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Published on: March 3, 2010
Treason Is A Matter Of Dates

This observation, famously made by Talleyrand at the Congress of Vienna as the powers debated the fate of the turncoat King of Saxony, reminded the crowned heads of Europe that all of them had at one time or another worked with Napoleon.  Talleyrand himself had served the emperor as foreign minister and trusted ally before […]

This observation, famously made by Talleyrand at the Congress of Vienna as the powers debated the fate of the turncoat King of Saxony, reminded the crowned heads of Europe that all of them had at one time or another worked with Napoleon.  Talleyrand himself had served the emperor as foreign minister and trusted ally before switching to the other side as Napoleon’s power waned — and his megalomania grew.

These days, it’s The New York Times that is redefining treason.  Three weeks ago, anyone who pointed at the lack of public confidence in climate science was aiding and abetting those horrible climate ‘deniers.’  Treason against Planet Earth! You had to be some kind of dread ‘right wing blogger’ or talk radio host to point out that blunders and arrogance had undermined the credibility of climate scientists and ended any short term chance of serious global agreement on urgent measures to stop global warming.

But a story this morning by John Broder gently lets Times readers know that something has gone badly wrong.

WASHINGTON — For months, climate scientists have taken a vicious beating in the media and on the Internet, accused of hiding data, covering up errors and suppressing alternate views. Their response until now has been largely to assert the legitimacy of the vast body of climate science and to mock their critics as cranks and know-nothings.

But the volume of criticism and the depth of doubt have only grown, and many scientists now realize they are facing a crisis of public confidence and have to fight back. Tentatively and grudgingly, they are beginning to engage their critics, admit mistakes, open up their data and reshape the way they conduct their work.

Admit mistakes?  Open up their data?  Change the way the work?  You mean there was something wrong with the way climate science was operating last year?  Is the Times telling us that the climate scientists–on the basis of whose work the whole world is debating complex and far-reaching changes in its economic structure and political governance–were using slipshod and careless procedures that need to be fixed?

Gosh, one has to ask, if these terrible things were going on for such a long time, why didn’t the New York Times notice this earlier on?  Why didn’t the New York Times break this important story back when it was news, rather than lamely sweeping up at the end of the parade?  Could it be that a climate of politically-correct group-think inhibited the editors and reporters at the country’s newspaper of record from recognizing a one of the major stories of the decade? Could the environmental writers at the Times be just a teensy bit too close to their sources?

Gore

The Times seems to have forgotten the most important aspect of the news business.  For years now ‘skeptic’ has been a dirty word at the Times when the subject of climate change comes up.  Excuse me, but reporters are supposed to be skeptics.  They are supposed to be cynical, hard bitten people who trust their mothers — but cut the cards.  They are supposed to think that scientists are probably too much in love with their data, that issue advocates have hidden agendas, that high-toned rhetoric is often a cover for naked self interest, that bloviating politicians have cynical motives and that heroes, even Nobel Prize laureates, have feet of clay.  That is their job; it is why we respect them and why we pay attention to what they write.

Reporters are not supposed to be wide-eyed gee-whiz college kids believing everything they hear and using the news columns of the paper to promote a social agenda. They are wet blankets, not cheerleaders, Eeyores, not Piglets and they can safely leave all the advocacy and flag-waving to the editorial writers and the op-ed pages.

This is not just a question of liberal bias.  The same wide-eyed gee-whiz culture shaped much of the reporting on the run-up to the Iraq War.  Maybe the word we are looking for when trying to describe what’s wrong with the mainstream press isn’t ‘liberal’ — maybe the term is something like ‘credulous’ or ‘naive.’  The gradual substitution of ‘professional journalists’ for the old hard boiled hacks may have given us a generation of journalists who are used to trusting reputable authority.  They honestly think that people with good credentials and good manners don’t lie.

Today’s journalists are much too well-bred and well-connected to stand there in the crowd shouting “The emperor has no clothes!”  They’ve worked with the tailors, they have had long background interviews with the tailors, they’ve been present for some of the fittings.  Of course the emperor’s new clothes are fantastic; only those rude and uncouth ‘clothing deniers’ still have any doubts.

Meanwhile, over on the aforementioned op-ed pages, our old friend Al Gore is still crying a river of denial, blaming everyone but himself for the abject failure of the world to accept his views without checking the facts for themselves.  If the New York Times and its peers had come at this story with more skepticism and rigor from the beginning, climate scientists would have realized long ago that if they hope to convince a skeptical world they need to be ultra-careful, ultra-cautious and even ultra-conservative in their public statements and recommendations.  They would have understood long ago that because their science is important, they have to do it more carefully and more publicly than other people. That may be harsh and it may be ‘unfair’ in some sense, but when you are dealing with the interests of billions of people you have to expect a little bit of scrutiny — though not, apparently, from the New York Times.

The very idea that critics would have to use the Freedom of Information Act to pry back-up data from a scientist on a matter of great public importance is insane.   That data should have been out there years ago, without anyone having to ask.  If it’s considered ‘normal’ in climate science for researchers to keep their raw data under lock and key, and refuse to subject it to skeptical and hostile review, then climate science isn’t science.

The Times and its peers in the mainstream press need to ask themselves why something this obvious, this important, this newsworthy passed them by.  If they don’t figure that out and make some wrenching changes, they will continue to watch helplessly as their credibility and readership inexorably shrink.

The meltdown that worries me most in this whole dismal story isn’t the meltdown of the Himalayan glaciers.  It’s the evident meltdown of basic journalistic standards among a whole generation of reporters and editors that keeps me up late at night; I don’t just worry about what they missed on this story, or on the Iraq story–I wonder what else they are missing every day.   

John Broder’s story this morning is good as far as it goes, but it looks more and more as if our greatest newspaper has been so wholly conquered by the spirit of enlightened upper-middle-class progressivism that it has lost the ability to view its own assumptions with the necessary skepticism.  That is terrible news; the world is changing rapidly in ways that simply don’t fit the thought templates that upper-middle-class baby boomers developed over the last twenty years.  Increasingly, the mental map that shapes the way the Times looks at the world simply fails to match what is happening out there, yet the Times seems less able than ever to see that.

Before you can report an inconvenient truth you have to be able to recognize it; this is the test that the Times‘ coverage of the ‘climategate’ story has failed.

show comments
  • peter38a

    Mr. Mead,

    This post is completely off topic but I don’t see any other way to communicate with you personally.

    It occurred to me the other day that history, all that I’ve been taught anyway, has always been rendered as… “and then this happened… and then this happened.” But it seems to me that a superior way would be to cite the ongoing and recurring problems, century after century, that all societies always have to face in common and the different ways that societies have responded to these problem(s). This would give a great deal more continuity as you moved along the time track. Further, history would be much more relevant as I believe there are only a finite group of said problems and solutions, only are they packaged differently each century. It would also allow different “solutions” to be compared disregarding geography and time and “why’s” (good or bad) would leap to the forefront much more easily. For example the mission of a government is to protect the people from assault originating from outside and from within. Further, its job is to protect the value of the currency. But that is only a part of what I am asking, what I would like is a global view of all missions.

