Isn’t this also kind of an own goal?

Yesterday’s post was about the recent New York Time’s (NYT) Op-Ed by Bret Stephens. Some people, including a number of climate scientists, are sufficiently disappointed in this that they’re publicly cancelling their NYT subscriptions. Tom Yulsman, a journalism professor and journalist, seems to think that this is essentially cutting off their noses to spite their faces. My own view, for what it’s worth, is that it’s their money and they can do with it as they wish.

I had been minded to ignore this aspect of the issue, but in his post, Tom Yulsman quotes from a brief conversation I had with him on Twitter. Rather ironically, in my view, he somewhat twists it to try and make his point. His point seems to be that we should be careful of scoring own goals; his argument is that

….initiating campaigns to punish the Times plays right into the false claims of climate change deniers who say most scientists are rigid ideologues opposed to free speech.

He then quotes a response of mine that suggests that we shouldn’t care. Well, that wasn’t quite what I was getting at, which I thought I had made clear. I was more suggesting that if you’re dealing with those who will almost certainly twist what you’ve said/done, maybe you should simply do what you think is right, rather than worrying about how it might be mis-used.

Having said that, I don’t actually disagree with the idea that we should be somewhat careful of scoring obvious own goals. However, if Tom Yulsman thinks that we essentially have two teams who are trying to score goals, and avoiding own goals, isn’t his own post essentially another own goal? Hasn’t he just provided more ammunition for those who want to criticise those who’ve publicly cancelled their NYT subscriptions? Personally, I don’t like the analogy with soccer (football?), so I think Tom Yulsman is as entitled to write his post as others are to cancel their NYT subscriptions.

I’ll make, however, a broader point. Tom Yulsman’s basic argument is that

the cure for false speech is more truth telling — not less speech.

Well, this has little to do with more speech, or less speech, or free speech (as Tom Yulsman suggests climate change deniers will claim). It’s entirely about people exercising their right to spend their own money as they see fit, and – if they wish – to make a point about how they’re choosing to do so. What’s more, we regularly hear from social scientists that simply presenting more facts/information is an ineffective way of addressing the spread of misinformation. However, almost every time scientists do something more than simply presenting more facts/information, someone will pop up to tell them that they shouldn’t do that either.

My own view is that noone really knows how best to address this kind of thing. My personal preference is, in fact, to simply try and counter misinformation, by providing more information. However, if some wish to cancel their subscriptions to a newspaper that they no long regard as being reliable, that’s their choice. And, if someone thinks this is some kind of game, maybe they should be careful of publicly criticising those that they regard as being on the same team? However, since I don’t claim any special understanding of what works, and what doesn’t, why not just do what you think is right?

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149 Responses to Isn’t this also kind of an own goal?

  1. John Hartz says:

    ATTP: While I tend to agree with you, we do function in a tribalisitc world thanks to the evolution of the blogosphere.

  2. To avoid accusations of cherry-picking myself, below should be our entire Twitter exchange. All Tom Yulsman included was the latter part of my second tweet and his response.

  3. JH,
    Well, yes, but a lot of this is beyond the blogosphere.

  4. cruelclimate says:

    Given that the Times is not suffering from having too much money and given that the Times is producing original journalism most of which (particularly now) is extremely valuable, robbing the Times of the financial support and tangible demonstration of utility of their efforts lent by paid subscriptions would seem to be the “own goal” in this case.

    Failure to help pay for the Times on a matter of principle might be accompanied by a principled promise not to read or otherwise employ the product of the Times, given that their product is so defective as to refuse to pay. Would throwing out 100% of the Times over dissatisfaction with 1% of the product of the Times be a good decision?

  5. cruel,
    I think one can argue that it is indeed ultimately counter-productive to cancel a subscription over one aspect, when most of the rest is actually good and worth supporting. I actually find this a more compelling argument than the “own goal” argument.

    However, this is still people’s own money and they get to choose what to do with it. It also, in my view, has nothing to do with free speech, even if some people might claim that it is an indication of scientists trying to suppress the free speech of others (however, apart from Tom Yulsman suggestion that such claims would be made, I don’t think I’ve seen anyone actually claim this – I haven’t looked very hard, though).

  6. John Hartz says:

    ATTP: So is our tribalism. 🙂

  7. American love talking about free speech, but I wonder if I have ever heard a free-speech argument in the American climate “debate” that actually had to do with free speech.

    I do not write for the NYT. I do not get paid to write. Both facts do not limit my freedom of speech. To pretend otherwise is a weird kind of entitlement.

  8. I do not write for the NYT. I do not get paid to write. Both facts do not limit my freedom of speech. To pretend otherwise is a weird kind of entitlement.

    Exactly. If some people are going to claim that scientists cancelling their subscriptions is a free speech issue, then we should really just laugh at them for not understanding the concept of free speech.

  9. John Hartz says:

    On the other side of the coin, the NYT recently added more journalists to beef up its news coverage of climate change and related issues.

  10. BBD says:

    It’s always going to be the fault of scientists, liberals, progressives etc. The right cannot admit an error on this scale and survive, so the blame *must* be shifted. I recall you saying something along these lines a while back, so I know this isn’t news.

  11. BBD says:

    I recall you saying something

    Sorry JH, that was @ATTP

  12. Eli Rabett says:

    Tom Yulsman, like the Pielkes, is not exactly full of introspection. The whole point of the exercise has been to make clear to the NYTimes management that actions have consequences. They appear to be beginning to get the message, part of which was sent through cancelling subscriptions, part by complaining about the paper to the reporters and now the editors are emerging from their foxholes to try and hold the line.

    It’s about time that the environmental/progressive side learned to bite back and the Trump election with the role that the press played in it from their fear of the right wingers has been a wake up, which is why the pearl clutching about the M4S and the Climate March and the Woman’s March need to be spit back in the face of the moaners.

  13. BBD says:

    It’s about time that the environmental/progressive side learned to bite back

    But that’s exercising the right of free speech, which is a reserved privilege of the right only.

  14. Andy Skuce says:

    There are a few things going on here as well as just the Content of Bret Stephens’ article.

    1. The editors have taken a blame-the-customer attitude. That’s ever a good idea from a retailer’s standpoint, but it rankles particularly here, especially when many people stopped free-riding and decided, as an act of solidarity, to support the NYT in the age of Trump. “Suck it up you intolerant lefties” isn’t exactly great PR in the circumstances.

    To add insult to injury, just today they published pieces on how Trump is evolving for the better and an opinion piece making a case for a vote for Marine Le Pen (spoiler: she’s not as bad as Trump).

    2. Journalists seem dismayed that disgruntled readers don’t make the distinction between news and opinion. In journalistic culture, these may well be two solitudes, with a very different emphasis on fact-checking and distinct styles of writing. But most readers are aware that opinion/orientation is ever-present in news articles and that fact-checking and backing up of claims with evidence ought to apply equally to opinion pieces.

    3. Some people are still pissed off with the NYT for its false-balance reporting in the last election. In particular, the reporting of the non-story of Clinton’s emails. Some older fogies (sorry, Eli) are still bitter about the NYT support for invading Iraq. This Stephens hiring was the last straw.

    4. A digital subscription costs USD250 a year. That can buy a lot of beer, which should ease the pain of no longer being able to read unlimited amounts of David Brooks or Maureen Dowd. I’m going to continue to pay for the NYT stories that do I read through Blendle, where you pay cents per article. I’m hoping that this will get the message through about what sort of content is valued.

    5. There’s the idea that including Stephens is essential to balance the political opinion page. Yet there is no NYT opinion columnist who takes the standpoint of the Bernie Sanders left, nor, say, anyone who could be called a social justice warrior, focussing on minority rights and identities.

  15. > But that’s exercising the right of free speech, which is a reserved privilege of the right only.

    As if on cue:

  16. Where was he to defend evidence vs bullshit when I wrote this?

    I think quite a lot of people think that Nate Silver did indeed defend evidence vs bullshit.

