Sunday, February 7, 2010

Glo Warming-Journalism

What is fascinating to me about the myth of man-made global warming is not only how it came into being, but how the MSM, especially the American MSM will shield real news from the public.

This, from Mark Steyn

House of Peers [Mark Steyn]

As Jonah and I have written here previously, "climate change" is not only a scientific scandal but also a massive journalistic failure. While the "Canadian Journalism Project" continues to insist that dissenting from the orthodoxy is "irresponsible journalism", Matt Ridley at The Spectator acknowledges the reality:

Journalists are wont to moan that the slow death of newspapers will mean a disastrous loss of investigative reporting. The web is all very well, they say, but who will pay for the tenacious sniffing newshounds to flush out the real story? ‘Climategate’ proves the opposite to be true. It was amateur bloggers who scented the exaggerations, distortions and corruptions in the climate establishment; whereas newspaper reporters, even after the scandal broke, played poodle to their sources.

Mr Ridley credits various British, Canadian and American bloggers, and then makes this observation:

Notice that all of these sceptic bloggers are self-employed businessmen. Their strengths are networks and feedback: mistakes get quickly corrected; new leads are opened up; expertise is shared; links are made.

The correcting mechanisms of competitive businesses are largely alien to America's unreadable monodailies, which is why they'll be extinct long before the polar bear. As an example of what Matt Ridley's talking about, consider this piece designed to prop up the increasingly discredited IPCC from ABC Australia's Margot O'Neill. It's a simulacrum of reporting rather than the real thing. It has quotes from impressive sounding experts, but, as Mr Ridley put it above, she is playing "poodle to her sources":

Here is how Queensland University's Professor Ove Hoegh-Guldberg, a world expert on coral reefs and climate change, describes what happened when he contributed a small slice of the 2007 IPCC report:

"The IPCC has one of the most rigorous review processes I have ever experienced. There are various stages of review. The first round involves the working groups picking over the text (hundreds of eyes and qualified expert opinions). If you have been involved in this process, it is a quite an experience which takes months and years - involving a lot of pedantic haggling over detail - but always using the peer-reviewed literature as the base..."

And on he yaks, in great detail. Like all the poodles of the environmental beat, Margot O'Neill repeats those magic words "peer review" every couple of paragraphs like a talisman to ward off evil deniers. But, in the course of invoking the phrase "peer review", she never bothers to look at whether the IPCC actually does it. By contrast, without benefit of the resources of a national TV news operation plus salary and benefits, lone blogger Donna Laframboise did a couple of text searches on the IPCC report and discovered multiple predictions of doom - on Himalayan glacier melt and much else - resting not on peer-reviewed science but merely on activist groups such as the World Wildlife Fund and Greenpeace. Miss Laframboise writes:

Nothing prevented Ms. O'Neil from taking a firsthand look at the IPCC report herself. She, like me, could have typed "WWF" (which stands for the activist group, the World Wildlife Fund) into a search box and found the 16 distinct WWF citations in the IPCC's 2007 report. Within a few minutes she could also have found the eight Greenpeace papers listed...

Instead, Ms. O'Neill - who has 25 years experience as a journalist - was utterly bamboozled by the PR machine which is the IPCC. She fell for their slick mirage. And then she passed it along to her viewers and readers.

For good measure, Miss Laframboise points out that Margot O'Neill was either suckered by or consciously misrepresented her expert witness:

In the process she might have noticed that one of her scientific experts - Professor Ove Hoegh-Guldberg (whom she quoted as saying: "I don't think you could have a more rigorous process") - is a co-author of one of those non-peer-reviewed Greenpeace papers.

The poodles are heading for the endangered species list, and deservedly so.

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