    I bring this to your forum in that you have an incisive grasp of a broad range of topics. Would it interest you to present your view of what these problem/solutions might be? (If you did I’d read it with great interest and I’d be your best friend) Or can you steer me to a book that might address this topic, although I’ve read many a history book and never seen an approach as I describe.

  • http://BornAgainDemocrats.com Luke Lea

    Well, I guess maybe you should continue writing about climate science. You do it so well.

    Speaking of naiveté, did you see the New Yorker profile of Paul Krugman.

  • Pingback: Instapundit » Blog Archive » OKAY, OKAY, EVERYBODY’S RAGGING ON ME about Al Gore’s dumb honorary degree from UT. Sorry, but the …()

  • Canard

    There are just layers and layers of irony to the New York Times offering advice to the climate scientists to own up to their bad science, whey they themselves participated in in hiding that bad science, and attacked those who tried to speak out.

    If they were real journalists, they would have been breaking the news in the first place.

  • Igor Dabik

    This “spirit of enlightened upper-middle-class progressivism” is not isolated to journalism. It has taken policymakers and public servants by a storm. This is increasingly evident from the perspective of other countries. I have noticed that “old-school heavyweight” policymakers of other countries have played on this chord of American political sentiment and have gotten much accomplished respective to their domestic agendas and interests.

    Case-in-point, look at Karzai government. A nation isn’t complete or competent in the conduct of foreign policy simply with a soft hand to extend to friends, and a clenched fist to out punch adversaries. A firm backhand often goes a long way in providing nuance, by reminding countries and local actors of what their priorities need to be.

  • Ron Moses

    “These days, it’s The New York Times that is redefining treason. Three weeks ago, anyone who pointed at the lack of public confidence in climate science was aiding and abetting those horrible climate ‘deniers.’”

    Readers like me would be much more likely to forward your article on to others if statements like these were backed up with supporting links. I’m just sayin’.

    But apart from that, I quite enjoyed, and in large part agreed with, your article.

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  • Paul in NJ

    For those who may doubt the assertion that the NY Times willingly participated in smearing skeptics as “climate deniers,” a trivial Google search reveals:

    Results 1 – 100 of about 1,740 from nytimes.com for “climate deniers”

    As the author notes, this goes way, WAY beyond climate science. The media are squandering their credibility; if they can’t be bothered to actually do journalism, why should they be trusted on any issue?

  • http://n.a. Adam Garfinkle

    One can call journalists these days lots of things. Most journalists most of the time deserve most of the adjectives, too. But the ones that strikes me as most important are “lazy” and “risk-averse.” It takes less time time to think about issues and learn about them than it does to repeat popular biases. So the stories are invariably about who’s up and who’s down, nearly never about the substance of an issue.

    Now, these days, it is not just the journalists who are the problem. The editors know that the business-model of print journalism has fallen down the well, and we’ve yet to hear it hit bottom. So it doesn’t pay, literally, to put a lot of effort into actual reporting, when banging on the emotional chimes of readers will work better. So even if a young enterprising reporter wants to investigate a situation, or stir up some useful muck, or buck a bias, he or she is much of the time going to be frustrated in trying to do so. The press is a mess, and it’s a serious problem. That’s one reason THE AMERICAN INTEREST magazine exists. The climate change issue is just one of dozens on which the press has failed us. Where were the business page reporters, for example, before 2008? Cheering on the madness, with a few noteworthy exceptions. You have not discovered an exception with climategate, Walter, you’ve hit upon the rule.

    Let me leave you with my favorite remark about the press, from Tom Stoppard: “The press is a stalking horse masquerading as a sacred cow.” You gotta love it.

  • Speedy

    Congratulations, you have lifted one corner of a huge rock and revealed the worms and vermin that live beneath.
    For years the MSM has produced conventional wisdom and has rarely looked behind the provenance of some of their most important stories. It’s no wonder that informed people read the MSM with a harshly critical eye and travel the web for verification and critical review. Unfortunately TV and radio journalism are no different. We have more information and are less knowledgeable about current affairs than previous generations because of the failure of the 4th estate to do their job.

  • http://chrisbolts.wordpress.com Chris Bolts Sr.

    “Enlightened progressivism” has since moved from the policy arena into the religious sphere. The signs that global warming was a farce was there in the biggest way possible: how is it that a phenomenon can cause so many bad things that were happening well before “global warming” appeared on the scene? How did hurricanes suddenly become proof of global warming? How did famines in Africa start to be attributed to global warming when we knew that Africans were starving for many years? How is it possible that if the globe is warming, ice in the Himalayans and the Antarctic the ocean waters would simultaneously recede? If all water flows outward towards the ocean, wouldn’t melting ice mean increased water levels? I’m not saying any of these questions are right or wrong, but asking questions is supposed to be the job of the media.

    The fact that so many reporters bought the group think talking point of the decade is not what is sad. What is sad is that we may have set back our development for generations because we were focusing on the wrong thing. Indeed, what I told my former global warming zealot friend in Taiwan (I told him about Climategate and he changed his mind) is that while we were chasing theories about global warming, we were potentially forgetting to look at seismic activity. In the past three months we have had over eight earthquakes. Wouldn’t it have been more important for seismologists, physicists and other scientists to be investigating that as opposed to trying to prove whether mankind can influence the weather? Hindsight is 20/20, but in this instance I think many people are going to start asking why our brightest minds got caught up in chasing the white whale instead of concentrating on the glacier that’s in front of us.

  • PD Quig

    Fabulous piece, but I credit liberal bias more than you do. I believe this generation of ‘journalists’ are credulous only to the extent that it serves their quest to change the world to suit their political predilictions. They are anything but naive when a story runs counter narrative–vis the rabidly anti-Palin phenomenon. I grew up among these people, graduated from Berkeley with them in the early 1970’s. Do not forgive them, for they know what they do.

  • http://www.daylightresearch.com Steve

    The global waming people gave up trying to persuade the people a long time ago. Their idea is to get control and worry about the details later. The people who run the NYT are in this group. They are not naive and they are not journalists.

    @peter38a: google: Eric Voegelin. If you become intrigued, be warned that his writing is extremely dense. But worth the effort.

  • Diane

    It’s always tempting to look at the “good old days” through rose colored glasses. But those hard-boiled reporters of yesteryear weren’t without their warts. They may have identified with/had more in common with the unwashed masses than the elites they reported on, but they were far more prone to being bought off in the old-fashioned way, or silenced by a publisher with a political agenda (Citizen Kane, anyone?) Today’s professional journalists may be credulous because they are cut from the same cloth as elites, but they are also less likely to take bribes, sell their souls or accept censorship from anyone! Credulous, yes, but probably far less corruptible. For what it’s worth, that’s a good thing.

