Why are local TV weather forecasters generally global-warming deniers?
Let me state at the outset here that I don’t know if THIS applies to weather forecasters in the Rockford television market (or to the guy in the photo above):
[A] new study by researchers at George Mason University and Yale University [has] found that those with a “low engagement on the issue of global warming … are more likely to be influenced by their perceived personal experience of global warming than by their prior beliefs.” Summarizing the findings, Grist.orgreporter David Roberts writes that “people who have made up their mind have made up their mind,” but for those in the “mushy middle,” personally facing severe weather — and being exposed to facts about what that weather really represents — “can make a real difference.”
The bad news is that this “mushy” group probably cannot be reached by the real experts, as 1 in 3 of those surveyed in the AP poll say they simply do not trust scientists. That leaves local television weather forecasters (many of whom are not actual scientists), national news outlets and Washington political leaders to the task — and up to this point, many of them have played the opposite of a constructive role in climate education.
For instance, when it comes to weather forecasters, a recent Rolling Stone magazine assessment of the local news scene found that “there’s a shockingly high chance that your friendly TV weatherman is a full-blown climate denier.” The report cited a 2010 survey finding that in the vast wasteland of Ron Burgundys, only half of all local weather forecasters believe climate change is even happening, and fewer than a third acknowledge the scientific evidence proving that it is “caused mostly by human activities.” Not surprisingly, their forecasts often omit any discussion of climate change’s effect on the weather systems, thus forfeiting a chance to properly contextualize severe weather events.