Sunday, August 28, 2016

Eric Worrall wants the New York Times to "balance" facts with conspiracy theories

Sou | 5:22 PM Go to the first of 16 comments. Add a comment
I've said before how difficult life is these days for climate science deniers and disinformers. They can't seem to win a trick with the weather against them and the science not supporting them. They don't like being ignored.

Eric Worrall is complaining today about a New York Times call for a climate change editor (archived here). Eric wants the job spec to include giving weight to pseudo-science and conspiracy theories, instead of focusing on the realities of climate change.

The NY Times blurb about the job that upset Eric was this:
Drone footage that shows Greenland melting away. Long narratives about the plight of climate refugees, from Louisiana to Bolivia and beyond. A series on the California drought. Color-coded maps that show how hot it could be in 2060.

The New York Times is a leader in covering climate change. Now The Times is ramping up its coverage to make the most important story in the world even more relevant, urgent and accessible to a huge audience around the globe.

We are looking for an editor to lead this dynamic new group. We want someone with an entrepreneurial streak who is obsessed with finding new ways to connect with readers and new ways to tell this vital story.

The coverage should encompass: the science of climate change; the politics of climate debates; the technological race to find solutions; the economic consequences of climate change; and profiles of fascinating characters enmeshed in the issues.

The coverage should include journalism in a variety of formats: video, photography, newsletters, features, podcasts, conferences and more. The unit should make strategic decisions about which forms are top priorities and which are not.

The climate editor will collaborate with many others throughout the newsroom, but will operate apart from the current department structure, with no print obligations. (The Times is also searching for editors to lead similar teams exploring education and gender.)

Eric didn't like it that the NYTimes not only didn't want to promote the latest and greatest "climate hoax" conspiracy theory, it didn't even mention considering wacky ideas from fake sceptics. Eric wrote:
Notice anything missing from the job description? Whatever happened to balanced journalism? If the New York Times had asked for applications from people “interested in getting to the bottom of the climate story”, of telling the truth, no matter which way it leads, I would have written a very different review of their job advertisement.
That strongly suggests that Eric is a conspiracy theorist of the first order, when he talks about "getting to the bottom of the climate story". As if there's something deep and dark to get to the bottom of. And as if there's a story to be had that only climate conspiracy theorists theorise about. As if there's some alternate "truth" that is led to by wacky pseudo-scientists.

From the WUWT comments

Gregory confuses science with politics:
August 27, 2016 at 6:44 pm
They are not about news, they are about enforcing a political ideology.

JohnKnight is big on projection:
August 27, 2016 at 6:55 pm
Eric, “Whatever happened to balanced journalism?”
Racism, Big oil, emergency, xenophobia, (non-Islamic) terrorism, emergency, the patriarchy, the 1%, Donald Trump . . and emergency. Where you been?

Jim Yushchyshyn says what you may be thinking, and falls foul of the science denying WUWT moderator (WUWT bolding):
August 27, 2016 at 7:06 pm
Whatever happened to balanced journalism?
Perhaps they should also have balanced coverage of the notion that Earth is flat.

[perhaps Jim should take a moment to learn a few things about what climate skeptics actually believe, rather than being a lazy stereotype hurler -mod]

Beaumont Vance  jumps in and gets a serve too. The mod is proud of her, or most likely his, bias and claims, against all evidence, to "seek the truth":
August 27, 2016 at 7:23 pm
Perhaps the mod-er-ator ought to post under an identifiable handle instead of being an anonymous coward using the “mod” handle.

This is one of the problems with this site……the mod-er-ators are biased.

[We who serve the readers, the writers and the owner of this site do not pretend to be “unbiased journalists.” We do, however, seek truth. Unlike those in the NYTimes who cherish their Pulitzer heritage for concealing the millions of Ukrainians who died of starvation and in prisons as the Times hid the plight behind Communist propaganda. .mod]

Bartleby wishes that journos would give equal weight to "flat earth" theories to make sure reporting is falsely balanced. He's got a point. When was the last time you read in the NY Times about how NASA might have faked the moon landing? It just goes to show that free speech is dead ...doesn't it?
August 27, 2016 at 7:10 pm
Eric, I honestly think “Balanced Journalism” disappeared with the Fairness Doctrine in the 70’s. t came out of the advent of cable television and the resulting loss of a public duty on the part of broadcasters to present both sides of a story. The print media quickly followed and now we have the internet, four generations removed from radio (where the Fairness Doctrine was developed).
People need to go out looking for contrary perspectives now and as you’re well aware there are a whole group of State Attorney’s General that would very much like to put an end to that also. If they’re successful we’ll witness the death of free speech in the US and likely the world.

mpaul thinks Anthony Watts should apply. At least he recognises that Anthony doesn't blog (ie write his own articles), his blog is just a notice board for quack theories from nonentities:
August 27, 2016 at 7:17 pm
It would seem that the editor of the most widely read blog on climate science would be an ideal candidate. Anthony, you should apply. They would at least have to grant you an interview given your resume. If they don’t, that would be very telling.