  17. Willard says:

    Dear cruelclimate,

    Please mind your pseudonym.

    Thank you for your concerns.

  18. Willard says:

    A blast from a recent past:

    I dropped unScientific unAmerican years ago when the then new editor in chief went whole hog on socialist economics entwined with Keynesian central planning and touting it as THE best economic system. He then went on to pimp for AGW at which time I cancelled my subscription (along with many other folks).

    https://realclimatescience.com/2016/12/the-ministry-of-truth-never-rests/#comment-31332

    Free bandwagon inside!

  19. Willard says:

    Somehow related:

    I have decided not to renew my AAAS membership because of this farce.

    https://judithcurry.com/2016/07/04/climate-power-play-by-the-aaas-et-al/#comment-794290

    After free speech, TomY might need to pay due diligence to the right of association.

  20. Magma says:

    Andy: Thank you for hitting every point I would have.

    Eli: As you basically note, NYT management may be foolish, but they are not generally stupid. Running a for-profit enterprise means they will monitor the effects of decisions. Make a bad hire, then stubbornly double or triple down on it, sow discord in their own staff, and watch thousands of subscriptions averaging $100 to $200/year walk away? They’ll learn, eventually.

  21. > There’s the idea that including Stephens is essential to balance the political opinion page.

    Yep, which looks to me like being all about market share, Andy S.:

    In discussing the Times’ expansion, [NYT opinion editor James] Bennet said there “are many shades of conservatism and many shades of liberalism,” and the Times owes it to readers to “capture a wide range.”

    […]

    The charge that Stephens is a “climate denialist” is “terribly unfair,” Bennet said. “There’s more than one kind of denial,” he continued. “And to pretend like the views of a thinker like Bret, and the millions of people who agree with him on a range of issues, should simply be ignored, that they’re outside the bounds of reasonable debate, is a really dangerous form of delusion.”

    I’m sympathetic to the fiscal pressures on print media in the Age of Internets; I argue, however, the most dangerous delusion of all is that truth is solely a matter of personal taste and that we consumers are somehow entitled to a buffet of self-pleasing alternatives.

    ***

    > They’ll learn, eventually.

    I’m not so … certain … Magma. 🙂

    ***

    > We could counterfactualize the act of cancelling a subscription

    Good one, W.

  22. Willard says:

    After Judy’s declaration that she wouldn’t renew her APS membership, she opened a thread to APS members only, with statements from Roger Cohen, William Happer, Robert Knox, David Douglass & alii:

    https://judithcurry.com/2015/04/20/aps-members-comment-on-climate-change-statement/

    Perhaps I should tell TomY about these free speech infractions.

  23. climatehawk1 says:

    Yulsman’s argument seems like a form of cherry picking to me. My guess is that the NYT says many things every day that Michael Mann, Stefan Rahmstorf, and others disagree with, but they’re rigid ideologues in openly expressing and acting on their disagreement with one specific very offensive action by the paper?

    In any event, I’m not cancelling my subscription, because I like the NYT and generally find it very informative. I’m going to do my best to be in their face about this decision, though, on a regular basis. As I said in a blog post a few years ago, they’ve generally been out to lunch on the most important issue of our time (though their coverage has improved sharply of late), so it’s not a surprise that there are still elements of management that are clinging to the conventional stupid.

  24. Eli Rabett says:

    Magma, they need to be reminded. The history of the thing is that if they hippie punch they pay no price and if there is any noise about a push back they play the free speech tango.. That may be changing, if for no other reason than Trump..

  25. russellseitz says:

    The Times status as a commited organ of humanist environmentalsm , and a founder and patron of the new art form of environmental journalism – Cornelia Dean & Andy Revkin are but two examples, should not distract us from its being a New York paper whose writers coexist with and come in more considerable measue come from The New Yorker, The Nation, and the NYRB.

    Leavening that mix with two National Review refugees and a WSJ guy with neocon street cred as former Editor in Chief Jerusalem Post doesn’t mean a takeover by The Washington Times, but it does illustrate the consequences of conservative journals to add even a token Science Editor to their mastheads to do what the rest do- fact check press releases from increasingly polarized think tanks.

    Gone are the days when many a science war could be headed off by threatening to bring a conspicuously hype-ridden prss release to the attention of the Darts & Laurels department of Columbia Journalism Review.

  26. Willard says:

  27. John Hartz says:

    Re continuing my subscriptionto the NYT. I’m in agreement with climatehawke1.

    FWIW, Chris Mooney and his Energy & Environment crew at the Washington Post are the most prolific climate journalists of any US MSM news outlet. I post links to more of their articles on the SkS FB page than any other group of journalists. They also have an excellent track record of getting the science right.

    PS – How many progressives stopped watching the Rachel Maddow show when MSNBC started to broadcast the Greta Van Sustern show?

  28. Anders,

    > I think quite a lot of people think that Nate Silver did indeed defend evidence vs bullshit.

    I like what Kerry Emanuel did in his rebuttal article:

    One would be foolish to make plans that have to deal with U.S. hurricane risk without accounting for the evidence that the underlying risk is increasing, whether or not actuarial trends have yet emerged at the 95 percent confidence level.

    This is particularly so when one accounts for another form of prior information: theory and models. While some disagreement remains about projections of the weakest storms, which seldom do much damage, both theory and models are now in good agreement that the frequency of high category hurricanes should increase, as should hurricane rainfall and the flooding it produces.

    It ain’t all about Teh Evidence. And besides, I hear tell that overweening scientism is a Bad Thing.

  29. Scientists have been trying to get the United States, and its government, to take the threat of climate disruption seriously for 60 years. We have made some progress, but it is not at all clear this might not have happened anyway due to the natural course of technological innovation.

    I don’t think my cancellation is going to impede progress on the U.S. government taking mitigation seriously.

    And my cancellation might well send a signal that there are certain obtjective facts about Nature which are not negotiable. Responses and policies are negotiable, but not physical facts. And if they believe “All’s negotiable” or “All viewpoints have equal weight”, then I want nothing at all to to do with them anyway. How can I trust them about squishier matters when they cannot get this correct?

    Nature will speak soon enough. And, sorry, I’ll laugh at them, as I’ve said many times before. No matter what it costs them.

  30. “the cure for false speech is more truth telling — not less speech.

    Well, this has little to do with more speech, or less speech, or free speech (as Tom Yulsman suggests climate change deniers will claim). It’s entirely about people exercising their right to spend their own money as they see fit, and – if they wish – to make a point about how they’re choosing to do so.”

    I found the threats to not give stories to the NYT interesting.

  31. “ATTP: While I tend to agree with you, we do function in a tribalisitc world thanks to the evolution of the blogosphere.”

    technology amplifies it does not create tribalism.

    Its fun to watch tribes police their borders.

  32. Susan Anderson says:

    It is unfortunately not possible to convey to the NYT management the quality of the people who have publicly cancelled. On the whole, I think they have more than compensated for this poor choice (in Opinion, anyways) with a wide range of fine new reporting (the Magazine last weekend, for example). I had a much bigger issue with them last year over their coverage of Rep. Lamar Smith’s attacks on science. They gave him two OpEds, Justin Gillis one middling article, Mike Mann one OpEd, and Thayer one OpEd (“Scientists, Give Up Your Emails”). I make that 3 nasty fake attacks to 1 & 3/4 honest science, and that was just wrong. Nobody cancelled about that, either.

    This time it was nearly a dozen genuinely interesting stories, some cover material, and one opinion piece.

    Their coverage of Trump is excessive, and their coverage of Hillary almost always mentioned her negatives and the false narrative about corruption, no matter how positive. They covered the race rather than the substance.

    They’re still doing that. It is hard to find other news. But it helps if people understand that Opinion is Opinion.

  33. ” Make a bad hire, then stubbornly double or triple down on it, sow discord in their own staff, and watch thousands of subscriptions averaging $100 to $200/year walk away? They’ll learn, eventually.”

    with 3 million subscribers… you might get folks attention if 150000 people gave up their subscriptions.

