Last week’s issue of Nature has a review of a recent Michael Crichton book (dismissed as “Viagra for climate sceptics”) which contains an interesting claim about the reaction to the movie The Day After Tomorrow:
Surveys of public opinion conducted before and after the film was released found that it made people think climate change is less likely
Apparently its obvious lack of realism caused people to associate the more respectable claims about global warming with Hollywood escapism.
I wonder if this is the tip of a much larger iceberg. It seems to me that a wide variety of political movements tend to promote the most alarmist versions of their ideas in order to get respect and/or money from their strongest supporters. I don’t find it hard to imagine that it is common for activist groups to hurt the causes they claim to be fighting for by sounding unrealistic to swing voters.