  • RNB

    To cite an example of journalistic group-think at the NYT removed from both politics and climate science, I would like to point to the Times’s 2006 ‘scoop’ about stand-up ‘seating’ for airliners. It was an obviously implausible story, poorly-sourced, inadequately fact-checked — and it ended up on the front page of the Times! How did that happen? The (second) retraction written by the Times’s public editor (see below) gives a hint: the intellectual monoculture prevailing at all levels of the Times organization. Along with providing some interesting uses of the passive voice, Mr. Calame’s post-mortem tells us that no one at the Times could muster any skepticism about this fairy tale because they all agreed: Airlines are evil and actively seek out new ways to screw over their customers.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2006/05/21/opinion/21pubed.html?_r=1&oref=slogin

  • http://americandigest.org vanderleun

    “…our greatest newspaper …”

    Dear Mead,
    You must rouse yourself from this pastoral stupor. You must disenthrall yourself.

    Fear not. There is help available via NYeT Anon:

    New York Times Anonymous: The 12 Steps

    Study of these 12 Sacred Steps is essential to progress in New York Times Anon. The principles they embody are universal, applicable to everyone caught in its web of murder, insanity, death.

    In New York Times Anon (NYet Anon), we strive for an ever-deeper understanding of our addiction to NYeTimes’ Blather&Spew® and devote ourselves to ending it forever in our lives through a constant devotion to FoxNews’ Report&Deride® as we have come to understand it. We are always mindful that even one small sip of a Maureen Dowd column can lead to a life of despair and rapid intellectual bottoming out. Here then is our credo:

    1. We admitted we were powerless over The NY Times — that our reading lives had become unmanageable.
    2. Came to believe that a FoxNews greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity, truth, justice and the American Way.

    3. Made a decision to turn our New York Times subscription (and our lust to feel smarter than the guy next door who reads the Weekly World News) over to the care of FoxNews as we understood It, and to turn the cash over to RushLimbaugh.com in $5 increments.

    4. Made a searching moral inventory of Bill Keller, Maureen Dowd, Paul Krugman, Pinch and the other Pillsbury Doughboys® bobbing in the NYet Times Op-Ed hot tub. Having done so we did not forget to shower and rinse off.

    5. Admitted to FoxNews, to ourselves and to Freerepublic.com the exact nature of our misplaced credulity and lust after a front page review of our next book in the NYet Times Sunday Book Review.

    6. Were entirely ready to have FoxNews and our local proctologist remove all copies of the NY Times from our memory banks.

    7. Humbly asked Bill O’Reilly to remove our shortcomings. Got the last word.

    8. Made a list of all persons we had harmed by quoting the NY Times in arguments and blatherfests, and became willing to send them gift subscriptions to the National Review.

    9. Watched FoxNews wherever possible, except when to do so, such as overhearing a chance remark from Alan Colmes, would cause our teeth to burst into flames.

    10. Continued to guard against reading the NY Times, and when we slipped promptly watched FoxNews, and, as penance, listened to six continuous hours of Michael Savage savage the English language and tongue kiss his dog.

    11. Sought through seeking out Anne Coulter on eharmony.com to improve our conscious contact with FoxNews as we understood it, praying only for Geraldo to throw himself on an IED while on assignment in Bananastan.

    12. Having had a huge amount of spare time restored to our lives, especially on Sundays, as the result of not reading the NY Times, we tried to extend the blessings of our watching of FoxNews to others who were still addicted to the NY Times.

  • paulina

    There are layers and layers of irony, beyond the disinformation tipping point.

    Dear Walter:

    About the NYT, you write:

    “Three weeks ago, anyone who pointed at the lack of public confidence in climate science was aiding and abetting those horrible climate ‘deniers.’ Treason against Planet Earth! You had to be some kind of dread ‘right wing blogger’ or talk radio host to point out that blunders and arrogance had undermined the credibility of climate scientists and ended any short term chance of serious global agreement on urgent measures to stop global warming.”

    I find this curious.

    Have you not noticed that the NYT has been pushing the meme of “damage to public trust,” in conjunction with the CRU emails, since November last year? (And that, ironically, Dot Earth almost climaxed in its sensationalistic approach to this issue almost exactly three weeks ago?)

    Way back when (Nov. 29), the NYT managed to uncritically report on claims, made by people with no public opinion expertise, that “the public trust” in climate science had been damaged—long before any such damage could possibly have been detected (let alone attributed to any specific cause).

    Further, in a bout of vertigo-inducing irony, the emails themselves were alleged to have caused that damage (not, for instance, the misleading and in many, many cases frankly reprehensible media coverage of the incident).

    And this after the NYT had, from the start (Nov 21, A1!), suggested that the hacked materials could undermine the overall argument for a growing human contribution to warming: Revkin/NYT chose to claim that the materials were “unlikely to undermine the overall argument” clearly insinuating that *the emails* *could* undermine the overall argument. Yet such a possibility does not exist outside of fantasy, nonsense, or the wildest conspiracy theories.

    I don’t know how large the NYT’s share of responsibility is for shifting the media Overton window toward fantasy, nonsense, and conspiracy theories. The window almost seems smashed, shattered, with attempts at communication rendered meaningless. Perhaps the NYT’s role needs to be seen as somewhat small, next to the efforts of outright hate media? Some enterprising reporter could possibly seek out the relevant experts on media and public opinion and see what they have to say about the prospects of detecting and attributing damage. Is this another story the Times is missing?

    Either way, it’s clear that the NYT has made very serious errors about the CRU emails and gravely wronged people. In a story about alleged wrongs and the impact of these on public opinion, is it odd/ironic/noteworthy that the NYT isn’t at all interested in examining its own wrongdoing and its effects?

    Sure, the Public Editor was brought in pretty early on. More irony there. Consider for instance this from Clark Hoyt:

    ““The story behind that graph certainly didn’t show that global warming was a hoax or a fraud, as some skeptics proclaimed,” Tierney wrote, “but it did illustrate another of their arguments: that the evidence for global warming is not as unequivocal as many scientists claim.””

    No, it did not illustrate that.

    The IPCC AR4 states that the “warming of the climate system is unequivocal.” The story behind the graph has NO bearing on this claim.
    In fact, Tierney’s sentence is simply false and grossly misleading.

    Notice how Hoyt has Tierney saying that the story doesn’t “show” that global warming is a hoax or a fraud, a way of speaking that takes seriously the possibility that something *could* show this and bolsters this nonsense with a false claim saturated with innuendo.

    It would appear that the New York Times has tried to manufacture the impression that the emails SHOULD damage the public’s trust in climate science and climate scientists.

    Times reporters do seem overly involved with a very small group of researchers. Namely those interested in claiming that the emails or the scientists themselves (not the media’s misleading coverage!) have undermined public understanding.

    Another example. BTW, this one reminded me of what it’s like to be SO infatuated that you (mistakenly) see the object of your desire everywhere: a face in a crowd, on the subway, turning the corner half a block ahead of you on the sidewalk… You know? Between the vertigo and the obsession, the NYT sure does take you for a ride! John Broder recently had Penn State claiming that it will have a faculty panel determine, in conjunction with SwiftHack, whether a PSU scientist (whose emails were among those stolen) has “undermined public faith in the science of climate change.”

    Er, no. That’s not what the panel is tasked with, no matter how hot the NYT is–or pretends be–for this “information,” no matter how much Broder et al. see this “face” in the crowd. And anyway, who would ever be able to tease out the signal, if any, from this scientist’s emails in the noise of nonsense from the media? Yet Broder claims with a straight face that this is the panel’s task.

