November 30, 2009

Harrop's Call for "rigorous journalists" on Climate Reporting Apparently Doesn't Include Herself

Marc Comtois


On November 19, 2009, climate science was severely shaken by the release of a collection of email messages, together with a collection of data and data processing programs, that were hacked or revealed by a whistle blower from the University of East Anglia Climatic Research Unit (CRU), one of the key centers of global warming research. These emails and text files have been the subject of intense debate, calling to question assumptions on anthropogenic (man-made) global warming.
As Iain Murray summarizes:
1. The data were manipulated to hide a decline in recent temperatures, meaning that we cannot be sure that the paleoclimatological record shows that the recent warming was in any way unusual. This is separate from the issue of whether or not it has been warming or cooling, which is a distraction from what Climategate tells us.

2. There was a concerted effort to subvert the peer-review process of journals that might publish "skeptical" articles (and thereby undermine the "consensus" argument).

3. There was an organized attempt to circumvent or obstruct the legal requirements of the UK's Freedom of Information Act 2000, which appears on its face to rise to the level of criminality.

All this was known last week. And then From Harrop penned a column, "On climate: More rigorous journalists needed". Giving Harrop--a known believer in anthropogenic global warming--the benefit of the doubt, I wondered if she was going to acknowledge the burgeoning climate-gate controversy. Nope. Instead, more of the same...
When President Obama attends on Dec. 9 the United Nations meeting on climate in Copenhagen, you can be sure that the deniers of global warming will go on a romp. They’ll dredge up weather forecasters, scientists hungry for attention and various grudge-holders to argue that the Earth’s temperature isn’t rising, or that if it is, humankind plays no part in the process.
Setting aside Harrop's willful mischaracterizations (a skeptic is different than a "denier"), it should come as no surprise that a cosseted journo like Harrop would hyperbolize the affects that the minority dissenters have on the public versus the received wisdom she so willingly accepts and dispenses.
That 72 percent of Americans still believe that global warming exists (down from 80 percent last year) seems a miracle, given the quality of much recent reportage. {Yes, it reeeaaaaalllly should be 100%, you see!}

The eve of the Copenhagen talks would be an optimal time for American journalism to start treating science with more care.

Yes, we're waiting for that.

Comments, although monitored, are not necessarily representative of the views Anchor Rising's contributors or approved by them. We reserve the right to delete or modify comments for any reason.

Frobama is beneath contempt.

Posted by: BobN at November 30, 2009 2:51 PM

Does the Journal really pay this moron?

Posted by: Mike Cappelli at November 30, 2009 7:56 PM

Frobama? Read her columns during the '08 campaign - she trashed Obama as much as anybody in the media. More like Frohillary.

Posted by: rhody at November 30, 2009 8:14 PM

"given the quality of much recent reportage"

Would that be the increased number of stories reporting the truth about all of the weaknesses and fraud in the data that comprises the theory of global warming? That kind of "quality" of reporting?

"an optimal time for American journalism to start treating science with more care"

Absolutely! And an optimal time for AGW scientists to do likewise. In point of fact, a theory that is comprised of data that has been manipulated, culled and withheld (and, in the most shocking revelation to date, deleted altogether two decades ago) is by no stretch of the imagination scientific.

Mike Hulme, a climate scientist at the University of East Anglia (the center of the controversy), over the weekend said this:

It is possible that some areas of climate science has become sclerotic. It is possible that climate science has become too partisan, too centralized. The tribalism that some of the leaked emails display is something more usually associated with social organization within primitive cultures; it is not attractive when we find it at work inside science.

... The I.P.C.C. itself, through its structural tendency to politicize climate change science, has perhaps helped to foster a more authoritarian and exclusive form of knowledge production - just at a time when a globalizing and wired cosmopolitan culture is demanding of science something much more open and inclusive."

As for his last phrase, science has always demanded openness, inclusion and accountability. This is not a function of the arrival of a digital age, though the fact that some of his collegues have eschewed these qualities as they have attempted to propound a flawed theory might make them appear to be novelties.

His characterization in the first paragraph

"The tribalism that some of the leaked emails display is something more usually associated with social organization within primitive cultures"

is actually understated and kind. Many AGW scientists have recently been revealed to be, frankly, bratty five year olds. They obstinately want their toys - their theory and their government grants and their data to do with as they wish - but don't want to share because someone might ruin their fun by disproving their theory.

Bring on the rigorous journalists, by all means. Please at the same time bring back the rigorous scientists.

Posted by: Monique at November 30, 2009 10:37 PM

"The tribalism that some of the leaked emails display is something more usually associated with social organization within primitive cultures"

I do not associate it with primitive cultures. the phenomenon is well known and referred to as a "fraudulent consensus". Although it is usually pointed to among academics, I am sure that it exists in any structured group. The short is that "All of the smart people I know agree. If anyone doesn't agree it is prima facie evidence that they are stupid". Anyone caught in that web will realize that if they desire the respect of their peers, they must agree.

Posted by: Warrington Faust at December 1, 2009 8:57 AM
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