4-Quadrant Model

Are you a knuckle-dragging “climate denier” caveman? If you don’t fully agree with the narrative of the news media, that’s who you are. According to the mainstream press you can only be a caveman “denier” or an angel willing to spend countless trillions of tax dollars in a quest to save the planet from catastrophic man-caused climate change. There is no middle ground. Of course, this false binary choice is absurd. We explain how the news media shapes public opinion on climate change by borrowing a model created by mathematician Eric Weinstein.

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On the issue of climate change, are you a knuckle-dragging Caveman or an Angel? In the current media narrative these are the only options. You must be one or the other.

An angel is anyone who believes humans are causing a climate crisis through the burning of fossil fuels and is in favor of spending countless trillions of dollars to heroically save the planet. A caveman… more commonly referred to as a “climate denier,” is anyone who disagrees with the angels… even by a little bit. Of course, this is a ridiculous proposition.

It’s what’s known as a false binary choice where all reasonable middle ground is removed. To see how this is happening, let’s consider mathematician Eric Weinstein’s 4-Quadrant Model on media behavior. I have simplified it somewhat.

In Weinstein’s model, a vertical axis represents moral virtue. Angels at the top, Cavemen at the bottom. On the horizontal axis is support for a public policy initiative. With climate change, people on the far right are in favor of using government force to rapidly phase out fossil fuels in favor of industrial wind, solar, electric vehicles and the like, no matter the cost. On the far left are people who believe these “solutions” come with their own negative consequences and government coercion is a bad idea.

And what about the people who fall somewhere between the extremes? They are ignored.

So now let’s consider the four quadrants. The top left box is where the contrarians live. They are smart, caring people who simply have a different opinion on climate policy. The cavemen are on the bottom left. They are bad people who just don’t care. The bottom right is where we find rent seekers. These are opportunists who just want to use the new policy to advance their selfish interests. In the top right corner is the domain of the angels. The care and they want the new policy because they care so much.

But wait a minute. The media narrative is a false “binary,” offering only two choices, not four. That’s right. And this is where it gets interesting.

The news media’s business model thrives on anger and fear. The media needs two extremes to oppose one another, therefore two of the four quadrants must be eliminated. Here’s how it’s done.

The contrarians, people who point out such realities as the flaws in climate modeling, the shortcomings of wind, solar, and electric vehicles and the impossibility of transitioning away from fossil fuels anytime soon, must be muzzled. So, the media attacks the contrarians’ motivations and integrities and moves them to the caveman, or denier quadrant.

On the bottom right quadrant are the rent-seeking opportunists. They support policies of taxpayer subsidies for wind, solar, EVs, ethanol, building upgrades and mass electrification, because they are making a lot of money off these subsidies. And, of course, this is where many politicians and anti-fossil fuel activists cash in on their opportunity as well.

This doesn’t fit the media narrative, so the self-interested opportunists are reclassified as angels who are simply trying to save the world. And now… we have our false binary. The contrarians and rent-seeking opportunists are eliminated and all that’s left are Cavemen and Angels… two extreme positions that fulfill the media’s desire for revenue-generating conflict.

What do you think? Does it make sense that opinions on climate change only fit into two extreme positions? Or does it make more sense that a biased, agenda-driven news media is selling you a false binary choice that fits their fear and anger-based business model?

For the Clear Energy Alliance, I’m Mark Mathis. Power On.

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