    If the NYT *really* wanted to begin to try to determine what the effects of the purloined materials are on public understanding of, and confidence in, climate science and climate scientists, the NYT would launch a multi-month campaign to correct the disinformation about these materials; the NYT would issue repeated, front-page apologies to the scientists in the CRU emails, climate scientists generally, and to the world at large. The NYT has done a monumental public disservice by suggesting that a bunch of emails possibly could undermine some of the most central claims of climate science, a suggestion that rests on fantasy. If the NYT wants to know the impact of the emails themselves on public understanding, there’s an awful lot of toothpaste that needs to go back in the tube.

    In the article you are commenting on (Mar 2 online; Mar. 3 in print), Broder managed to slip in the NYT’s central thesis once more: “Two universities are investigating the work of top climate scientists to determine whether they…have…undermined faith in science.” (No, it’s still not true. If Broder is talking about CRU and PSU, they are not performing the impossible public opinion research that Broder et al already, magically, claim to have the results from.)

    Broder then continued the NYT’s central thesis: the emails (not bad media coverage) have damaged public confidence in climate science:

    “…blah blah blah…over how to rebuild public confidence in their work after the damaging disclosures in hundreds of hacked e-mail messages…”

    Once again the emails themselves (or their disclosure) supposedly have done the damage. No mention of misleading, sensationalistic media coverage.

    To be sure, the NYT “has lost the ability to view its own assumptions with the necessary skepticism.”

    But you write that Broder’s story (Mar. 2) “is good as far as it goes.”

    Let’s consider just one more example.

    “The [CRU emails] correspondence appears to show efforts to limit publication of contrary opinion…”

    Contrary opinion? Broder writes as if scientists were opinion page editors. Was the situation instead the following, that scientists tried to limit publication of bad science or outright nonsense–something they are actually supposed to do as science journal editors and reviewers? (Yes.)

    I’m a very big fan of transparency (for instance, I’d love to see reporters ask politicians to back up their claims; love to see changes to bill versions highlighted with links to materials giving the reasons for the changes, and materials backing up the claims made in the reasons: free the data!), but the repeated calls for scientists, many of whom are already operating in ultra-transparent fashion, to release their data, as if they hadn’t already, are shrill, to say the least.

    And a comment like Broder’s–I mean, he *knows* (surely) that the scientists were not trying to suppress “contrary opinion”, yet he persists in writing that the emails appear to show this, as if this particular “appearance” (to whom did it appear this way, originally, by the way?) were some kind of mantra–and then he’s going to turn around and say that *the emails* have damaged public trust…?
    Seriously.

    If the NYT cared about informing its readers, the NYT could choose to provide the kind of context that clarifies, for instance, that reviewers who worry about shoddy journal standards are not on about limiting publication of “contrary opinion.”

    Apparently, that’s too much to ask.

    Finally, I couldn’t agree more with your concluding comments: “Increasingly, the mental map that shapes the way the Times looks at the world simply fails to match what is happening out there, yet the Times seems less able than ever to see that.

    …the evident meltdown of basic journalistic standards among a whole generation of reporters and editors…keeps me up late at night; I don’t just worry about what they missed on this story, or on the Iraq story–I wonder what else they are missing every day.”

  • W Krebs

    Two comments:

    1. Perhaps one might describe this phenomenon of the credulous journalist as “Woodstein’s revenge.” It’s hard to be calloused and cynical when you’re trying to be so high-minded.

    2. It would be easier for journalists to keep some perspective if they encountered a variety of opinions in the city room. The narrow social basis for big time journalists has inevitably led to group think.

  • Big E

    First of all to try to take the NYTimes coverage of global warming out of the realm of liberal bias and ascribe it to credulousness is hard for me to do. I think you’d agree that if a bunch of scientists came up with a theory whose effects could only be ameliorated by dismantling large segments of the government, lowering taxes and increasing mankinds footprint on the planet every reporter at the NYTimes would be skeptical. Real skeptical. In fact if the theory was supported by every scientist in the world and the only person against the theory was a lunatic who stood on streetcorners screaming at passersby the NYTimes would give the guy a column (I’m pretty sure that’s how they got Friedman) and probably make him the science editor.

    At best what was at work was willful credulousness. They wanted global warming to be true because they wanted to institute their pre-existing agenda under its cover and it’s probably easier to sleep at night if you just don’t ask any questions, that way you don’t have to psychologically deal with the fact you’re being dishonest. You take it on faith because whether its true or not you get what you want (more government and control over peoples lives, massive transfers of wealth to poor countries etc).

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  • sherlock

    The supposed media “gullibility” about the Iraq War is nothing but a fig-leaf over the fact that the media committed the terrible Demo-liberal sin of, for a moment there, taking the American side. Conveniently, it allows them to portray their erstwhile villiage-idiot, GWB, as simultaneously a Dr. Evil character that fooled them, just like he fooled all of you good people. They count on you not thinking that through too carefully.

    Like so much of what you read in the “professional” media, it is a self-serving lie.

  • Walter Sobchak

    Does Broder get it? Read the following from his article:

    “Some of the most serious allegations against Dr. Jones, director of the climate research unit at the University of East Anglia, and other researchers have been debunked, while several investigations are still under way to determine whether others hold up.”

    “Critics, citing several relatively minor errors in its most recent report and charges of conflict of interest against its leader, Rajendra K. Pachauri, are calling for the I.P.C.C. to be disbanded or radically reformed.”

    ==========

    debunked? minor errors?

    Are those the words of someone trying to cut a path out of the swamp?

    And Algore.Pathetic.

    “It is true that the climate panel published a flawed overestimate of the melting rate of debris-covered glaciers in the Himalayas, and used information about the Netherlands provided to it by the government, which was later found to be partly inaccurate. In addition, e-mail messages stolen from the University of East Anglia in Britain showed that scientists besieged by an onslaught of hostile, make-work demands from climate skeptics may not have adequately followed the requirements of the British freedom of information law.

    But the scientific enterprise will never be completely free of mistakes. What is important is that the overwhelming consensus on global warming remains unchanged. ”

    ===============

    Mistakes, I’ve made a few,
    but then again,
    too few to mention.

    Al — there are places in the Philipines where singing that song will earn you a beating.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2010/02/07/world/asia/07karaoke.html

    Be careful.

  • D Gross

    As Mr. Mead well knows, more than half of the articles in our newspapers each day are lightly-edited press releases and pre-packaged spin produced by think tanks, lobbyists, special interest groups and political offices. Editors by and large do not pay journalists to find news- instead the news comes pre-packaged directly to the editor. He/she merely chooses which articles to run, occasionally assigning a journalist to tweak it or add some background.

    An editor’s exposure to “news” will depend on the special interest groups relied on for daily copy.

    The fact is these lobbyists and special interests employ better writers and pay higher salaries than newspapers and have staff that actually know something about the issues and agendas they attempt to advance. Unfortunately they are also biased and conflicted- but it is not their fault when editors re-print their spin verbatim.

