This edition of Yale Climate Connections’ “This Is Not Cool” video explores the “disinformation ecosystem” in and beyond the issue of global climate change.
“How did we get here?” independent videographer Peter Sinclair asks rhetorically at the start of the video. He points to Americans seeming to routinely disagree not solely on priorities, but also on “a fundamental universe of facts.”
The video explores four decades of rhetoric from fossil fuel interests and political activists “undermining belief in science and fact.” It probes similar public relations efforts over the years involving health effects of smoking and “anti-vaccine theories.” At one point the video displays a poignant clip from the once-popular weekly “Mary Tyler Moore” TV program involving cigarettes. The video also illustrates how some TV personalities have routinely dismissed climate change science as a “hoax” or “scam” and pointing to scientists’ allegedly helped to create a “phony crisis.”
The video includes interviews with several different reporters, one, John Schwartz from the New York Times, dismissing efforts by some to “create their own reality.” Another points out that comparable efforts were under way well before President Trump took office, and still another points to social media algorithms fostering the spread of misinformation.
Schwartz refers to a continued desire by some to “pick and choose information” as they would select food from a smorgasbord, allowing individuals to “choose your own reality.”