Polar bears and the Arctic: Still targets of misinformation

Gerald Machnee

Today, we are living in an era of rapidly increasing science and information. In spite of all this technology, politicians and media talk about “fake news” and truth in news, but they somehow have forgotten to implement their principles.

A recent example is an article in Canadian Geographic entitled “Saving the Oceans” in the Jan-Feb 2020 issue.

After reading the article, I was amazed at the inaccuracies being printed, so I sent the following note to Canadian Geographic to which I did not receive a reply or acknowledgement:

“I am more than a little disappointed by this article by Paul Nicklen which you called “Saving the Oceans” on the front page. You do not save anything by providing misinformation. If I remember correctly, Paul Nicklen and Cristina Mittermeier used a photo of a sick polar bear to fake starving bears. This was picked up by the gullible media which soon after had to apologize for this “fake news”. 

In the Jan-Feb 2020 issue, on page 37, Paul continues his misinformation with the following: **Polar regions are fragile landscapes, and sea ice is melting at a rate far faster than scientists originally predicted. Collectively, it is still possible to reverse the dire circumstances that are causing polar bears to starve, the displacement of the now-vulnerable walrus and the diminishing annual sea ice extent from the punishing rays of the sun, which accelerate the melting process so rapidly that the ecosystem is literally melting before our eyes.** 

The Polar Bears are NOT starving. The Arctic summer ice has NOT changed in the last 10 years. 

You are giving too much publicity to misinformed authors.”

Most of the media continue to post or broadcast misinformation about the polar bears. Their numbers increased from about 5,000 in the 1950s to 25,000 or more at the present time during an era that some scientists consider a period of “global warming”. For over 10 years we have been subject to the theory that “declining ice in Hudson Bay will cause polar bears to decrease or disappear”. None of this has happened. Note that the polar bears went onto the ice in the fall earlier than average the last three years.

Dr. Susan Crockford has written a book entitled, The Polar Bear Catastrophe That Never Happened. She also has a weblog, polarbearscience.com, that gives accurate up to date information on the status of the Polar Bears.

In 2014 in an unusual divergence form the usual theme, the CBC actually gave a fairly balanced documentary on the polar bears. They interviewed biologist Mitchell Taylor about the polar bears. Taylor was once banned from attending a conference for his honest statements on the bears.

I believe that the public has to take a greater interest in verifying and questioning the stories being reported by the media on nature and climate. We have to ask the questions that are not being asked and demand documentation when unfounded claims are made.

I have been following these topics for over half a century and the quality of reporting has not improved.

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