    Personally, I’d fire Stephens and charge folks triple to re subscribe

  34. Phil Scadden says:

    What I want to see in newspapers is “true speech”. Op ed is fine place to display your opinion but if you lace it with demonstrable porkies, then it is not free speech, it’s just lies. If your hire cant get his/her facts right, then time to fire.

  35. And, if such were done, just as if a comparable offer were made from Verizon or Hulu, I’d tell ’em to stuff it. I have WaPo, SfChronicle, ATTP,, Rabbett Run, Bloomberg, and Ars Technica.

  36. danialcblog says:

    @John Hartz
    PS – How many progressives stopped watching the Rachel Maddow show when MSNBC started to broadcast the Greta Van Sustern show?

    John the Brett Stephens issue is not political in that sense. If the NYTs opinion page wanted to hire George Will I could not give a shit. I’m a Marxist yet I still like to read and often enjoy certain authors on National Review (unrelated to warming or defaming).

    That Stephens is a right winger is neither here nor there, it’s that he has carved out a lucrative career by passing himself off as some kind of informed scientific worrier /expert in both science and mitigation when he’s just a very loud, common or garden stinking denier made louder at a dangerous time for the US polity.
    I cancelled my long-held subscription and in return was given a lecture (and a rates bribe) via email about the NYT’s desperate need to broaden my thinking.

    The New York Times is committed to bringing our readers every side to every story, and part of that is telling stories from multiple perspectives and voices. We often find that providing our readers with different perspectives that challenge their own is crucial to understanding the whole story. Hiring Bret Stephens is an effort to provide a new perspective to The Times, and bring our readers greater understanding of the world (and all the different voices within it).

    This is the NYT’s fabulous purchase.

  37. John Hartz says:

    danialcblog: George Will has dissed the scientific consensus about manmade climate change for years. I used to enjoy reading him when he was young and lucid – even though I have always been a progressive-liberal.. He should retire before he completely turns into a blathering idot.

  38. russellseitz says:

    We seem to have arrived at zero-sum indignation.

    The New York Times loss isn’t even The Guardian’sgain, as so much of the latter’s op-ed content is already mirrored in Science and Nature.

  39. danialcblog says:

    @ John Hartz. Yes but he is not a denier /warrior. If you were to have asked me what Will’s main concerns were I would not have included science and mitigation. Bret on the other hand makes a very fine living out of it.

  40. John Hartz says:

    denialcblog: Until this brouhaha erupted, i didn’t know that Bret* Stephens existed.

    *The correct spelling of his first name.

  41. danialcblog says:

    @ John Hartz. Paywalls eh?. It’s impossible to free ride at the WSJ but thanks to the NYT EVERYBODY will know who Bret is.

  42. danialcblog says:

    The only upside to the NYT signing Stephens is that the NYT has half the circulation of the WSJ.

  43. Emeritus says:

    Mann should not be one and only beacon of climate science. He made a fool of him selv by being the one and only “scientist” in the Curry, Pielcke jr., Christy and Mann soap opera. He made a fool of him self by canceling his NYT subscription. If he can’t stand that NYT – among hundredes of journalists – hire one climate sceptic, he should get out of the kitchen. He is probably a decent climate scientist, but a PR hell for climate science.

  44. Emeritus,

    Mann should not be one and only beacon of climate science.

    He isn’t.

    He made a fool of him selv by being the one and only “scientist” in the Curry, Pielcke jr., Christy and Mann soap opera.

    Not quite sure what you’re getting at here; he didn’t get to decide who would be invited to testify.

    He made a fool of him self by canceling his NYT subscription.

    He wasn’t alone in cancelling his subscription.

    f he can’t stand that NYT – among hundredes of journalists – hire one climate sceptic, he should get out of the kitchen.

    The argument is actually that if you’re going to promote yourself (the NYT) as a beacon for truth, then maybe don’t go an hire someone who is going to muddy the water about a topic that many regard as very important. How they chose to respond to that is up to them (free world, and all that).

  45. Emeritus says:

    “The argument is actually that if you’re going to promote yourself (the NYT) as a beacon for truth, then maybe don’t go an hire someone who is going to muddy the water about a topic that many regard as very important.”

    This is a freedom of speech matter.

    I don’t disagree that Stephens is mudding the waters, but others may disagree. And unless the opinion is far out in crackpot area, it should not be banned which a cancelling of a subscription is a encouragement to do.

    I do not know much about Stephens, but according to his latest piece in NYT, he seems to be in Curryterritory?

  46. Emeritus,

    This is a freedom of speech matter.

    I disagree very strongly. Freedom of speech refers only to your speech being curtailed by a government. Noone has the right to become an Op-Ed writer in the NYT and noone is obliged to pay to read what he writes. People are perfectly entitled to decide no longer to pay for something if they think it is no longer delivering the service that they thought they were paying for (to be clear, I’m not arguing that they should do so, simply that they have the right to do so and that this is not a freedom of speech issue).

    And unless the opinion is far out in crackpot area, it should not be banned which a cancelling of a subscription is a encouragement to do.

    Again, this has nothing to do with banning Stephens or stopping him from expressing his views. It is entirely about people deciding whether or not they want to keep spending their own money on a subscription to a newspaper. It’s almost as if you’re suggesting that they should be banned from stopping their subscription?

    I do not know much about Stephens, but according to his latest piece in NYT, he seems to be in Curryterritory?

    Yes, this would seem a fair description.

  47. Emeritus says:

    This is obviously a freedom of speech matter and not about Mann’s contractual right to drop his NYT subscription. Mann is exercising his contractual right as a subscriber of NYT to cancel his subscription, and that could be done in a simple e-mail without anybody had to know it.
    The cancellation is a tool for Mann to tell the editorial board what is acceptable scientific opinion and what is not. It is naïve to believe that censure only is opinions that SCOTUS banns.

  48. MarkB says:

    Emeritus: The cancellation is a tool for Mann to tell the editorial board what is acceptable scientific opinion and what is not.

    If you’re trolling, the juxtaposition of a free speech argument with the suggestion that Michael Mann shut up is modestly clever. If you’re actually trying to make a coherent argument, it’s more than a minor defect.

  49. BBD says:

    This is obviously a freedom of speech matter

    By definition it is not, as ATTP just said:

    I disagree very strongly. Freedom of speech refers only to your speech being curtailed by a government. Noone has the right to become an Op-Ed writer in the NYT and noone is obliged to pay to read what he writes.

  50. Emeritus,

    This is obviously a freedom of speech matter and not about Mann’s contractual right to drop his NYT subscription.

    1. This is not just Michael Mann (why do you seem to think that this is Michael Mann only?).

    2. Freedom of speech really does refer to a government preventing someone from speaking, or preventing certain views from being aired. So, no, it’s not obviously a freedom of speech matter. You can keep arguing that it is, but it’s certainly not obviously so.

    Mann is exercising his contractual right as a subscriber of NYT to cancel his subscription, and that could be done in a simple e-mail without anybody had to know it.

    Yes, but it doesn’t have to be. There isn’t some rule that says that you mustn’t make a public fuss about an organisation no longer providing the service that you expect.

    The cancellation is a tool for Mann to tell the editorial board what is acceptable scientific opinion and what is not.

    Again, why do you keep claiming that it is only Michael Mann? Yes, it is people telling the NYT what they regard as being acceptable.

    It is naïve to believe that censure only is opinions that SCOTUS banns.

    I didn’t actually say this. I said freedom of speech refers to your right to express views without being suppressed by the government. It doesn’t refer to your right to pen Op-Eds in the NYT.

    I will grant you that I do worry about the media adjusting their views to maximise profits, rather than ensuring that what they present is a fair reflection of what is actually happening (and, hence, being influenced by subscription pressure). However, this doesn’t mean that people can’t be critical of what is presented in a newspaper and can’t choose to no longer support one that presents views that they disagree with. Also, this is about an Op-Ed writer, not an investigative journalist. He’s hired to express his opinions, and others are free to state that his opinions suck. Personally, I thought his article was pretty poor, irrespective of what he said about climate science specifically.