    There are still a few real journalists, but this is not material to the newspaper business these days.

  • Øystein L

    Gee, why haven’t climate scientist engaged the media before?

    Perhaps, and I’m going out on a limb here, it’s out of fear of encountering anyone like Mead, who deliveres this piece of crap with no proof. That’s what I said: without proof.

    I mean, c’mon! If it’s so obvious that the emperor has no clothes, point it out! Point to the evidence! Do your job!

    Ooooor… maybe, just maybe, Mead is naked.

  • http://realclearpolitics. ReConUSMC

    Lying is the new ” Tolerable “”if your Green , far left or in the media nor can it be treasonous .
    Trying to rob Americans pockets books over and unproven VAGUE NOTION to promote Radical Socialism and redistribution of wealth to me is Hang able .
    Sorta like only Whites can be racist.. right ?
    B/s !

  • Bill Wood

    Well, there’s only one real way to communicate to these intellectual clowns on the staff of the NYT that their particular brand of propagandizing doesn’t sell and isn’t in our best interests…cancel your subscription like I did & avoid paying for the hard copy in the news stands. In all, refuse to drink their koolaid.

  • JohnR22

    AGW is just the latest in a long series of issues that the Left leaning MSM has hyped. The main problem is too many journalists and editors don’t see their mission as reporting facts…but as promoting and advancing a particular social/political agenda. They use rank fear-mongering because it’s effective at scaring voters into voting a particular way, and also sells lots of copy. Just in the last generation we’ve had many scares that proved to be baseless. Let’s see, there was: (1) the homeless crisis in america (2) nuclear winter (3) the coming ice age (4) the ozone scare (5) heterosexual AIDS in america (6) the burning of black churches in the south. The list is almost endless and the story always ends in the same manner; trivial issues blown out of proportion by a Left wing MSM.

  • http://realclearpolitics. ReConUSMC

    Perhaps, and I’m going out on a limb here, it’s out of fear of encountering anyone like Mead, who deliveres this piece of crap with no proof. That’s what I said: without proof.
    by Øystein L –
    ******************************************************
    Proof is the countless lies to sell Global warming from England top green dirt bag , Al GORE , James Hanson of NASA , UN and 5 Colleges here lead by UPA.
    you made no mention of in the last 6 months .
    America is warming ….Lie coolest winter since 1932 and 11 years in a row have been cooler .
    The Himalayas are melting , Polar bears are dying The east west coast will be covered in Water ….. America will have many huge storms ……. All Lies

  • geezer117

    Climate science is a subset of environmental science, which itself is 99% political science.

    No science to see here. Move along.

  • Paul

    Print journalism has been dead for a few years now. The NYT is a joke. True journalzim is found on the internet. intelligent people will weigh correctly the value of what is found there, corroborate it with other stories and learn the truth. If the NYT and others spin the news to fit there political slant so be it. I for one don’t really care. The less-intelligent will be reading papers but intelligence is power so the less-intelligent will remain less powerfull.

  • Peter

    Good job, Mr.Mead. No, strike that. Great job.

    The man-made global hoax is finally being exposed. And as a result, it is dying, dying rathe ugly. This is what has lead so many of the hoax’s proponents to become unhinged. And let’s face it, for a lot of them, their pride, if not their very livelihoods are now in danger.

    As for the MSM, it credibility outside the world of the aging kool-aid drinkers has been shot years ago.

    Keep it up. Mr. Mead for as they say in the Middle East, “The dogs bark but the carvan moves on.”

  • Fred Hausladen

    As an exercise, try to be a real scientist. Find the percentage of the surface of the earth covered by water. Find the radius of the earth. Calculate the surface area of the earth. Do it again with a radius increased by 23 feet. Then you can work out the volume of water if the oceans rise by 23 feet. Where will this water come from? Only Al Gore knows!

  • Brian

    What is this “Ney York Times” you speak of? I’ve never hear of it.

  • http://rcp Dick Workman

    Real journalism at the NYT died long ago. Liberal spin to force feed those who still live in the 60″s. The hatred of GWB elected the current President and breathed new life into an old body. Liberalism, and the NYT promotion of it, is sliding into the history books as bad mistakes along with their dreams of the ultimate utopia. Liberalism has been unmasked, and what we now see is socialism, and America will surely reject socialism.

    As America has a new beginning with journalism, Fox News is the new King of news as they continue to chip away at networks who refuse to change. And the internet being the source for news that it is, continues to chip away at print media with many (such as myself) refusing to even read one story from the NYT. Voters continue to be better informed with these outlets, than any old journalism could possibly provide. We no longer need the liberal media to give us the talking points of the politicians, as we receive that from Fox, in a fair and balanced way, that old media refused to do. there was a time when I thought I would never se this, but it is a wonderful time to see liberal media peak in 08, and now be fully seen as the scoundrels they have been for the last 40 years.

    Now is the time for our nation to get it’s priorities in order, and “global warming” should be at the very bottom of this list. Cap and Trade should be seen as a bad idea. Health care can’t be afforded, and just think about it, we insure 30 million at a cost of one trillion. Put those 30 million in a pool, and let an insurance company give them a reduce rate for being in that pool. “It’s the economy stupid”, and this will be heard many times between now and November. Next year things will change, but the climate will continue to do what it has always done.

  • Rod

    Here’s the money quote from the article: “If it’s considered ‘normal’ in climate science for researchers to keep their raw data under lock and key, and refuse to subject it to skeptical and hostile review, then climate science isn’t science.”

    Bingo! News flash! Climate “science” isn’t science and never has been. It’s a few zealots that almost managed to pull off the con of the century and that now stand revealed and increasingly in disrepute. Among those zealots are the editors and many reporters on the NYTimes.

    In the end the “deniers” will turn out to have been the only ones practicing true scientific and intellectual skepticism, insisting on being able to verify data before offering their support. The internet has replaced the mainstream media as the primary news outlet for any thinking, rational person. Why have all the news filtered through an editor with a distinct point of view?

    Excellent article, by the way. But those journalists exist; they just couldn’t get jobs at the NYTimes and are found instead on the internet.

  • Mark Needham

    The MSM has become nothing more than the propaganda arm of the liberal democratic party. AGW is just the latest vehicle by which liberals hoped to force the developed world to accept a global socialist government.

    The odd thing is that the MSM doesn’t get how its decline is tied to its promotion of a socialist political agenda. I mean think about it. Who is actually going to pay for propaganda?

  • WM

    The supposed engagement of climate scientists with their critics and being more open with their data is all phony talk. It represents nothing. It cannot represent anything, because global warming/climate change is a fraud. A fraudster logically cannot work with skeptics and be more forthcoming to prove their case is true. Thus, you will not see climate scientists buckling down on scientific case-making.

    Instead, you will see more of what you are seeing now: Increased arbitrary claims with appeals to authority and argument from intimidation. That is how a fraudster must play it. This is a sign that their movement is in its death throes. What to watch for: There will be some sort of critical event whose nature is undeniable even to the fanatical warmists (perhaps a ratting out of others by one of the major players?), and then their efforts will collapse totally.

  • Dan R.

