Joseph Bast, President of Heartland Institute

The media as a ‘manufacturer of doubt’ can have a negative impact on the belief by the public that there is a no scientific consensus when in fact there is one. A Wall Street Journal article “The Myth of Climate Change ‘97%'” challenges that there is a scientific consensus by manufacturing doubt with shady arguments. The opinion co-authored by Joseph Bast, President of the Heartland Institute[5], which is the “the primary American organization pushing climate change skepticism,” according to the New York Times.  They do not address whether climate change is real or not. Instead they focus on manufacturing doubt about scientific consensus.

For example in his article Bast states

“Surveys of meteorologists repeatedly find a majority oppose the alleged consensus. Only 39.5% of 1,854 American Meteorological Society members who responded to a survey in 2012 said man-made global warming is dangerous.”

Bast neglects to mention that 89% agreed that there was global warming and 88% thought it would cause harm. by focusing on a narrow definition of dangerous he is able to sow doubt in the belief that there is a consensus even though there is a very high consensus.  What is more is that these are not experts, survey participants were required to have only 20 semester hours of work in a related field.

By strategically sowing seeds of doubt, organized opponents of climate change action have tried to undermine the validity of the scientific consensus.