Jim Hansen's landmark Congressional testimony that originally brought global warming into the public spotlight.

When TV weathermen publicly make false statements about science, they're putting their credibility on the line and they risk having their motivations called into question. In Kelley's case, his personal political motives are quite clear.


Matt said...

Weathermen should be held to the same standard as other journalists. We turn to them for the facts, not their opinions.

Evilbarron said...

Let's keep this in perspective: this is the GOP St. Patrick’s Day breakfast in Boston, Mass. Obviously, the best they could do was a two-bit local weatherman on a cable station almost noone watches. Who cares what his opinions are? It's like reading a blog post about how irresponsible it is that my brother-in-law is a climate denier. OK, sure, it's stupid of him, but why would anyone care? NECN isn't exactly Fox news, and I don't think his views are going to sway a whole lot of folks in New England, mainly because not that many people will hear his views in the first place.