To the dismay of green-oriented psychologists, seeing and hearing a lone skeptic for as little as 45 seconds in a â€œbalancedâ€ news story on global warming is enough to erode viewersâ€™ confidence in the anthropogenic global warming theory. The solution? No more dissenting views. They are far too powerful, evidently. Hence, the common phrases â€œglobal warming deniers,â€ â€œthe debate is overâ€ and â€œthe science is settled.â€ These are all attempts to stifle or dismiss even a peep from a questioning voice, because just 45 seconds of questioning can upset the tenuous belief some hold in man-made global warming alarmism.
The American Psychological Association wants Congress to give them tax-dollars to work with other organizations in developing media messages targeting behavior changes. Specifically they want to get people to reduce their â€œcarbon footprint.â€ Keeping the other side of the debate out of sight looks to be a critical piece of their psychological puzzle.
According to a recent story in USA Today, 16,000 members of the American Psychological Association areÂ just wrapping upÂ a four-day conference in Boston. Hot topics include changing what America eats and how to produce better agitprop to bolster belief in global warming, and fosterÂ carbon-targetedÂ behavior changes. One proposed strategy is encouraging students to rebuke fellows they observe engaging in â€œnon-sustainableâ€ behavior, like failing to recycle. Psychologists observe that people are more likely to actively disapprove of such behavior if it is perceived as more harmful. This is an old, time-tested strategy. Researchers at the conference are calling it â€œincreasing sensitivity to the natural world.â€ Itâ€™s more commonly known as demonizing.
By far, the most telling piece of research presented at the conference was put together by Stanford social psychologist, Jon Krosnik. He concludes that news stories presenting a â€œbalancedâ€ view of global warming reduced viewersâ€™ belief that humans are at fault and also reduced the number of people who thought climate change would be bad.
Details on the experiment from the USA Today story: â€œBy editing CNN and PBS news stories so that some saw a skeptic included in the report, others saw a story in which the skeptic was edited out and another group saw no video, Krosnick found that adding 45 seconds of a skeptic to one news story caused 11% of Americans to shift their opinions about the scientific consensus. Rather than 58% believing a perceived scientific agreement, inclusion of the skeptic caused the perceived amount of agreement to drop to 47%.â€
Every day, Americans are bombarded with the message of global-warming alarmism. From the TV news casts, car and light bulb commercials, newspaper articles and editorials, radio announcements to sitcoms and films, America is deluged with thousands of hours of anthropogenic global warming propaganda. Going by Krosnikâ€™s research, 45 seconds of skepticism is all it takes to shatter majority status for global warming believers. Truth is indeed a powerful thing.