Sunday, February 21, 2010

Oh no there was snow so there must not be global warming

But seriously. This was the latest in a series of attacks on the science of global warming. And that this one got traction in most of the big US media last week -- even if some of the stories do explain the science further down -- shows just how much the right wing sets the debate.

CJR's Curtis Brainard had a good piece on all this, focusing largely on John Broder's front pager in the NYT. Brainard argues that the piece was "undoubtedly another well-intentioned attempt to explain how people will distort the difference between weather and climate to suit their own ends" but that "As a result of the political bend, the top half of Broder’s article contains little more than banter."
What readers needed was a much more straightforward story about the limitations of discerning climate trends in weather. But, as Yulsman put it, “I’m guessing that if Broder had approached the story in this way, it never would have made it to page one.”
One of the latest examples of the ugliness is now in the Economist.

I'm not a huge fan of them, but I will say what sometimes makes them -- and many other business publications -- useful is that they don't waste time with he-said-he-said stories. As Joe Romm explains in that link,
Memo to The Economist: If you feel obliged to report on the anger of the anti-scientific crowd, you still can’t leave inaccurate or inane assertions entirely unrebutted.


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