08. April 2010 · 6 comments · Categories: politics

Picked up my copy of the Guardian Weekly today, to see a front page story entitled “Trillion-Dollar question: future of climate talks”. Halfway through the article we get:

“Politicians and negotiators will find the mood of the talks very different from where they were left off in Copenhagen in December. For a start, the climate science that has underpinned them has suffered damaging setbacks. There was the leaking from the University of East Anglia’s climate research unit of email exchanges between some of the world’s top meteorologists as well as the discovery that a UN assessment report on climate change had vastly exaggerated the rate of melting of Himalayan glaciers.

The former revelation suggested some researchers were involved in massaging the truth, sceptics claimed, while the latter exposed deficiencies in the way the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change – authors of the report – go about their business. The overall effect has been to damage the credibility of the large number of scientists who fear our planet faces climatic disaster” (The Guardian Weekly, 2-8 April 2010)

This is such utter nonsense, I’m left wondering whether the Guardian has been taken over by Fox news. Lots of good science happened in the last few months, but all the media seems to care about is a minor error in one paragraph of a 3000 page document, and emails that show how much climate scientists are being harassed by denialist bullies. This isn’t a damaging setback, it’s a pack of lies. How did this denialist rhetoric come to dominate the media? Has the entire media now gone into denial? Will we get some kind of ransom note explaining what we have to pay to get our science back?


  1. Sadly, this is nothing more than brute-force economics. Traditional media outlets are under siege, largely by the Internet, so anything they can do to drum up more eyeballs, including telling fairy tales designed to outrage the owners of said eyeballs, is increasingly rationalized as acceptable. More and more of the traditional media is sliding down the slippery slope that leads to sleazy tabloidism; I expect very little improvement from them on climate change, peak oil, general sustainability, and just about any public policy issue.

    Fox has simply decided to be much more blatant about it, and they’ve managed to prove to the world that it works, assuming that by “works” one focuses solely on short-term profit and ignores all that quaint stuff like journalism standards, serving the public interest, etc.

  2. Read this far: “Shock Horror: Naked denialist…”
    Started thinking: “Dear Lord, is it nudes of Lindzen…”

    Thanks for not going there, now if only I hadn’t…

    [Methinks that if the media can play this game with headlines, then so can we 🙂 -Steve]

  3. Hear, hear. We’re being served up click-generating infotainment.

    Compare the coverage at the Guardian of ‘Jones Kills Kittens’ (or whatever it was he was charged with) to ‘Jones Exonerated’. The former produced a rolling, breathless, multi-faceted analysis. The latter received a begrudging acknowledgement – along with Monbiot and Pearce still calling for his head. Contemptible coverage.

  4. Great minds discuss ideas, mediocre minds discuss events, small minds discuss personalities.

    What should an outlet that wants the largest possible audience favor?

  5. If Rupert acquires the Grauniad, the next lede will be :


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