They don’t know how the world works…

“yet tell us how it ought to work”. A quote from Mort Zuckerman, owner and contributor to U.S. News & World Report, The Atlantic and the New York Daily News, about journalists in the July 27 issue of the New Yorker.

It’s this combination of ignorance and arrogance that so irritates me about journalists. There has been no issue that better illustrates this than climate change; an unfathomably complex problem trivialized into good vs. evil by self-righteous idiots. This was in plain view in Newsweek’s last issue which Robert J. Samuelson, a Newsweek contributor, took them to task for.

NEWSWEEK's "denial machine" is a peripheral and highly contrived story. NEWSWEEK implied, for example, that ExxonMobil used a think tank to pay academics to criticize global-warming science. Actually, this accusation was long ago discredited, and NEWSWEEK shouldn't have lent it respectability. (The company says it knew nothing of the global-warming grant, which involved issues of climate modeling. And its 2006 contribution to the think tank, the American Enterprise Institute, was small: $240,000 out of a $28 million budget.)

Exacerbating the problem is that the typical journalist, steeped in obsolete Marxist orthodoxy in college, becomes calcified in this manner of thought when surrounded by those nearly all think the same way. This causes a maddening blinders effect to data that doesn’t support the original narrative.

Take for example this new study from the journal Science:


Previous climate model projections of climate change accounted for external forcing from natural and anthropogenic sources but did not attempt to predict internally generated natural variability. We present a new modeling system that predicts both internal variability and externally forced changes and hence forecasts surface temperature with substantially improved skill throughout a decade, both globally and in many regions. Our system predicts that internal variability will partially offset the anthropogenic global warming signal for the next few years. However, climate will continue to warm, with at least half of the years after 2009 predicted to exceed the warmest year currently on record.

Anyone with an open-minded, fully functioning brain can see that the conclusions of this study are somewhat ambiguous. The study acknowledges that previous models excluded such non-trivial factors such as the Ocean (oops) but produced new better models that suggest that AGW will kick in for real in 2009 – never mind that such claims of better model accuracy get made on a regular basis. Every researcher thinks they’ve figured it out until the model doesn’t fit.

Reuter’s predictable take on the subject.

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Global warming is forecast to set in with a vengeance after 2009, with at least half of the five following years expected to be hotter than 1998, the warmest year on record, scientists reported on Thursday.

Except that new data that Reuters should have been aware of was available before this article was written that shows that 1998 was not “hottest year on record”. Sloppy work from NASA was discovered which skewed recent temperature data and has been officially corrected.

We’ll never see it reported though. Our self-anointed, under educated fixers of the world have predictable, simplistic narratives to write elsewhere.

It's so sad that things like this have to exist.