  51. Willard says:

    Dear ClimateBall friends,

    I had not intended to discuss this controversial subject at this particular time. However, I want you to know that I do not shun controversy. On the contrary, I will take a stand on any issue at any time, regardless of how fraught with controversy it might be. You have asked me how I feel about MikeM. All right, here is how I feel about MikeM:

    If when you say MikeM you mean the devil’s statistician, the Twitter scourge, the bloody monster, that defiles innocence, dethrones reason, destroys the home, creates misery and poverty, yea, literally takes the bread from the mouths of the poor children of developing nations; if you mean the evil climate scientist that topples the auditing man and woman from the pinnacle of righteous, gracious living into the bottomless pit of degradation, and despair, and shame and helplessness, and hopelessness, then certainly I am against his stance.

    But, if when you say MikeM you mean the oil of conversation, the philosophic wine, the ClimateBall character that is discussed when good fellows get together, that puts a song in their hearts and laughter on their lips, and the warm glow of contentment in their eyes; if you mean AGU cheer; if you mean the stimulating climate scientist that puts the spring in the old gentleman’s step on a frosty, crispy morning; if you mean the climate scientist which enables a man to magnify his joy, and his happiness, and to forget, if only for a little while, life’s great tragedies, and heartaches, and sorrows; if you mean that climate scientist whose book pours into our treasuries untold millions of dollars, which are used to provide tender care for our little crippled children, our blind, our deaf, our dumb, our pitiful aged and infirm; to build highways and hospitals and schools, then certainly I am for his stance.

    This is my stand. I will not retreat from it. I will not compromise.

    ***

    Please mind your nickname, dear Emeritus.

  52. Eli Rabett says:

    IEHO Matt Yglesias had it right. First the NYTimes suppressed its own reporting on Trump Russia and blew up the Clinton Email nothing burger. Then they went out and got a lot of subscriptions from those who were horrified by Trump;s election saying that the NYTimes would hold him to account, that they were the only thing between the US and disaster. Now Stephens. They already have two op ed folk, Brooks, Douthat, playing the right side of the never Trump street.

    It was too much. The new subscribers see the hippie punching act and are leaving. They never had much loyalty, but it was any port in a storm. About the only thing the Times might be able to do is hire a couple of voices slightly to the left of Gehngis Khan, maybe even of Krugman. They are never going to do a 538 and can Stephens.

  53. JCH says:

    I left the NYT behind long ago because of their horrifically bad coverage of WMD in Iraq.

  54. Chris says:

    Unfortunately pretty much everything is an own goal when viewed from the defensive perspective…Marches for Science is an “own goal” since some people carried anti-Trump placards (Wm Connolley)…Fyfe et al is an “own goal” since they mentioned “hiatus” (citizenschallenge et al) [1] … a bunch of other papers that addressed the early 20th century surface temperature slowdown are “own goals” because they supposedly treated the phenomenon as “a problem for climate science” (Lewandowsky) [2]

    …if it ain’t perfect (according to one’s chosen criteria) it’s an “own goal” …

    Anyway, people should do what they think is right, scientists should keep on gathering evidence and disseminating this since that’s ultimately what’s going to make a difference…and everyone should highlight and counter misrepresentation where they can, and if they feel they should withdraw their NYT subscription that’s good and if they don’t that’s fine too….none of these things are really “own goals” unless we make them so..

    [1] even if they never used the term to describe the early 20th century surface temperature slowdown at all..
    [2] even though they didn’t..

  55. izen says:

    @-Eli Rabett
    Yes, excellent analysis. You cannot brand yourself as a source of truth and then hire a liar.
    Depressing comments following though.

    But boycotts are an exercise in group solidarity more than an effective tool to influence any enterprise. The boycott of Disney who brand as ‘family friendly’, by Christian evangelicals has failed to to prevent Disney from betraying its branding by making positive statements about homosexuals!

  56. David B. Benson says:

    At the risk of pointing to something sort of scientific, well, statistical anyway, in
    https://bravenewclimate.com/2016/09/10/open-thread-26/#comment-470348
    there is a link to an interesting paper which shows that carbon dioxide statistically causes global warming in the recent historical period but with the opposite causality in paleodata. I urge reading it, mayhap commenting upon it.

  57. David,
    Isn’t that result partly obvious? Certainly the trigger for the release of CO2 during past changes has been (in the case of Milankovitch cycles, at least) orbitally forced warming. Of course, the CO2 then drives further warming, etc, but the change in CO2 during those past warming/cooling events was certainly linked to temperature changes. That’s not true now because we’re digging up and burning fossil fuels at a rate much faster than the rate at which these fossil fuels were formed.

  58. Emeritus says:

    >>>Again, why do you keep claiming that it is only Michael Mann?

    Simply because in my understanding Mann is the one that has started this action;

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/new-york-times-bret-stephens-subscriptions_us_5904171ce4b02655f83db230

    In my opinion it’s far over the top not to accept views like Currys and Stephens in the sense that they should not be able to get their message thru. In Norway we have a group – Kliamrealistene – who in my mind are simply crackpots, but I think they are very serious about their views on climate science and really believes all the conspiracy theories they are promoting. I have defended their “right” to be heard, and their “right” to now and then get some access in MSM. MSM has of course no obligation to promote such views. But in order to get it right, it’s necessary to let the crackpots out in the open and then ridicule and attack it. Otherwise they will only get yet another confirmation that their views are so spot on and dangerous for the establishment, that they even get censored.

  59. Emeritus,

    Simply because in my understanding Mann is the one that has started this action;

    I have no idea if he started it, but he’s certainly not the only person who has chosen to cancel their subscription.

    In my opinion it’s far over the top not to accept views like Currys and Stephens in the sense that they should not be able to get their message thru.

    I don’t think anyone has to accept the views of others. That’s a choice. Also, noone is trying to stop them from getting their message through, they’re simply objecting to a specific newspaper hiring an Op-Ed writer who presents views that they regard as flawed.

    I have defended their “right” to be heard, and their “right” to now and then get some access in MSM.

    If people were actually arguing that the MSM should be prevented from presenting the views of Curry/Stephens, then I would be defending them too. However, this is not what’s being suggested, therefore I don’t see any reason to defend them.

    But in order to get it right, it’s necessary to let the crackpots out in the open and then ridicule and attack it.

    Indeed, this is one way. Another is to stop subscribing to a newspaper that promotes these views. Remember, this is people’s own money that they’re choosing not to spend. I certainly don’t think that the NYT stopping presenting these views is somehow going to stop them from being presented elsewhere – there seem to be plenty of MSM outlets that are happy to promote crackpot ideas.

    To be clear, I don’t know if publicly stopping subscribing to the NYT will be an effective strategy, or not. However, I do not see this as a free speech issue and I think people have every right to decide what to do with their own money.

  60. verytallguy says:

    their “right” to now and then get some access in MSM.

    This made me chuckle, given the disparity between their abject failure to make any significant impact on the scientific debate against their routine high profile exposure in the MSM.

  61. Marco says:

    Emeritus, two things to consider:
    a) Stephens already has had MSM access for years, working at the WSJ as he did. Lindzen has regular Op-Eds in the WSJ, too
    b) Stephens isn’t just someone who on occasion will get an Op-Ed in the NYT, he is now a columnist for the NYT. That is, he’s now one of the faces of the NYT. What would you think if e.g. Claes Johnson becomes a regular columnist for Aftenposten?

  62. BBD says:

    Nutters have no ‘right’ (with or without scare quotes) of to access to the MSM. Nor does the MSM have any obligation to broadcast the views of nutters.

  63. lerpo says:

    “initiating campaigns to punish the Times plays right into the false claims of climate change deniers who say most scientists are rigid ideologues opposed to free speech.”

    This is something only a liberal would worry about. Scientists speak out against a paper or Op-Ed when it is full of lies. There is no need to pussy-foot here.