RACookPE1978 talks about shear destruction, but I don't think he or she is referring to tropical cyclones:
August 27, 2016 at 7:46 pm
They also left out facts, research, and basic investigation of the press releases from the universities (looking for future grants), the bureaucrats, and the self-promoters and companies seeking business and sunsidies from the government. But you see, only the evil oil companies are in business for profit, for the shear destruction and deprivation they can expand!

AndyE  is saddened that a leading media service would want to publish articles informing the general public about climate change. I'm guessing he prefers to read that climate science is a hoax:
August 27, 2016 at 8:19 pm
I find this advertisement so sad. Not because journalists haven’t before been given top jobs to further some biased ideology – but because NY Times are so brazen and open about it. And because they simply do not comprehend how glaringly obvious it becomes that the fourth estate, generally speaking, is no longer here just to “seek the truth” and fearlessly print it.
No wonder genuine investigative journalists are leaving the news media in droves to set up business on their own – as bloggers or publishing their own books. All this does not really matter – because we now have the internet as a forum : the fourth estate (as it used to be) is fatally wounded.


  1. Imagine the advert that Breitbart would put out for similar job:

    "Wanted: person with no discernible skills in writing or science wanted to copy paste conspiracy nonsense from blogs paid for by Exxon to fill up space on our news website. Must be rabid alt-right, white genocide, Trump supporter. Actual facts will not be expected."

    1. Oh,is James Delingpole leaving Breitbart already?

    2. Hahahahahaha.
      Theres few i loathe more than Delingpole.

  2. At WTFUWT, Bartleby sez:

    ...People need to go out looking for contrary perspectives now and as you’re well aware there are a whole group of State Attorney’s General that would very much like to put an end to that also. If they’re successful we’ll witness the death of free speech in the US and likely the world.

    No Bartleby, you've got that backwards. The attorney generals are not trying to suppress "free speech"; rather, what they are looking for is are more smoking gun communications between the oil companies and the right-wing think tanks, like this one:

    Global warming: The campaign by the American Petroleum Institute

    And just look at the people/companies/think tanks who contributed to the formulation of that plan:

    GCSCT members who contributed to the development of the plan are A. John Adams, John Adams Associates; Candace Crandall, Science and Environmental Policy Project; David Rothbard, Committee For A Constructive Tomorrow; Jeffrey Salmon, The Marshall Institute; Lee Garrigan, environmental issues Council; Lynn Bouchey and Myron Ebell, Frontiers of Freedom; Peter Cleary, Americans for Tax Reform; Randy Randol, Exxon Corp.; Robert Gehri, The Southern Company; Sharon Kneiss, Chevron Corp; Steve Milloy, The Advancement of Sound Science Coalition; and Joseph Walker, American Petroleum Institute.

  3. After looking at Eric's writing my first thought was the same as Jim Yushchyshyn's although I was also considering the great bumper sticker down the street that reads "Gravity is just a theory". I can see the headline "Newton was wrong".

    Eric is a conspiracy theorist of the first order

    Well anyone who believes the dreck on WUWT has to be a hard-core conspiracy theorist so it seems reasonable to assume most or all of the writers are conspiracy theorists. It's almost a job requirement, I would think except for those few who are actually being paid by various interest groups.

  4. Considering its self-appointed (and not always met) role as the 'national newspaper of record', in recent years the NYT has fallen well behind the Washington Post and the Guardian in its coverage of climate change. Andrew Revkin's Dot Earth and its intermittent articles on the topic are far from sufficient. It's good to see the paper is now trying to catch up, or excel.

    I can imagine few things less relevant than the opinions of Eric Worrall and the WUWTers of how the NYT should find candidates for the position... maybe my own thoughts on how the next reincarnation of the Dalai Lama should be identified.

  5. Peter Sinclair of Climate Crocks anybody?


  6. Eric asked, "Whatever happened to balanced journalism?"

    From the job description, it sounds as if the new editor will indeed be asked to provide a good balance of stories about a wide variety of solutions to the problems presented by climate change.

    Would a reporter covering the recent earthquakes in Italy be required to give "balanced" coverage to people who insisted the earthquakes didn't happen, and that the destruction there is all staged?

  7. I think Eric should see some consolation in the knowledge that his crap will be covered in "the politics of climate debates".

  8. What grates with me is the absurd notion that balanced journalism is excluding 'the other side' of the story. There is no other side. Or at least, not from a scientific perspective. There remains much to be written - as it is in the public interest - about the subversion of public policy by vested interest.

  9. Is there ever going to be a day when Eric Worrall surprises us? Dull pleading for false balance, same old...

  10. A brighter look at this opening: several years ago the NYT decided to deemphasize science coverage and especially coverage of climate related issues. It is good to see that they will be reemphasizing this with an official climate desk. Not that their coverage has been bad in the interim, in fact Justin Gillis has done some excellent work, but as recent news has shown this is an urgent issue and needs to be treated as such.

    1. Now if only we knew someone who's devoted to writing about climate change and who understands the issues well, who has both science and communications experience...

  11. Its pretty simple
    Absolute idiots will make statements.
    YES i know against community standards the above.
    Deplorable obviously of no value.
    Unfortunately yes i know these people get air time and waste oxygen .

  12. Of course, the other point is that journalists are supposed to be fair. The notion that you need to put this in the ad is akin to insisting that ad for head chefs need to emphasize that applicants will be required to cook.


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