WGOP seeks “opposing views” on climate change

So, WCAX-TV has this daily interview program called “The :30.” A couple weeks ago, noted Vermont climatologist Alan Betts was scheduled as a guest to talk about his work on climate change and its implications for Vermont.

Emphasis on “was.”

From Paul “The Huntsman” Heintz at Seven Days…

…just hours before Betts was slated to appear, [WCAX producer Alexei] Rubenstein canceled. In an email, the producer explained that station “higher ups” had spiked the interview due to a lack of “opposing views.” In a separate phone call, Betts says, Rubenstein “said it’s because management is afraid of the hostile reactions they get.”

Profiles In Courage, Republican broadcaster style.

Former GOP functionary and current WCAX news director Anson Tebbetts had a different explanation:

“We were overwhelmed with material yesterday and wanted to do something more thoughtful and have a bigger discussion with those involved,” he says.

… Tebbetts says the station wasn’t necessarily looking to match Betts with a climate change denier. Rather, he’d like his audience to hear from representatives of the sugar and ski industries, and others affected by climate change.

Nope, sorry. Not buying it.

Rubenstein specifically said the cancellation was due to a lack of “opposing views.” (“Bob Hartwell, please pick up the fire-engine red courtesy phone.”) The sugar and ski industries would be “complementary,” not “opposing” views. In fact, I daresay those two industries are well aware of climate change and its existential threat to their businesses.

And even if Tebbetts is telling the truth — as opposed to frantically trying to cover his own ass — he’s missing the point. “Balance” and “context” isn’t something required of each and every single program or segment. It’s something to be achieved in the complete context of a media outlet’s work. You don’t have a Democrat on the air every time you have a Republican, and vice versa; but over time, you try to achieve some kind of balance.

As Heintz reports, “Betts was shocked” by the cancellation. He’s been studying climate change for three decades and given numerous talks and written commentaries around Vermont, and:

Never once, he says, has a news outlet demanded an “alternative viewpoint” to a phenomenon almost universally agreed upon by mainstream scientists.

Yeah, well, Mr. Betts, meet WCAX-TV, traditional supporter of conservative causes.  

3 thoughts on “WGOP seeks “opposing views” on climate change

  1. “he’d like his audience to hear from representatives of the sugar and ski industries, and others affected by climate change.”

    And that right there is why Tebbetts is the News Director: He can think up excuses to cover for the owner’s meddling in news reporting really quickly!

  2. Why didn’t they just ask Bob Hartwell to fill the “doubter’s” chair?!!

    Is it my imagination or do I hear the 20th century calling for them to return to the Way-Back Machine?

  3. rides again! There should be no question if there ever was as to the veracity of one brave blogger, namely Peter Freyne, for the calling out of WCAX as the completely partisan rightwing VT news bastion they are.

    If their antics were sincere, they could have gone as scheduled & allowed another viewpoint to be scheduled for the next episode using the format of “part 2” of the debate. But that’s not the point at all. It’s silencing the opposition & nothing more. Barring a redo of this unfortunate incident, looks like the small minority of ALEC-sponsored faux “environmentalists” & the other Nimbys rule the day.

    Totally apropos “nickname” of WGOP for WCAX is well deserved & well-earned by continuing the tradition of pandering solely to their base which includes, well, other rightwingers.

    If they get “complaints” it’s b/c they aren’t following the dictates & directives of owner & corporate overlords as only little dictators get tighty-whities in a knot re the presence of a differing opinion.

    Once again proving that if they are “VT’s most trusted news source”, the trusters are none other than the completely clueless & entirely gullible public.  

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