    If someone serves you a plate full of manure and calls it figgy pudding you don’t have to gulp it down with a “thanks for the pudding sir!”

    That’s not a mistake or a difference of opinion. It’s OK to call it shit. Even if he plays the victim card. He has no place in the kitchen. The restaurateur ought to know that you aren’t going to eat there, even if their other dishes aren’t so bad.

  64. Magma says:

    @ Eli May 2, 2017 at 1:58 am

    Will Bunch makes some solid points in the column you linked to. I may have been too deferential with respect to the NYT management’s business acumen. I forgot that it, like many other papers, has been struggling to develop an effective business model for years now. Insulting readers is never a good plan when every subscription lost comes straight off your margin of profit.

  65. Magma says:

    And Bret Stephens has doubled down with a response to readers that is simultaneously defensive, inane, and condescending. Well done, Bret, if that was your goal.

  66. John Hartz says:

    It’s hard to keep a pundit down…

    My first column, “SubmitClimate of Complete Certainty,” published last week, and drew more than 1,800 comments on the column and Submiton SubmitFacebook. I’m answering some of them here, edited lightly for length and clarity.

    Answering Your Climate Questions, Op-ed #2 by Bret Stephens, New Yotk Times, May 1, 2017

    Controversy is the MSM’s bread and butter.

  67. Susan Anderson says:

    Thanks John Hartz, you beat me to it. This was almost worse than the original, and it had no place to respond. Even among the cherrypicked people to whom he chose to respond, he left out part of what they said. For example, the first one:

    “My own take on the rational response to climate change research is shaped by Pascal’s Wager. Although this 17th century French mathematician and philosopher applied his framework to the speculative question of whether God exists, the same logic applies here. Whether or not you believe in God or human-driven climate change, in either case, if you live a righteous life, the upside rewards are incalculably enormous, while the downside risks are bounded, tolerable and probably pretty good.”

    He also ignored 99% of the responses and chose those that fed his preference for ignoring the problem. The one about waiting for technology (he’s a fan of Lomborg) was particularly egregious. He stumped Bill Maher who wasn’t prepared when he praised Lomborg to the skies. (Kind of like Revkin calling Happer brilliant).

    I’m trying hard to point out that the NYT does some good reporting, but they are trying even harder to make my point of view impossible to support.

    The guy’s apparent “niceness” is ugly.

  68. Susan Anderson says:

    Here’s the Maher. If your time is limited go to minute 2 for the gagworthy Lomborg bit and Maher’s weak response.

  69. Michael 2 says:

    Magma writes: “Insulting readers is never a good plan when every subscription lost comes straight off your margin of profit.”

    Your assessment offers a limited view of possibilities. Insulting the left appeals to the right; insulting the right appeals to the left. So you look to see who has money, how much they are willing to spend and on what. Insulting others is fun but from a business perspective it is better to insult the young, white, unemployed Wall Street Occupiers and Cliimate Marchers that aren’t your subscribers anyway.

  70. Thanx. Funny that Maher, a popular atheist that I admire, appeals to authority and consensus.

  71. TE,
    So you would never see an occasion where knowing the consensus position (or that it exists) is somehow appropriate? Can’t see how that can be realistic; we rely on experts (authority) and agreed positions (consensus) a great deal.

  72. TE,
    You also seem to have ignored that Bret Stephens appealed to authority too (Lomborg and his Nobel Laureates).

  73. John Hartz says:

    Michael2: I believe it safe to assume that Stephens and the folk who hired him subscribe to the notion that there is no such thing as “bad news” . (Our el Presidente not only subscribes to the theory but gleefully wallows in it.)

  74. Hah! Busloads of fully employed (in corporations!) as well as wealthy retired people descended upon Washington, DC for the climate march from Massachusetts. I don’t know where you think you are getting this “unemployed” crud.

  75. Susan Anderson says:

    I rather like Maher, but don’t watch him much, and my point was that he didn’t have ready to hand the history with Lomborg and therefore failed to respond to the substance rather than the best-selling lies and evasions of Lomborg and his handpicked crew. http://www.lomborg-errors.dk/ “the errors seem not to be inadvertent, but to follow a general pattern, they give a bias in a certain direction, probably an intended bias. If the errors remain uncommented, the readers of Lomborg´s books will be misled in this distinct direction . There are many examples where the misleading seems to be deliberate, which indicates that Lomborg is dishonest and covers up a hidden agenda.”

    https://www.yaleclimateconnections.org/2011/05/a-critical-review-of-bjorn-lomborgs-cool-it/

    Experienced reporters have grown weary of Lomborg’s relentless optimism. But as posts on The Yale Forum, Columbia Journalism Review and elsewhere repeatedly note, experienced science reporters are increasingly rare in today’s newsrooms. Despite the books and websites devoted to enumerating his errors, Lomborg has little to fear from the increasingly inexperienced and harried “general assignment” reporters who staff news organizations and departments — or from news editors or from those who book guests for talk shows. And in their copy, Bjorn yesterday will readily be Bjorn again.

    Probably the best was written by the very fine writer Sharon Begley – http://www.newsweek.com/debunking-lomborg-climate-change-skeptic-75173 – it’s too long to extract. She begins, “In naming roustabout, lumberjack, ironworker, and dairy farmer America’s “worst jobs,” CareerCast.com omitted one whose awfulness is counterbalanced only by its public-spiritedness: fact-checking Bjørn Lomborg.”

    She then went on to fact check Friel’s complaints, finding them somewhat too strong, but on the whole accurate. The problem is, Lomborg is presentable (in a different way from Stephens) and bookable, and his facility with misrepresentation is deeply unhelpful to public understanding.

  76. Magma says:

    …like Revkin calling Happer brilliant — Susan Anderson

    Ugh. Revkin actually wrote that: https://www.propublica.org/article/a-physicist-and-possible-adviser-to-trump-describes-his-love-of-science-co2 Do any of these pundits ever meet or deal with real working scientists on a regular basis? Their gullibility and lack of standards are astonishing.

    In 2010 (the latest publicly available survey data from the AIP) there were 5600 physics faculty members in PhD-granting American universities. Take that as a rough proxy for physics researchers, then add a comparable number of geoscientists, chemists and biologists, plus a smaller number of meteorologists and oceanographers, then add retired or emeritus professors to the list and you have, let’s say, ~75,000 potential ‘qualified’ opinions in the U.S. alone. Now search that large group for highly motivated contrarians happy to talk nonsense in public… have journalists ever considered how easy it would be to find a handful of individuals willing to argue that anthropogenic climate change is a myth?

  77. John Hartz says:

    A couple of provocative paragraphs from an interesting cirtique of Joe Romm’s reaction to Stephen’s initial N Y Times op-ed.

    “Delayer” would be more applicable to Stephens, who in 2015 shared “a climate prediction for the year 2115: Liberals will still be organizing campaigns against yet another mooted social or environmental crisis. Temperatures will be about the same.”

    “Disinformer” would be better, too. Stephens has a habit of using logically flawed comparisons to sow doubt about climate change projections. Election models were wrong about a Hillary Clinton victory, so climate models could be wrong, too, he argued in his first Times column. Weather forecasts are sometimes inaccurate, Stephens has noted, so why put faith in climate forecasts?

    The problem with calling Bret Stephens a climate change ‘denier’, Analyis by Callum Borchers, The Fix, Washington Post, May 1, 2017

    On the one hand, I’m somewhat surprised by extent of the news media coverage of the “Stephens Affair>” On the hand, I am not because the news media loves to report on the conroversies within the news media. The firing of Bill O’Reilly by Fox News is another case in point.

  78. John Hartz says:

    Magma: The folks in Deniersville have been searching for scientists willing to argue that anthropogenic climate change is a myth for at least three decades. Their list is rather short.

