This morning I appeared on the nation's number-one-rated morning show, Fox and Friends. Afterwards I tweeted out a few things that have garnered some attention, including this:
Fox & Friends producer wanted to talk about future trends. I said #1 will be impacts of climate change. I was told to pick something else.
Michael Moyer (@mmoyr) April 30, 2014
Let me provide a fuller account:
Two days ago a producer for Fox & Friends contacted Scientific American's media person about doing a segment along the lines of "Crystal ball: What will science and technology bring over the next 50 years?" Apparently they had seen the recent Pew poll about whether Americans believed that far-out technologies such as teleporters were going to exist by the year 2064. The show wanted someone to come on and give some TRUE/FALSE verdicts.
I agreed to do the spot, but I said that it's a fool's game to guess at what technologies are going to exist in a half-century. Instead I could do a "trends for the future" in science. They said OK. A 50-year-timescale is pretty far out. About the only interesting thing that the scientific community is sure will happen in the next 50 years is that climate change is going to get worse, and that we're going to have to deal with the impacts. So I put that as one of my talking points.
I understood that there was little chance the topic would make it into the show, but I'm not going to self-censor myself from the get-go. I also included as talking points some topics that we have recently covered in the magazine: robot drivers, gene therapy and rocket technology. The Fox producer came back and very politely and matter-of-factly said that we would have to replace the climate change item.* So I included a talking point about how we were poised to soon discover more Earth-like planets. This all happened yesterday, well in advance of my appearance on the show.
To be honest I'm surprised this is garnering as much interest as it seems to be. A recent study examined the accuracy of cable news programs regarding climate science. The study concluded that "in general, Fox hosts and guests were more likely than those of other networks to disparage the study of climate science and criticize scientists." We all understand that Fox comes with a political point of view, one which has served them well in the ratings hunt.
I did go on the show to discuss the other topics, because they are genuinely interesting and I love to share cool science with whomever will listen. I thought the segment itself went well. Unfortunately Fox appears to have removed the video from its website.
UPDATE: The website The Raw Story has a copy of the video, in case you're interested.
UPDATE 2: The specific language used was "can we replace the climate change with something else?"