    The NY Times hasn’t been a credible news organization for quite some time now, which is why their circulation continues to decline. They long ago morphed into an advocacy organization providing obviously slanted coverage in order to help advance a leftist agenda. As such, their stonewalling on the story of the warming incompetence and malfeasance now being exposed among the global warming crowd was entirely predictable. In fact, the entire mainstream US media, with the exception of Fox News, has willfully turned a blind eye to the story. We Americans have had to rely on overseas news sources such as the U.K.’s Telegraph for information on just how massive and systematic this fraud has been.

  • corneliusvansant

    Get a grip Pauline!!!

    You seem to believe your own blather “fantasy” and “nonsense.”

    We have all read these emails and as they came right from the gurus’ mouth they are extremely damaging.

    You are one who is in denial.

  • Ken

    I was stuck riding with someone who keeps NPR on the radio for an hour during their latest funding drive. The repeated each of the following “truths” at least three times each during that hour.

    1) We are commercial-free
    2) We are free of political influence
    3) It isn’t news if it isn’t on NPR

    The truth is
    1) They have commercials, but they are poorly done. Every time they name a donor, it’s a commercial. How is it any different than what Paul Harvey used to do by inserting products into his daily report?
    2) They are “free” of political influence only to the extent that Dialy Kos or Huffington Post or their favorite punching bag Fox News is “free” of political influence. The government cannot strictly dictate their editorial policy. That does not mean that their reporting is in any way free of political contamination.
    3) It is probably true that it isn’t in the NYT until it’s on NPR, but other than that their claim on being able to define what is news is ridiculous on the face of it. The audacious arrogance of the liberal media is just amazing.

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  • Evan Helmuth

    I’m glad to see an intellectual of Mead’s caliber finally taking on this issue.

    I’ve been a fan of Mead on foreign policy for a few years now, and it’s nice to see someone with the balls to say things that are unpopular with their peers.

  • misanthropicus

    My, my, my! What a creeping coup d’etat the warmists’ve been engaged in for the last two decades. Certes, the climate has changed lately, no one would deny that. But the connection between the warming and the human activities has never proved.
    God forbid for someone to question the warmists righteousness – lez majeste the act is called -

  • Patrick O’Neill

    The NYT beginning to acknowledge that all is not right in the world of global warming fraud is very reminiscent of the Emperor Hirohito’s radio address announcing the surrender of Japan to his people who after 4 years of propaganda,thought they were winning the war. “Events” he said “had “not necessarily developed in favor of Japan”. Wonder if the editorial board of that wretched journal is capable of seeing the irony.

  • http://wilsonsrant.blogspot.com Ranter

    Much better said than how I said it, but essentially right on. But it begs the question: Since when have we been calling them “journalists”? Isn’t the NYT called Print Media and CBS called Broadcast Media? Looked at in that context, they are about Entertainment and the most entertaining of all are comedy and fiction.

  • R. L. Hails Sr. P. E.

    If one only reads the NYT (I do not) they will live in a different world. In matters of AGW, they are as provincial and ignorant as a caveman. It was astonishing to read Al Gore’s dogma in last Sunday’s NYT, after the CRU releases and Copenhagen. He is dangerously delusional, not about science, in which he is ignorant, but about public policy. As the authors of the IPCC undercut the basis of his inconvenient nonsense, he soldiers on, oblivious to the fact that his, “settled science” has become the butt of late night jokes.

    Several times in Al Gore’s gifted life, he stood at a decision point which could have led to greatest. In the Rose Garden, when he upheld his boss’ lie, in Florida, when he could have accepted honorable defeat, and in climate change when he could moved America forward, he choose the wrong path. The NYT has also chosen the wrong truth. It is terminal to any career.

  • Michael Herbert

    Mr. Mead,

    I went to the University of California at Berkeley in the mid sixties. As you know that was a time of great protest. Most of the journalism students were committed to helping change the world, not do something as grubby as reporting the news. They could be skeptical and cynical about reporting on Vietnam and poverty, but little else. Changing the world and reporting the news have little in common. Some of these same students have been teaching for thirty odd years and today’s journalists the result of their efforts. Most of the old “hard bitten” journalists we not college educated. Probably a good thing.

    Michael Herbert

  • Mike-USN-ret

    I really have only one question about this article. Exactly when did the NY Times become journalism? I’m over 60 yrs old and for most of my life the NY Times has been an adovacy publication for the progressive ideology. As far as I’m concerned, it has more in common with the old Pravda than anything that could be called a real neutral, fact reporting newspaper.

  • Roy

    The article is too kind. Laziness isn’t to blame. The NYT is little more than a left-wing propaganda organ.

    Just look at yesterday’s article in the real estate section – “climate change” is causing a (concrete) foundation crisis!

  • edlarson

    You want to know what is wrong with “Journalism”? Here it is. If you ask a journalism student, “Why do you want to be a journalist?”. The most common answer is, “I want to change the world.”

    Where did these kids get the idea that it is the job of a journalist to change the world? They got that idea from the media, and top journalists. True Journalism is a lost art, along with Statesmanship, and Buggy Whip manufacturing.

  • Dave H

    “Enlightened upper-middle-class progressivism” is too many words for academic socialism – the brand of PC morality enforced at most of our major universities. These are the J-schools that breed NYTimes reporters, so what do you expect? Insularity breeds incompetence.

    Ken: The only people “free of political influence” are dead people (except, of course, dead people from Chicago).

  • Becky

    I was watching an old Columbo episode “Columbo goes to the Guilotine” or some title like that.

    It started out with ESP scientists fudging tests to keep their funding intact, and of course ended up with murder.

  • John Blake

    From about eighteen months after Li’l Pinch Sulzberger succeeded to the throne of Sulzberger pere, the “paper of record” has been no such thing. After a particularly asinine bout of Reagan-bashing we gave the rag a richly symbolic heave in 1984, and have not allowed its wretched poseurs indoors since.

    Whatever poisoned the post-war Boomer Generation beginning c. 1964 has since metastasized in every area of academic, media, political and scientific discourse. Pinch & Co.’s sheer vicious name-calling is a dead giveaway for lack of substance. Anyone who accords these creeps the slightest credibility has only himself to blame.

  • spawn44

    Great article. I have a stack of unpublished letters written to the San Francisco Chronicle and San Jose mercury a foot high that will prove your point.

  • Paul in NJ

    Øystein L sez:
    Perhaps, and I’m going out on a limb here, it’s out of fear of encountering anyone like Mead, who deliveres this piece of crap with no proof. That’s what I said: without proof.

    Given that it’s up to scientists to prove their theories with, you know, verifiable facts, that limb just broke off from under you. Like the AGW zealots, you’re in free-fall.

    The AGW zealots have demonstrated that they’re not doing science — it’s more like a religion.

  • Al Yenglin

    Outstanding! Well worth the read.

  • TJ

    You could easily substitute Washington Post and Boston Globe for NYT above. This is one reason I intent to let my WaPo subscription expire at the end of the month.