  79. Magma says:

    John Hartz: Short indeed. If you or I provided such a list but included only first names, most readers here would still know exactly who we were talking about.
    John
    Judith
    Richard
    Roger
    Willie
    William
    Ivar
    Roy
    Fred
    Freeman
    Nils-Axel
    (admittedly the last two are somewhat distinctive)

  80. Michael 2 says:

    First name quiz of the Short List: I recognize seven of them.

    John Cook but probably not who you meant.
    Judith Curry
    Richard Tol
    Roger Pielke Jr and Sr
    Willie Soon
    William ?
    Ivar’s Acres of Clams in Seattle. Probably not who you meant.
    Roy Spencer
    Fred ? Not famous enough evidently.
    Freeman Dyson
    Nils-Axel ? Also not famous enough.

  81. BBD says:

    John Christy
    William Happer
    Ivar Giaever
    Fred S. Singer
    Nils-Axel Morner

    Some real OG deniers there, M2. You should know your gang better than you do.

  82. Michael 2 says:

    BBD “Some real OG deniers there, M2. You should know your gang better than you do.”

    Thanks for the suggestion. Two of them I’ve really never heard of; Ivar and Nils. The others, John Cristy, William Happer, Fred Singer I’ve heard of but not enough to put their names in my memory.

    It would be interesting to have a short list of advocates and see how we do.

  83. It would be interesting to have a short list of advocates and see how we do.

    This is an interesting resonse. The list is a list of scientists who are dismissive of AGW, and yet your immediate association is with advocates. Says it all, really.

  84. John Hartz says:

    Magma: You forgot to list the 30,000 plus (some now dead) people who signed the OISM. 🙂

  85. Mal Adapted says:

    M2:

    Two of them I’ve really never heard of; Ivar and Nils. The others, John Cristy, William Happer, Fred Singer I’ve heard of but not enough to put their names in my memory.

    Is anyone surprised, that our most tenacious pseudo-skeptic lacks a deep acquaintance with the sources for many of the sciencey talking points he uses in his own advocacy?

  86. The NCSE – National Center for Science Education has started a Project Steve, in response to lists of creationist “scientists” to make clear how many scientists support evolution. Does anyone have the time to start a climate project Mike?

  87. John Hartz says:

    Im not so sure that I agree with your characterization of Michael2. Underneath his Libertarian veneer is fairly nice guy. I personally believe that he will gradually be assimilated. “Resistence is futile.”

  88. Michael 2 says:

    ATTP writes “your immediate association is with advocates. Says it all, really.”

    Yes. Magma’s list is not merely of scientists, but of advocates. [Snip. -W]

  89. Magma’s list is not merely of scientists, but of advocates.

    I think they are all scientists. Whether or not they are also advocates isn’t really the point. The point is if you were to generate a list of a similar size of scientists who do not dispute the consensus, it would be quite easy to generate one with names you could not complete. This, I would argue, is probably not true (at least for those of us who engage in the climate blogosphere) if you compute a list of scientists who do strongly dispute the consensus.

  90. John Hartz says:

    Victor: The following article just popped up on my radar screen. It addresses both evolution and manmade climate change. The author begins with:

    I’ve had people ask me if it’s difficult to be a Catholic and a biology major several times since I started college. I suppose they ask this because of the assumed discord between Catholicism and science. “Catholics don’t believe in evolution or global warming, right? Is it weird when your professors talk about that stuff in class?”

    Not really, because those are not statements representative of Catholic teaching.

    Examining links between science and Catholicism, Opinion by Millie Ronkainen, College Heights Herald, May 1, 2017

  91. Joshua says:

    TE and Anders –

    TE sayz: Thanx. Funny that Maher, a popular atheist that I admire, appeals to authority and consensus.

    Anders respondz: You also seem to have ignored that Bret Stephens appealed to authority too (Lomborg and his Nobel Laureates).

    I’ll also note that Stephens employs the “skeptic” brand of appeal to consensus as well.

    –snip–
    Anyone who has read the 2014 report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change knows that, while the modest (0.85 degrees Celsius, or about 1.5 degrees Fahrenheit) warming of the earth since 1880 is indisputable, as is the human influence on that warming…
    –snip–

    Actually, it’s kind of a combo plate special, a mashup of appeal to authority, appeal to consensus, and argument ad populum, (not to mention factually incorrect on the amount of warming).

    Oh, and then it’s also just flat out wrong as there are a fairly significant % of “skeptics” who have read the IPCC and “know” no such thing.

    And I’m not sure what brand of fallacy this is:

    –snip–
    They know — as all environmentalists should — that history is littered with the human wreckage of scientific errors married to political power.
    –snip–

    But it is fallacious: Yes, human history is “littered” with scientific errors married to political power, but what’s that got to do with the price of tea in China?

  92. I have not heard of Christians in my life time in Europe having problems with evolution. Catholic or otherwise. A few percent probably exist, but it seems to be mainly an American pledge of allegiance.

    On twitter people are playing what Google says to various professions. When I tried “climatologists are”, Google proposed the search: “how many climatologists are there”. Thus it seems like a project Mike could be useful to make this visual. A problem would be to define what a climatologist is, there are so many fields involved and so many scientists that only partially work on climate.

  93. John Hartz says:

    ATTP: Th is letter-to-the-editor explains everything. You might as well fold up this tent and hole up in your ivory tower. )

    For millions of years Earth’s climate has been changing. Originally land was one mass. As the world’s natural changes came, we ended up with different continents. We have discovered cities that existed thousands of years ago that are now under water. There were no fossil fuels being used. Global warming or the Ice Age changes came as a natural occurrence.

    Al Gore has been making millions of dollars on his brainwashing speeches. If you want to talk about pollution, that’s a different story, but there’s more money to be made in the global warming lie than pollution.

    Money at the core of ‘global warming lie’. Orlando Sun Sentinel, May 1, 2017

    I never imagined that the “Al Gore Boogeyman” meme would still have legs, but, alas, it does.

  94. Willard says:

    RuneV (aka Emeritus) sports good form at Judy’s:

    Climte etc., is on a fast track to be a new and possible a more POSH version of WUWT. Politics is not among Madam Currys strongest skills. Politics must choose among the best alternatives, but also must prepare for the worst. I have to this date not seen a single bloggpost or entry for discussion in Climate etc., that include the costs of being uncertain other than being uncertain in one direction.

    https://judithcurry.com/2017/05/02/nyes-quadrant/#comment-848010

  95. Joshua says:

    I’m not a fan of the “anti-science” rhetoric. Maybe it’s because I don’t know what it means, really. But I will say that if anything is “anti-science,” this may actually be it.

    Again, from Stephens…

    They know — as all environmentalists should — that history is littered with the human wreckage of scientific errors married to political power.

    That is actually rhetoric that is aimed at undermining the validity of “science.” I highly doubt that Stephens lives his life in a way that dismisses the validity of “science” (on the logic that it hasn’t been 100% perfect throughout history), but he is willing to use rhetoric that attacks the validity of science in order to score cheap points in the climate wars.

  96. izen says:

    @-Joshua
    “Yes, human history is “littered” with scientific errors married to political power, but what’s that got to do with the price of tea in China?”

    Apart from the two obvious examples I can think of very few examples of scientific error married to political power.
    Perhaps if history is littered a list could be suggested ?

  97. John Hartz says:

    Quality articles like the following are why I am not cancelling my subscription to the New York Times.

    The debate within the Trump administration over what to do about the Paris climate agreement has reached a critical phase, according to people familiar with the internal negotiations. The decision could hinge on the interpretation of a single phrase in a single provision of a document that took years to write.

    The question is whether to walk away from the agreement sealed by the Obama administration and nearly 200 other nations at the end of 2015 — as Donald J. Trump promised as a presidential candidate to do — or to weaken the nation’s commitment under the deal to reducing greenhouse gases while remaining in the accord.

    The provision at issue, Article 4.11, states that a nation “may at any time adjust its existing nationally determined contribution with a view to enhancing its level of ambition.” The question is whether the ability to “adjust” is like a ratchet, allowing progress only in one direction — upward — or if it permits a country to weaken its commitment without violating the terms of the deal.

