Posted by: bmeverett | October 25, 2010

A New Low for the New York Times on Climate Change


God bless the New York Times for giving me a never-ending river of topics. Their latest, and one of the most egregious, gifts was an article by John M. Broder in the October 20 edition of the paper entitled “Climate Change Doubt is Tea Party Article of Faith.”

Please read this short article, or, if you prefer, just read the following excerpt: “Skepticism and outright denial of global warming are among the articles of faith of the Tea Party movement, here in Indiana and across the country. For some, it is a matter of religious conviction; for others, it is driven by distrust of those they call the elites. And for others still, efforts to address climate change are seen as a conspiracy to impose world government and a sweeping redistribution of wealth.”

Bear in mind that this was offered by the Times as a news story, not an op-ed or an editorial. Mr. Broder offers us the classic logic of the “climate community,” which runs as follows.
1. All intelligent, right-thinking people understand that we are facing a man-made climate change catastrophe, perhaps the end of life as we know it, and that solving this problem will require a massive increase in government powers and severe restrictions on our stand of living.

2. It is truly puzzling that the public doesn’t buy into this view, and it’s a reporter’s job to discover the basis for this failure on the part of the American people. (The public doesn’t like ObamaCare either, but we’ll have to sort out another time the reasons for that irrational belief).

3. Since the Tea Party is the current home of extremists and lunatics, our search for climate change pathologies should start there.

4. Why do Tea Partiers oppose cap-and-trade? Could it be because climate change science is ambiguous or because the proposed legislation would be extremely costly yet ineffective? Could it be that Tea Partiers don’t trust politicians to run the economy? Nah. It must be because these yahoos are religious (always a good explanation for irrational behavior), resentful of their betters or prone to believing in wild conspiracy theories.

5. In other words, “climate skepticism” is not a viewpoint, it’s a character flaw or perhaps a mental illness.

Last week, NPR fired news analyst Juan Williams for expressing the heretical view that seeing people in Muslim garb on airplanes made him nervous. NPR President Vivian Schiller said that Williams should have kept his views on Muslims between him and “his psychiatrist.” In other words, Williams’ views bring his sanity into question. How else could she explain the fact that Juan holds the wrong views?

There is, of course, one other possible explanation for the bizarre views of the Tea Party on climate change. Broder explains that “The oil, coal and utility industries have collectively spent $500 million just since the beginning of 2009 to lobby against legislation to address climate change and to defeat candidates… who support it, according to a new analysis from the Center for American Progress Action Fund, a left-leaning advocacy group in Washington. Their message appears to have fallen on receptive ears.” Get it? Maybe Tea Partiers aren’t mentally unstable, but just stupid. The sinister energy companies have spent $2.50 to addle the brain of each of the 200 million adult Americans. It’s truly amazing that the oil companies have that much power. BP’s expensive ad campaign following the Deepwater Horizon oil spill last April has convinced the American public that BP was not to blame for the spill. Oh, wait a minute. Forget that argument. Anyway, it’s no wonder that people have such strange ideas. It’s a good thing that the climate community gets its own millions to “educate” the public about the wonders of expensive renewable energy and compact fluorescent light bulbs.

Mr. Broder conjures up a truly frightening vision in which average people are allowed to make up their own minds by considering all different viewpoints on policy issues, even incorrect viewpoints. How can Joe Six-Pack be expected to reach correct conclusions when he receives unfiltered information deliberately propagated by people with agendas? How could a man-on-the-street sort that out unless guided by people who are actually smart? The next thing you know, people who are not professional politicians will be allowed to run for public office. Then we’ll really be headed for hell in a hand basket.

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