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Monday, December 19, 2005

Mainstream Media's 10 Biggest Myths of 2005

Ever wonder what are the most often repeated myths among mainstream media journalists? The Media Research Center's Free Market Project has helpfully documented the 10 most frequent myths reported by mainstream media outlets during 2005.

For example, consider the Free Market Project's myth number eight, which holds that U.S. rejection of the Kyoto treaty is the root reason why global warming is on the rise and warmer oceans are spawning deadlier hurricanes than ever.

True or False? Here's the Free Market Project's explanation of why this is a myth:

"ABC's Bill Weir summed up that network's take on the 2005 hurricane season after his September 16 "Good Morning America" piece about Hurricane Ophelia: 'Scientists have long warned that global warming could make hurricanes increasingly destructive. They couldn’t prove it until now.'
“'CBS Evening News' reporter Jim Acosta ominously introduced his November 29 report: 'The experts have spoken, this hurricane season will go down as the biggest, baddest, deadliest, and costliest of all time.'
"Tell the Truth: Global warming is not causing stronger hurricanes. Scientists, including the hurricane experts at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, have said it many times, yet broadcasters continued to suggest a connection.
"The New York Times reported the facts in Kenneth Chang’s Aug. 30, 2005, article: 'Because hurricanes form over warm ocean water, it is easy to assume that the recent rise in their number and ferocity is because of global warming. But that is not the case, scientists say. Instead, the severity of hurricane seasons changes with cycles of temperatures of several decades in the Atlantic Ocean.'
"And claims that this was the 'deadliest' season on record were far off base. According to NOAA, past hurricanes have killed more than 8,000 people in the United States and possibly more than 20,000 in the eastern Caribbean. Although the death toll for Hurricane Katrina stands at the tragic number of more than 1,000, it is false to say 2005 was the 'deadliest' season."

You can check out the original broadcasts for this myth at Audio Video. And you can read the other nine myths here.