NY Times Fawns Over Bill Nye: ‘Warrior for Science’

Bill Nye got the “rock star” treatment from The New York Times on June 17. John Schwartz’s glowing 1,512-word profile of “The Science Guy” described Nye as a “warrior for science,” and “Springsteen of the nerds.”

At the same time Schwartz lauded Nye, he trashed his opponents on the issue of climate change and clearly sided with climate change alarmism.

He wrote, “In any given week, you’re likely to see Mr. Nye, 57, somewhere on television, calmly countering the arguments made by people like Marc Morano, the former Republican Senate staff member whose industry-funded organization,climatedepot.com, disputes the increasingly well-understood connection between rising levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide and warming.”

Nye used twitter to directly connect weather, regarding the tornado that hit Moore, Okla., to climate change in a tweet saying: “Oklahoma City was hit hard again. Has anyone asked Oklahoma Senator Inhofe about the three large storms in the [past] 14 years?” Inhofe is well known as being skeptical of climate alarmism. Around that time, Nye also went on CNN with Piers Morgan and speculated about a connection between storms and climate change.

Nye said in that CNN interview that “Thunderstorms are driven by heat and a tornado is a super thunderstorm -- result of a super thunderstorm. So you’ve got to figure that if there’s more heat driving the storm then there’s going to be more tornadoes. Now this is the kind of thing that is worth investigating.”

But investigating tornado data actually shows there were fewer EF5 tornadoes in the past 30 years, than the prior 30. Using NOAA data, Dr. Roger Pielke Jr. pointed out there were 38 F5/EF5 tornadoes between 1953 and 1982 in the United States; between 1983 and 2013, there were only 20.

The Times’ glossed over this by saying Nye’s “advocacy can step out in front of scientific consensus” and admitted “a link between climate change and tornadoes has not been established.”

But Schwartz did not include any scientific critics of Nye even though meteorologist Joe Bastardi and The Washington Post have criticized Nye in recent months. Bastardi reacted to Nye’s jab about Oklahoma saying,“It’s called Oklahoma. Look at facts will you. Major tornados on decrease, 2x people there than in 50s.”

Like Nye, some in the news media have tried to make the same connection, including Los Angeles Times reporter Stacey Lessca. Lessca asked Robin Tanamachi from the National Severe Storms Laboratory if “more severe storms are becoming the norm, and do you think that they are directly related to climate change?” Tanamachi rebutted the notion saying“the statistics don’t bear that assertion out.”

Nye’s tornado flap came just a few months after The Washington Post’s Jason Samenow of Capital Weather Gang criticized Nye for “one of the most flawed discussions of meteorology I’ve ever seen on a national network.” He also described Nye’s remarks on climate change as “overly simplistic.” Meteorologist Joe Bastardi has also criticized Nye’s climate change claims.

In addition to being a fervent global warming alarmist, Nye is vehemently anti-creationism. The Times quoted him saying, “The earth’s not 4,000, 6,000, 10,000 years old,” he said. “I’ve got no problem with anybody’s religion. But if you go claiming the earth is only 10,000 years old, that’s just wrong.” Further promoting Nye’s views, Schwartz noted that the Iowa State University audience “roared their approval.” No opposing view was included in the Times’ story.

Julia A. Seymour
Julia A. Seymour
Julia A. Seymour is the Assistant Managing Editor for the MRC's Business and Media Institute.