TV networks disregard scandal, creating another of their own

Have they moved yet? Have they picked up the phone or maybe taken a taxi to interview some experts? The last I heard, reporters at ABC, CBS and NBC hadn’t hopped on a terrifically interesting and important scandal, and I’m wondering: Have they finally learned their trade and dropped their biases? Are they up and at ’em?

For more than four decades, I’ve been in the news business, holding about every job you can hold. And never, in all that time and experience, can I recall such a laggard reaction by big-time players to a major story.

The story is about e-mails written by top scientists, and here’s some of what was going on: discussions about keeping other scientists out of peer-reviewed journals, manipulating data and hiding data.

This sort of thing runs contrary to just about every principle of scientific investigation and happens to involve a topic of major concern: global warming.

The nations of the world right now are debating whether they are going to inflict what could be serious harm to their economies — and therefore their people — to avoid a climate catastrophe predicted by these and other scientists, but there are those who think the cure could be the worse catastrophe. This scandal matters, even if it does not disprove warming theories, because it speaks to the politicization of science at a time when we need the most objective science possible.

So, a heck of story, huh? It’s the kind that will typically energize even the most slow-moving journalists, and if it hasn’t, you’ve got to figure something pretty bad is going on, something maybe just as dangerous as the politicization of science, namely the politicization of journalism.

But even if theories of human-induced, killer warming are inarguably true (and they aren’t) there would remain any number of highly arguable issues of how to avert warming problems, whether some proposed remedies would work at all, whether resources would not be better directed to other problems that are just as serious, whether the world could adjust and wait for new technologies to address the issue.

And, at any rate, it’s the business of journalists to get the unvarnished facts to the public so the truth has a chance to emerge.

Whatever the rationale of these networks in failing to react to this story, their behavior is disgraceful, an example of bias or ineptitude far exceeding any example I am aware of in the news reporting at Fox News — especially when you consider we are not talking about the commentary shows here. We are talking about good, old-fashioned reporting of information, something the broadcast networks don’t presently seem to have wholly mastered.

Examiner columnist Jay Ambrose is a former Washington opinion writer and editor of two dailies. He can be reached at Speaktojay@aol.com.

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