Everybody Will Talk About Fox Weather, But Nobody Will Do Anything About It

As Fox News prepares for the launch of Fox Weather, it seems like a good time to bring up the role politics plays in how the media cover weather-related news, as well as the role advertisers play in underwriting it. And how that, in return, shapes public perceptions and responses to it.

As I’ve written before, I had an opportunity about a decade ago to participate in a project the University of Massachusetts and the National Science Foundation was working on to understand why scientists were winning the war on knowledge, but losing the battle over media coverage about climate change. They asked if I could help invite a contingent from Madison Avenue to help climate scientists learn how to do a better job communicating it.

Ten years later, it seems like nothing much has been accomplished on that front and that, if anything, it’s gotten worse, because despite ample physical evidence and data that Planet Earth is heating up, some people continue to deny it, or spin it, or use it as a distraction from something else.



So I can’t wait for Fox News to jump into that fray -- more than it already has -- because if there’s one thing its coverage of potentially political divisive news has taught us over the past quarter of a century it is that it can be incredibly profitable. For investors, if not Mother Earth.

Coincidentally, the Pew Research Center published a new analysis today on the economics of cable news coverage, which does indeed show that Fox News is by far the most profitable, generating nearly $2 billion in profits last year, half again as much as its two main rivals -- CNN and MSNBC -- combined.

So I have a prediction to make about Fox Weather: It’s going to be hot. And by that, I mean stone cold. Because if history has taught us anything, it’s that some advertisers will sponsor anything that helps them generate a profit, even if it destroys everything else. And by everything else, I mean our ability to continue living on this planet.

I’m not sure exactly how climate science became so politicized, but as economist and social commentator Umair Haque writes on Medium this week, already lost an important battle for truth when Republican strategist Fran Luntz coined the phrase “climate change” to replace what was really going on.

“Luntz rebranded global warming as ‘climate change,’ because it sounds far, far less dangerous, problematic, severe, worrisome,” writes Haque, a former Havas exec who conceived the agency’s “Meaningful Brands” study.

“The usual network of right-wing think tanks and media outlets immediately — as if by design — began to use it. And the rest is history,” Haque continues, completely ignoring -- or oblivious to -- the fact that Fox Weather is about to launch.

And that’s why I for one am going to take Haque’s advice and discontinue using the term climate change and replacing it with global warming.

2 comments about "Everybody Will Talk About Fox Weather, But Nobody Will Do Anything About It".
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  1. Carla Stephens from CEDR HR Solutions, July 13, 2021 at 7:04 p.m.

    Why Global Warming didn't work for me, but Climate Change did.

    Maybe rethink this? Get some more data. I say this because I was raised on the Right and I'm currently in my late 40's and my husband would say far left, I think I'm a little left of center. Anyway, I have a degree in biology, worked in life sciences for 20+ years in marketing and sales and now I work in marketing in a totally different field.

    Global warming has been a denied thing by the Right as long as I can remember, probably from FOX News and Rush (since about my late teens at least). My father was a small business owner and all regulations were bad including anything to protect the environment. If it was the government, it was a lie to take money from his less than stellar business to give it to some big corporation. This coming from a man who used to make us pick up and hike out more trash than we took in when I was a child on camping trips, so sad to see someone who used to care brainwashed into believing the opposite.

    I also believed these lies until a few years ago because I could see the science that showed the earth has been a whole lot warmer than it is now and it survived just fine. I also ignored it all for many years but I started to think about it again a few years ago when I started hearing it framed as Climate Change. Granted, I was already of a different mindset and finally open to listen and rethink, but I started to see that a changing climate makes parts of the planet that are currently hospitable, in-hospitable. What happens to the people who live there? They migrate and we have a huge problem of people trying to come here to escape a bad climate in Central America. Add to that all many things are happening with the weather all over North America causing people to have to migrate even here. 

    I think a Climate Change campaign that is targeted to specific demographics at specific times showing what it is doing to you right now and that this climate change is due to global warming is the only way to get to the people who continue to not believe.

    Many of them only care about themselves and their closest family (as long as they agree with them) and so you have to show them why it matters to them. Images of local skies black from the smoke, local nature destruction from the fires for people who live in communities who have had fires and same for those facing floods and hurricanes, deep freeze for Texas, border issues for the border towns.

    Anyway, I think you need to use both together as people don't understand what global warming means and it is too abstract an idea compared to climate change which can be better visualized and direct examples can be shown of how the climate has changed.

  2. Ben B from Retired, July 14, 2021 at 8:34 p.m.

    I believe in Climate change and I'll keep on saying it, it's a better term than global warming I'm just not an alarmist about it and that it is the end of the world as a lot of leftist have been saying which a lot of them are do as I say not as I do.

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