Fred Pearce is rubbish

Things Break says this, but I don’t see why I shouldn’t say the same. I haven’t had much to say about Pearce before – I see I took a side swipe at him a while back. But his recent trash on the McLean paper is the worst sort of dumb journo false balance and he should be ashamed of himself.

[Update: anyone who thinks FP isn’t a fool should read his latest trash (thanks to a commenter)]

May as well have a largely irrelevant cartoon (ht: mt):

Comments

  1. #1 rpenner
    2010/07/02
  2. #2 Hank Roberts
    2010/07/02

    More appropriate cartoon, for the ‘tribal’ bandwagoneers:
    http://www.marcrobertscartoons.com/cartoons_display/cartoon2029.jpg

  3. #3 Nick Barnes
    2010/07/03

    Well, I’m quite enjoying Pearce’s book: it seems approximately “fair and balanced” (not in the Fox News sense). Certainly a lot, lot better than either the Montford or the Mosher+Fuller books. As usual the book reviews I’ve seen online don’t seem to be about the same book.

    I think it’s a mistake to criticise Pearce too harshly. He has been following climate science for a long time, he’s capable of understanding it, and he’s generally not taken in by septic arguments. He does sometimes write nonsense, and he did really cock up the early call on the CRU emails. But he’s much closer to being “a friend of the truth” than most other journalists who write on the area. And the truth needs all the friends it can get.

  4. #4 MikeB
    2010/07/03

    Fred Pearce seems to be gradually turning into some sort of concern troll, except that the stuff he’s concerned about is really missing the point.
    The shame of it is that he used to be OK, but his last book (on population) got a kicking by actual population researchers, and I’m afraid that in order to get a story on ‘Climategate’, he made it sound much more dramatic than it actually was. Sad really.

    “a friend of the truth”? – Kind of the friend that spills your news to everyone else, and makes it sound ten times worse. Which is the kind of person you don’t want to invite to dinner much. Or at all.

  5. #5 Nick Barnes
    2010/07/04

    What on earth are you on about? “Spills your news to everyone else”? (a) that doesn’t make any sense at all in the context of my metaphor, and (b) that is, in fact, what journalists are supposed to do. You think a journalist should conceal news?

    I asserted that Pearce is better than most journalists who write in this area. You can’t argue against that by bollixing up my metaphor. Who are the journalists who do better? Show us.

    Have you even read his book?

  6. #6 marktime
    2010/07/04

    Nick, have you read his latest? Fred has gone to the Dark Side.

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2010/jul/04/climatechange-hacked-emails-muir-russell

  7. #7 Nick Barnes
    2010/07/04

    Now that, that is a really terrible article.

  8. #8 MikeB
    2010/07/04

    I read his articles in the Guardian, which turned out to be a big drama about pretty much nothing. His ‘news’ was mostly spin in order to get a story (he got at least 4 days of double spreads out of it). A journalist shouldn’t conceal news, but neither should they exaggerate a story, especially when they should know better.

    As for his latest article, he quotes Hulme, Watson, von Storch, Curry(!)and Pielke Jr(!!).Round up the usual suspects!
    Fair and balanced or dark side? You decide….

    [To be fair, Watson is real. But his quote tehre is weak. Hulme is a respectable chap but not a major figure. The rest, as you say, have known opinions. It is interesting that he decided this was “balance” -W]

  9. #9 MikeB
    2010/07/05

    There does seem to be a difference between who the media and the scientific community describes as ‘leading researchers’. Its why James Lovelock continues to be described in the Guardian as ‘the globally respected environmental thinker and independent scientist’ – this basically means he’s good for a quote.

    Fred Pearce really should (and I’m sure does)know better. As one comment put it – ‘Typcial Fred Pearce in many ways. Dodgy both sides of the coin stuff’.

    If you wanted to write a reasonably balanced article, you wouldn’t use quotes from Curry and Pielke (or at least not as major sources).

    As for some of the others, Hulme seems to regard denalists and their fellow travellers as people he can have interesting philosophical discussions with over a sherry, while undermining his own life work (the quote ‘Back in the lab, a new generation of more sophisticated computer models is failing to reduce the uncertainties in predicting future climate, he says – rather, the reverse. “This is not what the public and politicians expect, so handling and explaining this will be difficult.” being a case in point).

    Regarding Bob Watson, his hapless attempt to argue his case on BBC4 a while ago showed that he should steer clear of journalists. All in all, its a pretty shoddy article.

    There is actually a really interesting book to be written about the whole case. It would detail the constant and often coordinated attempts to deny that climate change is real, the ease with which the media either directly reports (or at least gives space) to the denalists, and the way in which the media was manipulated, frightened and confused by what actually were fairly unexceptional emails from just one part of the climate community.

    It would also name the writers using the ignorance of the public and media over the story to push their own version of what ‘may’ have happened, as well as the normally fine journalists who jumped on the bandwaggon (thinking it was Watergate), and who lost some or all credibility (Monbiot and Harabin, come on down!).
    Bet it won’t written, because it sounds like a much more interesting read.

  10. #10 Nanette W
    2012/02/24

    Wonder if Fred P. has noticed recent rainfall in southeast Asia lately? Rivers here in Australia are filling the Murray-Darling! Not a dry ‘river-bed’ to be had? No room at the ‘inn’ for Fred then?

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