Thursday, June 22, 2006

All the News That’s Fit to Make

ABC News is trying to create news out of hot air by inviting readers/viewers to provide anecdotal stories about “the impact of global warming in your life.” From the point of view of a news producer, it might seem like a good idea to enlist a vast army of low-cost amateur reporters that can cover far more ground than the paid staff. But this smacks of something very different than objective reporting of ‘news,’ which the organization claims as its mandate. Instead, this is the kind of tactic used by activists that are willing to sort through a lot of junk to find a handful of ‘evidence’ to support their point of view.

Wall Street Journal editor James Taranto has been having a heyday making light of this effort for the past couple of days (see here under the heading Idiot Box Science and here under the heading Story Ideas for ABC). Jeff Beliveau, one of Taranto’s readers, submitted the following tongue-in-cheek ‘story’ to ABC News.

Tharg and me used to hunt mighty mammoth but he scared to cross ice bridge. It now too thin to take weight of even saber cat. Only mouse or rabbit can cross.

Many of my people have left the caves in search of food.

Sister's daughter's husband says it because of He-Who-Tamed-Fire. He say smoke from fire anger gods and they make it hot. Medicine Man say he full of mastodon droppings.

Medicine Man say Sun God told him Sun God get belly ache every 200 lifes of man. Belly ache make Sun God hotter, like when Og ate red berries birds don't touch.

Sun God say it good thing. He say now we can go south past ice to land he call "Iowa."

He mumble "junk science" and "media hype" and "poorly educated reporters." We no understand these powerful magic words. We afraid to say words now that Moon God warn us. She say magic words make research grants dry up. We no understand.

Must go, little Ky-Rock need help flaking obsidian.
This was so funny that I simply could not resist posting it.

The Journal also published an article yesterday by one of its editorial board members, Robert L. Pollock about global warming. Pollock takes exception with critics that took exception with him for comments he made on the Fox News TV program The Journal Editorial Report, where he claimed that “everyone agrees there has been some warming over the past century, but most of it happened before 1940.”

This statement resulted in liberal organs the New Republic and Media Matters taking Pollock to task. Pollock, however, defends his statement. While he admits that it might have been more correct to say, “more than half” rather than “most,” he stands by his statement as being technically and substantively correct. He backs up his position by providing data, including NASA graphs and a study (requires subscription) published in Geophysical Research Letters.

The GRL study interestingly concludes that “although there has been a considerable temperature increase during the last decade (1995-2005) a similar increase occurred during the early part of the 20th century (1920-1930) when carbon dioxide or other greenhouse gases could not be a cause.” That earlier temperature increase was followed by a cooling period that resulted in a cacophony of cries about the impending ice age three decades ago. This parallels the information presented in the NASA charts.

Pollock does not deny that global warming is occurring (albeit, not at the drastic rate claimed by Al Gore and his ilk – whose latest work is thoroughly fisked by Iain Murray here), but he does take exception with “Global-warming alarmists tak[ing] it for granted that they have the "scientific consensus" on their side” that global warming is human caused. Pollock claims that this is “an article of faith that avoids or elides basic facts.”


Scott Hinrichs said...

You have a great sense of humor.

Scott Hinrichs said...

Love it! :)

Frank Staheli said...

I'm trying to think what other responses ABC got. Probably something like former Senator George Mitchell's laughable book of several years ago discussing the ozone hole and how people in Australia now had to wear hats to keep from getting sunburned (as though hats had never been used before).