A Conservative Group Is Airing TV Ads Just for Trump to Get Him to Act on Climate Change
It’s all about the target audience.
Climate change isn’t a partisan issue. It affects all life on Earth, regardless of political party.
Studies show that 97% of climate scientists agree the Earth’s climate is warming and human activity is causing it.
And to make sure that truth gets to the highest levels of government, the conservative group Partnership for Responsible Growth is releasing a series of advertisements that are meant to inspire US President Donald Trump to act on climate change. And they’re being strategically placed for the commander-in-chief to see.
The ads will run for the next five weeks in Washington, D.C., on Fox News, CNN and MSNBC — three of Trump’s favorite news outlets.
The first ad asks the viewer what would happen if 97% of experts in other professions agreed on a single course of action.
“If 97% of all airline workers told you not to get on a plane, you wouldn’t,” the ad opines. “So when 97% of the world’s climate experts tell you the Earth is warming and we’re responsible, why would you ignore them?”
Along with actor portrayals of these hypothetical situations, the ad shows the effects of climate change, like melting icebergs, forest fires, extreme storms, and floods, juxtaposed with bumper-to-bumper traffic and smokestacks that contribute to such extreme weather events.
A different ad shows, presumably, a father and son fishing. The ad starts with close-up shots of the fathering tying on a fish hook and casting his line out into the water, before the camera pulls back to reveal the boat is in a flooded town, its residents seeking refuge atop buildings.
By targeting Fox News, CNN, and MSNBC specifically, the conservative group hopes to deliver its message straight to the president’s television, the Verge reports.
Considering the amount of time Trump is said to spend watching cable news, the strategy could work.
“What is new is the degree to which the president is so greatly influenced by media and a specific few television shows and print outlets,” a Republican strategist told Politico. “It ups the ante in terms of getting your message into outlets he’s watching.”
In addition to reaching Trump, and all those who watch these stations, the ads are meant to challenge how news agencies cover the “climate change debate,” according to the Verge.
Journalistic integrity calls for opposing sides of an issue to receive equal air time. With climate change, however, this approach is counter-intuitive because, at 97% to 3%, the issue isn’t a discussion. A one-on-one debate doesn’t reflect the overwhelming consensus that climate change is real and man-made.
Scientist and TV host Bill Nye raised this point on CNN while debating climate change with William Happer, a Princeton professor and climate change denier, prior to the March for Science in Washington, DC:
“Much as I love CNN, you’re doing a disservice by having one climate change skeptic and not 97 or 98 scientists or engineers concerned about climate change,” Nye told the anchors of “New Day.”
Nye’s proposal would provide a more accurate visual representation as to the where the scientific community stands on climate change. By taking part in the traditional pundit face-off, CNN inaccurately portrayed the policy debate around the issue. The ad series aims to rectify that misrepresentation.
The Partnership for Responsible Growth supports a, “free market solution to climate change,” which includes a carbon tax, the Verge reports.
They have their work cut out for them. Trump has tweeted he would never support such a tax. Furthermore, 30% of US adults believe global warming isn’t happening, and 47% believe global warming is not caused by human activity.
Addressing climate change will require working across the aisle, but the will is there and solutions exist. Changing the method by which the message is delivered could be an effective first step – it just needs to reach the right set of eyes.