Strategies of Communication on Climate Change

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

The beauty of propaganda

First of all, note that the "Mail" sells almost two million copies per day. Consider also that other newspapers reported the same news. Then note the more than 156.000 Web shares and the over one thousand comments.

So, several million people have been exposed to the idea that "global cooling is coming" and to the parallel one that "the Arctic is recovering"

Now, consider how many people may have had the time and the willingness to go see the real data; for instance here, or here, showing that the Arctic is NOT recovering. Maybe a few thousand people? A few tens of thousands? Hardly more than that. So, you can imagine which message the public is getting.

You see the beauty of propaganda? Volume always triumphs over truth.


  1. Hi Ugo,
    Yes, the type of "journalism" we take in from the "news" these days is painfuly weak.

    I'm no expert on arctic sea ice, but even I know that there is more going on than simple extent numbers.
    What is the difference between area and extent?Where are the volume numbers?
    Who is determined enough to go and find out for themselves rather than embrace the soothing overtones of a "respectable" media outlet?

    Funny how observations over many years can form a downward trend that can be sunddenly turned into an upward trend ("recovery" implies a trend) because of a single observation in that direction - I guess this shouldn't be surprising since it happens all the time, but it still makes me shake my head.

  2. Below gif image (from the second link Ugo provided), is really good :

  3. YvesT,
    Thanks for pointing that out - a very good graphic!

  4. This is very funny, just a pity they got the 60% right, otherwise it would be a complete joke. I believe the relative success of the article is due to its jocosity, not to its accuracy. The news of last year's historical minimum got way more media attention than this year's break with the recent trend.

    1. Actually I don't think the 60% is right. It looks to be closer to 45%.

    2. If there is no ice one year, and a little bit the next, the title might be "infinite recovery this year" !! :)

  5. Well, my Guardian post debunking the Mail piece is starting to approach 100,000 views, so at least that's some good news.