    Debate Over Paris Climate Deal Could Turn on a Single Phrase by John Schwartz, Climate, New York Times, May 2, 2017

    PS – Brad Plumer, one of the top-tier climate science/energy journalists in the US, has been hired by the New York Times. Plumer’s most recent gig was partnering with David Roberts at Vox..

  98. Joshua says:

    izen –

    I was being imprecise. History is littered with scientific errors. I don’t know of examples of such errors that are “married to political power.” I’m not even really sure what that last part means.

    But my main point is that the reality… that “science” hasn’t been 100% correct throughout history… tells us nothing.

    One of the “skeptical” arguments that bugs me the most is the one where they list (the same) examples (over and over) of when “science” had been wrong… apparently not realizing that they are essentially showing that the exception(s) prove the rule.

  99. David B. Benson says:

    aTTP — Thanks for looking at the statistical causality paper. I’m happy enough that you find the results obvious. That is an indication of the power of Liang causality, far superior to the older Granger causality.

    Still, that in the paleodata that temperature Liang causes carbon dioxide levels is useful in the attempt to understand how the most modest orbital forcing creates such disproportionate effects. There are many hypotheses and none, as far as I know, is completely adequate.

    As for the modern and unsurprising result, there still are those who state that there is no proof that carbon dioxide emissions cause global warming. This paper offers a proof, albeit one of a statistical nature.

  100. Magma says:

    @ Joshua: Lysenkoism and eugenics spring to mind, although one could argue that both were pseudoscientific in nature.

  101. Magma says:

    I tried to restrict my earlier list to physical/natural scientists, so the ‘Richard’ was Lindzen, not Tol. (I suppose I could have written ‘Dick’ but we aren’t close.)

  102. John Hartz says:

    ATTP: Are you moonlighting writing headlines for The Week magazine?

    Here’s why i ask…

    The New York Times’ staggering own goal on climate change by Ryan Cooper, The Week, May 1, 2017

  103. Magma says:

    Me: Hey everyone! Guess who chimed in with @BretStephensNYT seizes the high ground and establishes himself as an important voice in the climate debate? You’ll never, ever g—
    Everyone: Judith Curry?
    Me: …sigh. Yes.

  104. izen says:

    @-Magma
    “Lysenkoism and eugenics spring to mind, although one could argue that both were pseudoscientific in nature.”

    Stalin’s famine and Hitler’s holocaust were ‘validated’ by science that had been distorted and co-opted by political dogma. Which presumably is the point Bret Stephens is making.-
    That climate science is a ideologically formed dogma with the fake data that was a feature of both Lysenkoism and Eugenics. That seems to be JC’s present position as well. It allows opponents to concede that elements of the science may be valid, (epigenetic adaption, ethnic variety) but remain ‘lukewarm’ about the actual impact those factors have in the real world.

    2 examples does not seem like human wreckage litters history from such coercive marriages.
    There are rather more examples of human wreckage from political, religious and economic dogma rejecting correct science. (Pb, SOx CFCs, DDT, Tobacco, Sugar…?)

  105. Mal Adapted says:

    Joshua:

    Again, from Stephens…

    They know — as all environmentalists should — that history is littered with the human wreckage of scientific errors married to political power.

    That is actually rhetoric that is aimed at undermining the validity of “science.” I highly doubt that Stephens lives his life in a way that dismisses the validity of “science” (on the logic that it hasn’t been 100% perfect throughout history), but he is willing to use rhetoric that attacks the validity of science in order to score cheap points in the climate wars.

    In other words, Stephens’s remark is a transparent Godwin. It’s the same contemptible rhetorical tactic the Heartland Institute attempted with it’s “Hi, I’m [name of insane mass murderer], and I still believe in global warming! Do you?” billboards.

    Deniers deny.

  106. Mal Adapted says:

    JH, quoting John Schwartz in the NYT:

    The decision could hinge on the interpretation of a single phrase in a single provision of a document that took years to write…
    …The question is whether the ability to “adjust” is like a ratchet, allowing progress only in one direction — upward — or if it permits a country to weaken its commitment without violating the terms of the deal.

    Dang, you never know what’s in that sausage. If you tried to watch it get made, you’d die of boredom. Clever.

  107. Joshua says:

    Mal –

    Is also the same as the standard “Lysenko,” “Eugenics,” and “McCarthy” gambits from “skeptics.”

    Judith even went with a “jihadis” gambit. In between whines about name-calling.

  108. John Hartz says:

    Mal Adapted: Duirng my professional career, I spent a goodly amount of time analyzing and tracking both federal and state transportation legislation and administrative rules. As a political junkie, I was always fascinated by the suasage-making processes.

    PS – Having been born in Wisconisnin and having lived most of my life there, I also love to eat bratwurst.

  109. John Hartz says:

    Mal Adapted: I fully expect Trump to withdraw the US from the Paris agreement. He needs this piece of red meat to toss to his increasingly frusrated political base.

    In the Trump White House, the momentum has turned against the Paris climate agreement by Juliet Eilperin, Energy & Environment, Washington Post, May 2, 2017

  110. Mal Adapted says:

    JH:

    PS – Having been born in Wisconisnin and having lived most of my life there, I also love to eat bratwurst.

    Yah, hey? And a long-necked Leinie’s to go with it 8^).

  111. John Hartz says:

    Mal: When I turned 18 in 1961 it was mostly Old Style and PBR.

  112. JCH says:

    The momentum:

  113. Mal Adapted says:

    JH: “Mal: When I turned 18 in 1961 it was mostly Old Style and PBR.”

    Did you grow up in Milwaukee?

    When I left Wisconsin, my favorite beer was Point; I haven’t had one since they sold out to a Chicago-based distributor in 1992, although according to teh Wiki a couple of Milwaukee-based real estate developers bought it back in 2002. I’ll give it a try again next time I go home for a visit.

    Now, back to our regularly scheduled whinging.

  114. John Hartz says:

    Nope: Middleton a suburb of Madison.

  115. I missed the link to Project Steve:
    https://ncse.com/project-steve

    The NCSE – National Center for Science Education has started a Project Steve, in response to lists of creationist “scientists” to make clear how many scientists support evolution. Does anyone have the time to start a climate project Mike?

  116. Hold on, the National Centre for Science Education has a project that

    Project Steve pokes fun at this practice and, because “Steves” are only about 1% of scientists, it also makes the point that tens of thousands of scientists support evolution.

    So, it’s a form of consensus messaging and it’s explicitly aimed at poking fun. What will Dan Kahan think!

    I see the “Steve” refers to Steven Jay Gould. I read a number of his books (collections of essays mainly), and really enjoyed them.

  117. Chris says:

    In tomorrow’s Nature:

    Iselin Medhaug, Martin B. Stolpe, Erich M. Fischer & Reto Knutti ” Reconciling controversies about the ‘global warming hiatus’ ”

    and a commentary on the article:

    James S. Risbey & Stephan Lewandowsky ” Climate science: The ‘pause’ unpacked ”

    “own goals” or net-bursting pile drivers?

  118. John Hartz says:

    The work of the National Centre for Science Education is referenced in the following article…

    When Teaching Climate Change, Knowledge Is Power by Madeline Bodin, Education Update (ASCD), May 2017 | Volume 59 | Number 5

    ATTP: The above article could serve as the basis of a new OP.

  119. Anyone wanted to continue to give the NYT pepper about Stephens (and the egregious Spayd, their biased Public Editor) can go here. I’ve put in a few myself, “Bret Stephens Takes On Climate Change. Readers Unleash Their Fury”

    [Snip. Playing the ref. -W ] mind you, the headline as delusional nasty misleading bullshit.

  120. Dang, I’ll have to watch those links, didn’t mean it to post the associated matter, just the link (new laptop).

  121. John Hartz says:

    Susan: I like the link.

