Fox News Lies about Greenland’s Ice Melt

Extent of surface melt over Greenland’s ice sheet on July 8 (left) and July 12 (right). Measurements from three satellites showed that on July 8, about 40 percent of the ice sheet had undergone thawing at or near the surface. In just a few days, the melting had dramatically accelerated and an estimated 97 percent of the ice sheet surface had thawed by July 12. Image courtesy NASA (click for larger view)

Amazing how Fox News — you know, the ‘Fair and Balanced’ one — seemingly takes just about any news story and twists, spins and mangles it to fit some conservative agenda. This time they’ve taken this week’s NASA announcement of the ‘unprecedented’ Greenland ice melt and ignored the gist of it so their counterview could be used as an anti-global warming article entitled, Skeptics put the freeze on NASA ‘hot air’ about Greenland ice

But them trying to position this in that way is bullshit.

Let me illustrate why Fox News using this one quote they pulled out of the press release, positioning it as a glaciologist’s comment that was pooh-poohing the magnitude of the event: 

“Ice cores from Summit station [Greenland’s coldest and highest] show that melting events of this type occur about once every 150 years on average. With the last one happening in 1889, this event is right on time,” said Lora Koenig, a Goddard glaciologist and a member of the research team analyzing the satellite data.

What they DIDN’T include was this next sentence, “But if we continue to observe melting events like this in upcoming years, it will be worrisome.”

THAT was the gist of the article. Agreement by everyone that historically this happens every 150 years or so BUT that we need to watch it. Why? Because other global climate data is pointing strongly toward climate change and IF this melt became more frequent then THAT would be alarming.

The word “unprecedented”, that partial quote and a couple of blogger quotes were all the evidence Fox had to back up their positioning of this press release as NASA fanning the flames of the pro-global warming agenda. What a joke they are.

The kicker? If you take two minutes and read the press release or this article in the New York Times or even this one at National Geographic (among many others), you will actually receive a fair and balanced look at the fact that NASA didn’t, in any way, position this as an “Oh my GOD!! Global warming will kill us all!!” like the Fox News article says it does.

Instead reading any one of those other articles you’d gain a very clear understanding with :

…scientists described it as an “extreme event” not previously recorded from space (and) they hastened to add that it was normal in a broader historical context.


Scientists estimate that if all of Greenland’s ice sheet were to melt, the global sea level would rise by 23 feet (7 meters). “To be perfectly clear, that is not what we’re seeing,” said Thomas Mote, a climatologist at the University of Georgia. “Greenland is losing mass, but it would take a very long time to lose all of that mass.

So many people I know can’t be bothered to think critically and instead allow their world view to be shaped by those with a clear agenda…and an agenda that has nothing to do with objectivity or journalism. So please read for yourself rather than rely upon any news source. One thing you could do is view Google News — and see multiple news organizations views on a topic — or if you have an iPad the News360 app which provides you with dozens of sources per news event.

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  1. Rachel Thompson on August 28, 2012 at 9:32 am

    Good post. I would mention that generally scientists are very conservative with their views and decidedly not alarmist. Science doesn’t work that way, however, anyone paying attention can connect the dots as scientists are loth to do so. One look at the geological record over the aeons tells this story: yes warming is natural and progressive but green house gases, we generate, certainly are accelerating warming. I’ll leave those ramifications to your reader’s imagination. Much worse and immediate is the pollution and mass extinction event we are now in and the lack of sustainability in our current system. Things are much worse than scientists are willing to plainly state. When you connect the dots of all the interrelated elements- human and natural- the picture isn’t pretty.

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Podcasting hit the mainstream in July of 2005 when Apple added podcast show support within iTunes. I'd seen this coming so started podcasting in May of 2005 and kept going until August of 2007. Unfortunately was never 'discovered' by national broadcasters, but made a delightfully large number of connections with people all over the world because of these shows. Click here to view the archive of my podcast posts.