  • C.Lynch

    In defense of journalists, it is a miracle that they get to exercise any skepticism or do any real digging. I see what they are spending on reporters and can only conclude that the only thing they have time to do is massage press-releases and stick a byline on them.
    This helps explain why conservatives hate the recycled PR from liberal orgs, the liberals hate the recycled PR of business orgs, and everybody hates the recycled “stupidspeak” that issues from guys like Robert Gibbs, the new “Baghdad Bob”.
    What the internet age has given us is the ability to do our own research, and “call out” the mistakes the MSM makes. In the process, the public has become smarter and the MSM numbers are swirling down the drain.
    Yet when there is nobody left with a budget for real news reporting, we will all be much more vulnerable, and on our own than we already are.

  • C.Lynch

    @paulina, who wrote: ““The [CRU emails] correspondence appears to show efforts to limit publication of contrary opinion…”

    Contrary opinion? Broder writes as if scientists were opinion page editors. Was the situation instead the following, that scientists tried to limit publication of bad science or outright nonsense–something they are actually supposed to do as science journal editors and reviewers? (Yes.)”

    Paulina, this may surprise you, but there is a broad range of scientists who point out serious flaws in the work of the AGW mainstream folks. *Proper* science gives anybody with a data-based argument a hearing, but the hacked emails show a grievous violation of this fundamental principle.

    So, the answer to your question, is really, “no–that is not what happened.”

  • http://cosmographica.com/flatfile2 Don Dixon

    In the past few months we’ve learned that the only climate data that has not been cherry-picked, mutilated mathematically beyond recognition, or eaten by the dog, is the satellite data collected since 1979 by the University of Alabama at Huntsville, which shows a mild, more or less linear warming trend that probably started at the end of the Little Ice Age, when Lincoln was a baby. If someone wants to argue that we should reduce our use of fossil fuels because they are dirty and finite and their sale props up vile regimes in Saudi Arabia and Venezuela, I’m there, but to claim that our miniscule contribution to the biosphere’s carbon budget will precipitate the apocalypse is just silly. Al Gore is the quack of the century. His disciples have corrupted science and set sane environmental policy back decades.

    Thanks for an excellent article.

  • Legalize

    Hey Walter,

    Thx for your great blog postings on Climategate. I’m glad to see there are a few remaining real journalists willing to go wherever a story takes them.

    Here’s some more info on how the NY Times is distorting the climate change debate. Worse than the omissions you document, these constitute sins of commission.

    Last month’s front page NY Times article claims that these recent blizzards are consistent with – in fact predicted by – Global Warming. The article cites a government Climate Change Impact report as having predicted an increase in snowstorms in the Northeast.

    This is not what the report says. The report predicts:

    1. More *lake effect* snow in the Northeast.
    2. More winter precipitation but less snow and more rain.
    3. These storms will occur further north than in the past.

    These predictions in no way describe this winter’s extreme weather, yet the NY Times cites this report in claiming this weather was always expected by GW scientists.

    There is a bigger picture than simply the Times claiming a report says “A” when in fact it clearly states “Not A”. The Times has established a mantra that is now being repeated in the liberal media: it is unscientific to claim that this winter’s snowstorms are evidence against Global Warming.

  • Legalize

    Here are the details. First, the relevant quotes of the NY Times article:
    http://www.nytimes.com/2010/02/11/science/earth/11climate.html

    “Jeff Masters, a meteorologist who writes on the Weather Underground blog [snip] said that government and academic studies had consistently predicted an increasing frequency of just these kinds of record-setting storms, because warmer air carries more moisture.

    [snip]

    “A federal government report issued last year, intended to be the authoritative statement of known climate trends in the United States, pointed to the likelihood of more frequent snowstorms in the Northeast and less frequent snow in the South and Southeast as a result of long-term temperature and precipitation patterns.

    [snip]

    “In other words, if the government scientists are correct, look for more snow.”

    * * * * *

    Here is the Climate Change Impact report the article is referring to:

    http://www.globalchange.gov/publications/reports/scientific-assessments/us-impacts/full-report/national-climate-change

    The clear theme of the report is that there will be less snow across the US, with one temporary exception. Under the Snowstorms section on the above link, it reads:

    “Climate models suggest that lake-effect snowfalls are likely to increase over the next few decades In the longer term, lake-effect snows are likely to decrease as temperatures continue to rise, with the precipitation then falling as rain.”

    * * * * *

    In the Northeast Impact section of the report, it reads:

    “Warming has resulted in many other climate-related changes including… less winter precipitation falling as snow and more as rain, reduced snowpack, earlier break-up of winter ice on lakes and rivers, earlier spring snowmelt resulting in earlier peak river flows… These trends are projected to continue…”

    And also:

    “The projected reduction in snow cover will adversely affect winter recreation and the industries that rely upon it. The length of the winter snow season would be cut in half across northern New York, Vermont, New Hampshire, and Maine, and reduced to just a week or two in southern parts of the region by late this century under a higher emissions scenario. Winter snow and ice sports, which contribute $7.6 billion annually to the region’s economy, will be particularly affected by warming.”

    The Northeast Impact section is here:

    http://www.globalchange.gov/publications/reports/scientific-assessments/us-impacts/regional-climate-change-impacts/northeast

  • Higginbotham

    The New York Times, like the other elements of the Democratic Party’s puppet media in this country, are correctly and appropriately going down the tubes; financially and in terms of quality. Apparently, the alleged “journalists” at this news-rag spend quite a bit of time writing their little stories, only some of which are completely fabrications [Jayson Blair]. All we in the real world know, is that this “news” paper is pretty good for lining bird cages, or as the fire-starter for a nice charcoal grill.

  • BigKAD

    The worst aspect of this fraud is the immorality of it all. The waste of resources, people and time trying to prove this “religion” of anti-capitalism (aka global warming) is very sad indeed. We could be directing those resources toward efforts that would really make a different around the world. Like fighting disease and helping 3rd world nations improve their lot by exporting freedom and free-markets AND energy production.

  • Geoff

    Dear Østein L (March 5, 8;12 AM),

    You ask “why haven’t climate scientist[s] engaged the media before?” but I would argue your premise is wholly mistaken.

    To give one example, the Metcalf Institute for Marine & Environmental Reporting organized six separate three-day sessions, paid for mainly by the National Science Foundation. . These workshop sessions were “… an indispensable tool for helping journalists learn from climate change experts, and climate change experts in return to learn from journalists, on cutting communication issues involved in informing the public on the most critical environmental issue of the 21st Century”.

    According to the report on the workshops, the scientists were selected “because of their firsthand experiences in dealing with the media…”.

    So rather than climate scientists not “engaging the media”, some (arguably activist) climate scientsts have been interacting with some of the media “elite”, paid for by US tax dollars. You can read the detailed report on the conference here.

    The problem would seem to be not that climate scientists are not engaging the media, but rather that the scientific practices of a number of climate scientists do not adhere to scientific norms. If you are not aware of these problems, perhaps you are relying too heavily on the NYT reporting of these matters, which would seem to be exactly Dr. Mead’s point.