  122. Susan,
    I think WordPress does that automatically.

  123. John Hartz says:

    Chris: The new “hiatus” paper you refernced has already garnered media attention…

    Q&A; Detailed look at the global warming ‘hiatus’ again confirms that humans are changing the climate by Amina Khan. Los Angeles Times, May 3, 2017

    ATTP: I see a new OP in your future. 🙂

  124. Okay, how can a “hiatus” paper, whatever its finding, say anything significant about whether or not “humans are changing the climate?”

  125. Michael 2 says:

    Susan Anderson wrote: “I’ll have to watch those links, didn’t mean it to post the associated matter”

    You can prevent this behavior by breaking the link with brackets like [http]://something.com

    Of course it has a side effect of making it not simply clickable but it is a good practice to not click links whose invisible URL might not correspond to the visible part.

  126. John Hartz says:

    hypergeometric: Headlines are written to grab the reader’s attention. Now it’s up to you to read the article and the paper that it is summarizing. 🙂

  127. John Hartz says:

    Michael2: Or one can embed the url into the headline of the article as is my wont.

  128. John Hartz says:

    I submitted the following comment on Spayd’s artilce – cited above by Susan Anderson. I presume it will be approved for posting, but who knows.

    An overwhelming and every growing body of scientific evidence assembled and analyzed by thousands of scientists from around the world (not just the US) informs us that mankind’s activities (primarily the burning of fossil fuels and deforestation) are causing global warming and climate change in the blink of eye with respect to historical geological timelines.

    Stephens minimizes or rejects that body of evidence because of his political ideology, not his scientific acumen. He has absolutely zero scientific-based evidence to support his claims about the science.

    The physics and chemistry of the Earth’s climate system do not give a Tinker’s Damn about Stephens’ opinions. I don’t give a Tinker’s damn about them either.

    Stephens may market himself as a conservative, but in reality he is a “know- nothing” with respect to climate science.

    Why the New York Times wants to give a “no-nothing” a platform to spread pseudo-science poppycock is beyond my comprehensive.

    The Times must be held accountable for promoting a false narrative of “liberal v conservative” viewpoints in defending its decision to hire Stephens.

  129. John Hartz says:

    In case you are not aware, Stephens’ NYT op-eds are being syndicated to other media outlets. His first op-ed appeared in the print edition of our local newspaper today here in Columbia, South Carolina, USA.

  130. Mal Adapted says:

    Thank you for the link to the NYT, Ms. Anderson. I submitted a <= 1500 character (spaces included) version of my review of Stephen's debut column here; I presume it will appear by tomorrow. I'm skeptical (yes, yes) it will make any impression on the publishers, but I can't deny it felt good.

  131. John Hartz says:

    Liz Spayd’s article has now ganred some 455 comments and counting. FWIW, I found her defense of the Times decision to hire Stephens to be rather insipid. I’m not sure she had her heart in it.

  132. Willard says:

  133. Joshua says:

    Open letter to the Times about Stephens’ editorial.

    Got a few signatures on it…

    https://www.climatefactsfirst.org

  134. Joshua says:

    They really ought to proofread something like that more carefully, however.

    –snip–
    … We call on the Times to publish a more comprehensive correction to the inaccuracies that appeared in Stephen’s column and to avoid such errors in the future by fact checking columns as carefully as they do news stories.
    –snip–

    Not good to have punctuation errors when calling for error checking.

  135. I cancelled my online subscription to the NY Times as soon as I heard about Stephens’ hiring – before any of the hullabaloo started. They offered me multiple reductions in subscription price before they were willing to actually accept the fact I just wanted to cancel, so please note if you’re paying full price you should attempt to cancel just to get a price reduction. I made clear several times during the conversation that Stephens’ hiring was the straw that broke the camel’s back.

    Honestly, I only bought the subscription to have full access to Paul Krugman’s columns and blog posts, but his writings are quoted nearly in full on so many other economic blogs that it really didn’t seem necessary any longer. As noted by others, the whole Judith Miller/Iraq War reporting had left a bad taste in my mouth for the NY Times and the hiring of Stephens seemed a good opportunity to make a point.

    The hiring of Stephens seems just another instance of what Krugman refers to as “views on shape of the Earth differ” journalism. The notion that a news outlet must represent two sides of an issue even when one of them is complete and utter nonsense. I’m not interested in “Fair and Balanced” — I want Accurate and Truthful. “They wouldn’t print it if it wasn’t true” may be a sarcastic comment on news sources, but I want my trusted sources to be as close to the ideal of that statement as possible.

    I have reached the point where I consider climate change to be the #1 problem we are leaving future generations to deal with and pay the price for because we are unable to deal with it ourselves. That’s the real ‘own goal’ being scored here – humanity’s own goal every time we obfuscate and delay ameliorating the problem of global warming.

    The latest PIOMAS sea ice volume numbers are out – nearly 10% lower than the previous record for this time of year.

    Perhaps because the arctic is warming? The Freezing Degree Days numbers this winter were ludicrous:
    https://docs.google.com/uc?id=0B5JYfcI0wFH6aXVIYTlrMVdtekk&

  136. John Hartz says:

    oneillsinwisconsin: While I completely undertand your logic, I have reatined my subscription because the Times has such an outstanding line-up of quality journalists reporting on climate and energy matters. The Times has really upped its game in this regard over the past few months.

  137. Eli Rabett says:

    John, it is time to give those wonderful journalists an ear full so they can tell their editors and managers that the world is very unhappy with them. Don’t accept the nonsense that the reporters are completely different with the editors and managers.

  138. John Hartz says:

    Eli: Rest assured, I’m not accepting any nonsense about the seperation of power within te NY Times. The scuttlebut is that members of the journalist team who write about climate change and energy are not happy campers about the hiring of Bret Stephens. That is as it should be.

    For my part, i will continue to submit crtical comments on the threads to Stephens’ op-eds as appropriate.

  139. John Hartz says:

    FYI: Stephens published his third NY Times Op-ed today.

    Climate of Unintended Consequences, Opinion by Bret Stephens, New York Times, May 4, 2017

    In this op-ed, Stephens sketches the history of biofuel research and concludes…

    We need to make policy choices based less on moral self-regard and more on attention to real-world results.

    Also included in this op-ed…

    I raise the subject of biofuels since the subject of science — what we know as opposed to what we think we know about it — has been on my mind in recent days. I’ve been accused of obscurantism, closet climate denialism and willful misdirection — all for the crime of insufficiently attesting to the dangers of a warming trend I do not deny.

    I submitted the following comment on this op-ed…

    Bret Stephens: You wrote:

    “I’ve been accused of obscurantism, closet climate denialism and willful misdirection — all for the crime of insufficiently attesting to the dangers of a warming trend I do not deny.”

    Do you believe the US should fulfill its commitments under the Paris Climate Accord?

  140. John Hartz says:

    Andy Revkin has written a rather informative and thought-provoking commentary on Stephens’ first NY Times Op-ed. If you have not already done so, check it out.

    There Are Lots of Climate Uncertainties. Let’s Acknowledge and Plan for Them With Honesty. by Andy Revkin, ProPublica, May 3, 2017

    FWIW: i noticed a marked improvement in Revkin’s postings once he moved to ProPublica from the NY Times. Perhaps management at the NY Times pushed him into the “honest broker” role that many criticized him for.

  141. Revkin has always had a foot in both camps. He likes everyone to get along together. He also (see Happer note) is unable to discern high-toned bullshit.

  142. ATTP: So, it’s a form of consensus messaging and it’s explicitly aimed at poking fun. What will Dan Kahan think! I see the “Steve” refers to Steven Jay Gould.

    That is why I thought climate should have a project Mike. Named after the scientists the unreasonable love the most. They are not trying to have an adult conversation, thus I see no reason not to poke a little fun. It also helps spread the message, a bland boring Kahan message will be ignored.

  143. John Hartz says:

    Victor: Wht is the date that the scientist who the unreasonable loved the most tipped from Hansen to Mann? 🙂

  144. russellseitz says:

    Is VV suggesting Mike has been isotopically enriched by all those communications workshops?

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