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Making Sense of Weather Forecasters at the White House

May 12, 2014

The President of the United States spent a day recently doing interviews at the White House with local and national weather forecasters.

It wasn't about getting a consensus on the weather forecast for Washington, D.C.

No, the President wanted to talk about a new climate change report.

And talking about it with weather forecasters could be seen as "kind of genius," said Kelly McBride of the Poynter Institute's "Sense-Making Project."

"He's (President Barack Obama) really targeting a broad swath of the American public and he's getting to them through their weathermen," McBride explained. "TV is the number one source of news for Americans - just by a smidge. Most Americans go to television and then the internet, right behind television. And when they go to television, they're going for one big reason - weather news. So they may not trust the weather forecaster on climate change, but they certainly trust them about whether or not it's going to rain today."

But not all meteorologists agree on climate change science.

"The American Meteorological Society actually mirrors the Republican Party. Only about 52 percent of them believe it's a real thing," said McBride. "So if Obama can convince even just a handful of them to take the science more seriously, he could make headway in public policy."