    You will not have read much about “Climategate” in the NYT, but leaked e-mails from a major climate center (CRU) are now the subject of a parliamentary investigation in the UK. The Institute of Physics made a submission to the inquiry panel and said the following:

    “The CRU e-mails as published on the internet provide prima facie evidence of determined and co-ordinated refusals to comply with honourable scientific traditions and freedom of information law. The principle that scientists should be willing to expose their ideas and results to independent testing and replication by others, which requires the open exchange of data, procedures and materials, is vital. The lack of compliance has been confirmed by the findings of the Information Commissioner. This extends well beyond the CRU itself – most of the e-mails were exchanged with researchers in a number of other international institutions who are also involved in the formulation of the IPCC’s conclusions on climate change”.

    This one quote (and there are many others by reputable scientists and organizations) gives some idea of the magnitude of the problem.

  • P Aaronson

    Global warming has nothing to do with the New York Times or Mr Gore, or the IPCC or the scientists at East Anglia. It is a physical process, driven by the fact that carbon dioxide and other Man-generated gases absorb heat. Note the word ‘fact’ here. No one is arguing with the fact that carbon dioxide in the atmosphere traps the sun’s heat, or that the carbon dioxide concentration in the atmosphere is increasing very rapidly. We’re taking here about an huge increase in the heat energy being retained by the Earth. I’m not sure what those who don’t believe in GW think is going to happen to all this heat to prevent it from doing what heat normally does to things…which is to make them hotter.

    When Mr Mead presents a cogent scientific argument against global warming, he will be doing his side of the debate a service. By attacking those who believe in GW rather than attacking the science, he is simpy revealing his ignorance.

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  • http://www.daylightresearch.com Steve

    @P Aaronson: Mead is talking about journalistic ethics not science. Next time you should do a little thinking before you pop off like that.

  • BILL BALLOU

    For years, eminent scientists (S. Fred Singer and others) have noted the inconsistencies of AGW alarmist statements. Not many in the MSM reported Mr. Singer’s commentary until recently. The CRU debacle did more to focus attention on arguments countering the thesis of AGW than did the combined efforts of those who actually seek knowledge. I infer from these events that this debate is merely part of a wider war of ideas: the idea that concepts are objective v. the idea that concepts are either: 1. subjective or 2. intrinsic. Objectivism leads to philosophical certainty while either subjectivism or intrinsicism leads to skepticism. MSM does lack objectivity, but facts have a way of trumping utopian agenda. Thank you, whoever you are, for leaking those damning emails.

  • J. Robert

    Ah… the NY Slimes… the same paper of Jayson Blair, and the same paper that assured us via Walter Duranty that there weren’t any people dying in Stalin’s Russia, has now been telling us to prepare for global warming. You know, from the same medial cabal that told us an ice age was coming in teh 1970s, and we needed immediate Big Brother intervention.

    The leftist media is a joke

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  • Russell Seitz

    Would Mr Mead please give us the dates on which he acquired his three volumes of the IPCC report ,and when he finished reading it?

    Heaven spare him the deadly journalistic sin of ignoring primary sources while parroting press releases,

    While he’s about, he might reveal when and which climate science textbooks he has added to his shelves.

    We’ll all feel better when he does.

    • Walter Russell Mead

      Mr. Seitz should have checked more carefully; he would have found that I have repeatedly stated that I accept the basic findings of the science. It’s the arrogance and the political cluelessness of the climate change leaders that I am blaming for the trouble. Thank you, Mr. Seitz, for helping me make this point.

  • Robert Redelmeier

    May I impolitely suggest “you get a life” — Camelot never was. The press has always lied by omission. Take Watergate, for example.
    Watergate is generally viewed as the best recent example of American journalism. One key fact is omitted, the source [Deepthroat] was Mark Felt, who was bitterly dissappointed Nixon did not appoint him to replace and continue J Edgar Hoover’s FBI. The fact that the FBI bugged POTUS and was willing to use the media to stage a putsch went unremarked. The cub reporters (Woodward & Bernstein) might not have known better, but their editor certainly knew and allowed his paper to be _USED_.
    Until we see lies (and other delicts) of omission as seriously as we see those of commission, we will be ever so fooled. Since these are unlikely to stop, our best defense is a wide variety of sources and full application of skeptical reasoning to discover where the missing information might be. There are always traces. On Watergate, the question was: “Who and how could anyone possibly know all that?”

  • Luke Lea

    A bit late, but I think Walter and his readers might ponder this quote from a speech by Valclav Havel:

    “In its model simulations, the IPCC suggests that – because of higher temperatures – the world GDP in the year 2100 will be 2.9% lower than without any warming. I repeat, only 2.9% if we do nothing and let the warming – predicted by the IPCC – continue. The same models suggest that the GDP per capita in the developed countries will be eight times higher than now and in the developing countries about five times higher than that of the developed world today.

    These figures are not mine, these are the figures of the leading exponents of the global warming doctrine. The question must be therefore raised: should we drastically limit CO2 emissions today by 20, 30, 50, or 80% and, thereby, abandon our way of life for the sake of such a small effect considering that the future generations will be far better off than we are today? My answer is that 2.9% of the future GDP is a minor loss.”

  • http://none BobRGeologist

    Reading the above discussion as to why the media screwed up so badly on AGW got me thinking about why did I recognize it as very bad science early on? When I read the Kyoto Protocols 10 years ago the bad odor was as obvious as an irate skunk in my backyard. I know now that it was my thorough grounding at U Chicago by their great geology dept. of the 1930’s and a respect for the magnitude of geologic processes and the role they play in Earth behavior. Man’s puny role had not been exaggerated by several orders of magnitude as it is in today’s radical environmentalim. I finally realized a movement to hype perfectly normal climate variations was in progress and revued the literature. I found nothing to endorse all the wild claims for overheating and nothing to degrade the value of CO2 as vital to our food supply. I was happy to sign a petition to the US Senate in 2008 with over 30k of my fellow scientists that CO2 has never been a significant contributor to AGW. And I’m mad as Hell about the relatively few climate scientists that have degraded their principles for already costing the world hundreds of billions of $s on a spurious hypothesis. .

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  • http://dotearth.blogs.nytimes.com Andy Revkin

    There are layers of distortion here but, for the moment, I’ll stick to one: The flat conclusion, with no citations, that The Times was overly credulous and simply conveyed un-assessed messages on the dangers of global warming or the nature of the evidence pointing to a rising human influence on the climate.

    From oldest to newest, scan the posts at the following links (several of which point to print stories): http://dotearth.blogs.nytimes.com/tag/ipcc
    http://dotearth.blogs.nytimes.com/tag/climate-files
    http://j.mp/dotTip
    But that’s just coverage of the recent disclosures and issues (note that the IPCC critique pre-dates the big blowup).

    You can scroll back to 2006-7 for plenty of critical coverage weighing what was, and was not, an overstatement in this arena:
    http://j.mp/HotPlanet
    http://j.mp/nytMiddle
    I’ll be weighing in more back on Dot Earth sometime soon.

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  • get a grip

    Walter Mead: Forget your med’s? Too much coffee??

    The largest issue facing decision makers today is the Press personalizing issues and polarizing opinions to extremes leaving little middle ground to work with. In your zeal to [say bad things about — ed] on the NYT, you have in fact lost your point.

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