The New York Times has a history of supporting a certain degree of climate change science denial, while at the same time supporting some very good journalism in this area. Just now, the Times jumped over one big giant shark by adding Bret Stephens to its opinion page staff.
Stephens comes to the Times from the Wall Street Journal, a Murdoch anti-science rag you are all familiar with.
In 2011, he wrote,
Consider the case of global warming, another system of doomsaying prophecy and faith in things unseen.
As with religion, it is presided over by a caste of spectacularly unattractive people pretending to an obscure form of knowledge that promises to make the seas retreat and the winds abate. As with religion, it comes with an elaborate list of virtues, vices and indulgences. As with religion, its claims are often non-falsifiable, hence the convenience of the term “climate change” when thermometers don’t oblige the expected trend lines. As with religion, it is harsh toward skeptics, heretics and other “deniers.” And as with religion, it is susceptible to the earthly temptations of money, power, politics, arrogance and deceit.
“OK,” you say, “That was like six years ago. Maybe he stopped being a jerk since then.”
Nope. According to Joe Romm,
…in 2015, he wrote that climate change — along with hunger in America, campus rape statistics, and institutionalized racism— are “imaginary enemies.”
“OK,” you say, “That guy is even more of a jerk now than he was then!”
Romm also quotes climate scientist Michael Mann on Stephens’ hiring.
“sadly, the New York Times itself seems to have fallen victim to this malady, hiring one one of the most notorious climate change deniers, Bret Stephens, to promote climate denial propaganda on the once-hallowed pages of the Grey Lady.”
Media Matters has assembled a number of examples in which Stephens mislead readers on a number of matters including climate science. For example:
So global warming is dead, nailed into its coffin one devastating disclosure, defection and re-evaluation at a time. Which means that pretty soon we’re going to need another apocalyptic scare to take its place.
As for the United States, Gallup reports that global warming now ranks sixth on the list of Americans’ top 10 environmental concerns. My wager is that within a few years “climate change” will exercise global nerves about as much as overpopulation, toxic tampons, nuclear winters, ozone holes, killer bees, low sperm counts, genetically modified foods and mad cows do today.
Something is going to have to take its place.
The world is now several decades into the era of environmental panic. The subject of the panic changes every few years, but the basic ingredients tend to remain fairly constant. A trend, a hypothesis, an invention or a discovery disturbs the sense of global equilibrium. Often the agent of distress is undetectable to the senses, like a malign spirit. A villain—invariably corporate and right-wing—is identified. [The Wall Street Journal, 4/6/10; Media Matters, 4/6/10]
My friends at DeSmog Blog, a central clearing house for information on climate science deniers, will probably do something as well. I’ll link to it here should that happen.