Monday, February 15, 2010

Journalists lede in climate science denial.

It's high time for self-respecting journalists with integrity to separate their wheat from their chaff, along with the spin from the fact.
Currently, a few errors –and supposed errors– in the last IPCC report (“AR4″) are making the media rounds – together with a lot of distortion and professional spin by parties interested in discrediting climate science. Time for us to sort the wheat from the chaff: which of these putative errors are real, and which not? And what does it all mean, for the IPCC in particular, and for climate science more broadly?
For far too long, dishonest journalists have played leding roles in climate science denial campaigns.
All of these various “gates” – Climategate, Amazongate, Seagate, Africagate, etc., do not represent scandals of the IPCC or of climate science. Rather, they are the embarrassing battle-cries of a media scandal, in which a few journalists have misled the public with grossly overblown or entirely fabricated pseudogates, and many others have naively and willingly followed along without seeing through the scam. It is not up to us as climate scientists to clear up this mess – it is up to the media world itself to put this right again, e.g. by publishing proper analysis pieces like the one of Tim Holmes and by issuing formal corrections of their mistaken reporting. We will follow with great interest whether the media world has the professional and moral integrity to correct its own errors.
So while dishonest journalists blatantly ignore the facts & maliciously report the climate science denial instead, the rest merely ignore their colleagues-in-propaganda.
While it is wholly unsurprising that the denial lobby should be attempting to push baseless and misleading stories to the press, what is surprising is the press’s willingness to swallow them. In this case, two experts in the relevant field told a Times journalist explicitly that, in spite of a minor referencing error, the IPCC had got its facts right. That journalist simply ignored them. Instead, he deliberately put out the opposite line – one fed to him by a prominent climate change denier – as fact. The implications are deeply disturbing, not only for our prospects of tackling climate change, but for basic standards of honesty and integrity in journalism. “AmazonGate”: how the denial lobby and a dishonest journalist created a fake scandal
So what's a dedicated, honest science journalist at a major news organization, who's responsible to inform his fellow citizens of the science, prepared to do to restore the basic standards of honesty and integrity in journalism, if not the science?

If there still an honest journalist amongst you?

re: The post-Copenhagen view of U.S. climate policy in Europe

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