Recently, a picture of arctic dogs running across what appears to be a sea of melted snow in Greenland circulated in the news. It was taken as absolute proof of how humans are changing the climate and melting the glaciers. There is only one problem with this story: It was fake news.
Only a few days later, another picture from the same site surfaced, showing nearly the same scenery and the same melted sea of water, except that the image was from 1984. It turns out that this type of snow melting occurs every summer in Greenland. It is not a sign of global warming, and it tells us nothing about human influences on the climate.
But visual persuasion is often far more powerful than arguments. That is the truth behind the trope that a picture tells a thousand words.
The mainstream media used to be a source of news, but it has increasingly become a tool of manipulation. Using images rather than facts, they push agendas rather than news. It can be found in all areas, but plays an even more significant role in climate alarmism, because science is hard to communicate.
The most iconic image of global warming is the hockey stick chart published in 1999, and heavily exploited and promoted by the IPCC in its Third Assessment Report to promote alarm. It worked. The graph, created by junk science, tricked an entire world into believing that humanity was destroying the planet with a Satanic gas.
Periodically, the media shows pictures of large icebergs breaking off from the Antarctic continent. It is a natural event that has occurred for as long as there has been ice in Antarctica, but the media uses the image of calving icebergs to visually persuade you that driving cars and eating meat is immoral.
In 2017, an image of a starving polar bear circulated in the media, and National Geographic blamed the tragedy on the greenhouse effect. In 2018, they had to retract the story as fake news, but who remembers that? The image of the skeleton-thin animal is the only memory that remains.
Visual information is vital, but sometimes a picture lies more than a thousand truths.