NYT Takes on Al Gore and Climate Alarmists...Happy New Year!

The new year is beginning with some very serious shots being fired across the bow of the manmade global warming myth and at alarmists using it to advance their deplorable agendas.

Moments after Investor's Business Daily presaged that "2008 just might be the year the so-called scientific consensus that man is causing the Earth to warm begins to crack," the New York Times of all entities published a rather shocking piece pointing fingers at folks like Nobel Laureate Al Gore for being part of a group of "activists, journalists and publicity-savvy scientists who selectively monitor the globe looking for newsworthy evidence of a new form of sinfulness, burning fossil fuels."

This from the New York Times?

Hold on tightly to your seats, folks, for the shocks in this piece came early and often (emphasis added throughout):

Today's interpreters of the weather are what social scientists call availability entrepreneurs: the activists, journalists and publicity-savvy scientists who selectively monitor the globe looking for newsworthy evidence of a new form of sinfulness, burning fossil fuels.

A year ago, British meteorologists made headlines predicting that the buildup of greenhouse gases would help make 2007 the hottest year on record. At year's end, even though the British scientists reported the global temperature average was not a new record - it was actually lower than any year since 2001 - the BBC confidently proclaimed, "2007 Data Confirms Warming Trend."

When the Arctic sea ice last year hit the lowest level ever recorded by satellites, it was big news and heralded as a sign that the whole planet was warming. When the Antarctic sea ice last year reached the highest level ever recorded by satellites, it was pretty much ignored. A large part of Antarctica has been cooling recently, but most coverage of that continent has focused on one small part that has warmed.

When Hurricane Katrina flooded New Orleans in 2005, it was supposed to be a harbinger of the stormier world predicted by some climate modelers. When the next two hurricane seasons were fairly calm - by some measures, last season in the Northern Hemisphere was the calmest in three decades - the availability entrepreneurs changed the subject. Droughts in California and Australia became the new harbingers of climate change (never mind that a warmer planet is projected to have more, not less, precipitation over all).

Checking that link to make sure it really goes to a Times piece? I understand, I've checked it about nine times, and I still don't believe it:

When judging risks, we often go wrong by using what's called the availability heuristic: we gauge a danger according to how many examples of it are readily available in our minds. Thus we overestimate the odds of dying in a terrorist attack or a plane crash because we've seen such dramatic deaths so often on television; we underestimate the risks of dying from a stroke because we don't have so many vivid images readily available.

Slow warming doesn't make for memorable images on television or in people's minds, so activists, journalists and scientists have looked to hurricanes, wild fires and starving polar bears instead. They have used these images to start an "availability cascade," a term coined by Timur Kuran, a professor of economics and law at the University of Southern California, and Cass R. Sunstein, a law professor at the University of Chicago.

The availability cascade is a self-perpetuating process: the more attention a danger gets, the more worried people become, leading to more news coverage and more fear. Once the images of Sept. 11 made terrorism seem a major threat, the press and the police lavished attention on potential new attacks and supposed plots. After Three Mile Island and "The China Syndrome," minor malfunctions at nuclear power plants suddenly became newsworthy.

And, of course, those that have invested huge amounts of money in green alternatives as well as carbon credit manufacturers - Saint Albert Gore, for example! - benefit tremendously every time attention is drawn to a weather-related issue that can be used to incite fear in the population:

"Many people concerned about climate change," Dr. Sunstein says, "want to create an availability cascade by fixing an incident in people's minds. Hurricane Katrina is just an early example; there will be others. I don't doubt that climate change is real and that it presents a serious threat, but there's a danger that any ‘consensus' on particular events or specific findings is, in part, a cascade."

Once a cascade is under way, it becomes tough to sort out risks because experts become reluctant to dispute the popular wisdom, and are ignored if they do. Now that the melting Arctic has become the symbol of global warming, there's not much interest in hearing other explanations of why the ice is melting - or why the globe's other pole isn't melting, too.

Amazingly, at this point Times author John Tierney addressed studies previously reported by NewsBusters while similarly pointing out how absurd the media's lack of coverage of said items was:

Global warming has an impact on both polar regions, but they're also strongly influenced by regional weather patterns and ocean currents. Two studies by NASA and university scientists last year concluded that much of the recent melting of Arctic sea ice was related to a cyclical change in ocean currents and winds, but those studies got relatively little attention - and were certainly no match for the images of struggling polar bears so popular with availability entrepreneurs.

Could have read that at NewsBusters, right? Same with this:

Roger A. Pielke Jr., a professor of environmental studies at the University of Colorado, recently noted the very different reception received last year by two conflicting papers on the link between hurricanes and global warming. He counted 79 news articles about a paper in the Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society, and only 3 news articles about one in a far more prestigious journal, Nature.

Guess which paper jibed with the theory - and image of Katrina - presented by Al Gore's "Inconvenient Truth"?

It was, of course, the paper in the more obscure journal, which suggested that global warming is creating more hurricanes. The paper in Nature concluded that global warming has a minimal effect on hurricanes. It was published in December - by coincidence, the same week that Mr. Gore received his Nobel Peace Prize.

Incredible. Suddenly, the New York Times is acting as a media analyst exposing liberal bias. How exciting.

Yet, Tierney wasn't done, for in his conclusion, he pointed his pen at the man most responsible for inciting all this hysteria:

In his acceptance speech, Mr. Gore didn't dwell on the complexities of the hurricane debate. Nor, in his roundup of the 2007 weather, did he mention how calm the hurricane season had been. Instead, he alluded somewhat mysteriously to "stronger storms in the Atlantic and Pacific," and focused on other kinds of disasters, like "massive droughts" and "massive flooding."

"In the last few months," Mr. Gore said, "it has been harder and harder to misinterpret the signs that our world is spinning out of kilter." But he was being too modest. Thanks to availability entrepreneurs like him, misinterpreting the weather is getting easier and easier.

So true. Hopefully such will become less easy in 2008 if more writers like Tierney start acting like journalists instead of the green advocates they've been since Gore's schlockumentary was released in early 2006.

After all, it will truly be a happy new year if newspapers like the Times regularly publish articles tearing to shreds the deceptions fostered by Gore and his sycophants thereby shedding light on this issue, and, just maybe, allowing America to prevent a recurrence of the kind of costly foolishness that halted the construction of nuclear power plants decades ago.

Of course, one article like this doth not make a trend. In fact, it seems almost a metaphysical certitude that in an election year, with all the Democrat presidential candidates in lock-step with the availability entrepreneurs, a downpour of sanity regarding this matter is highly unlikely.

But, published just two days before the Iowa caucuses, this piece certainly offers hope that folks in the media are starting to realize all the hysteria being incited by people like Gore is almost as believable as a Hillary Clinton campaign promise.

Noel Sheppard
Noel Sheppard
Noel Sheppard, Associate Editor of NewsBusters, passed away in March of 2014.