Last week the magazine Newsweek published a cover story on global warming suggesting global warming “deniers” were well funded, influential and unscrupulous. This week the magazine has essentially debunked its own story.
Contributing Editor Robert J. Samuelson writes:
“We in the news business often enlist in moral crusades. Global warming is among the latest. Unfortunately, self-righteous indignation can undermine good journalism. Last week’s NEWSWEEK cover story on global warming is a sobering reminder. It’s an object lesson of how viewing the world as “good guys vs. bad guys” can lead to a vast oversimplification of a messy story…
“Against these real-world pressures, NEWSWEEK’s “denial machine” is a peripheral and highly contrived story. NEWSWEEK implied, for example, that ExxonMobil used a think tank to pay academics to criticize global-warming science. Actually, this accusation was long ago discredited, and NEWSWEEK shouldn’t have lent it respectability…
“The mainstream media have generally been unsympathetic [to the skeptics] … The first NEWSWEEK cover story in 1988 warned the greenhouse effect. danger: more hot summers ahead. A Time cover in 2006 was more alarmist: be worried, be very worried. Nor does public opinion seem much swayed. Although polls can be found to illustrate almost anything, the longest-running survey questions show a remarkable consistency. In 1989, Gallup found 63 percent of Americans worried “a great deal” or a “fair amount” about global warming; in 2007, 65 percent did.
“Journalists should resist the temptation to portray global warming as a morality tale—as NEWSWEEK did—in which anyone who questions its gravity or proposed solutions may be ridiculed as a fool, a crank or an industry stooge. Dissent is, or should be, the lifeblood of a free society.”
Read the complete column by Samuelson here: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/20226462/site/newsweek/page/0/
Read Marc Morano’s comments here: http://epw.senate.gov/public/index.cfm?FuseAction=Minority.Blogs&ContentRecord_id=58659aa0-802a-23ad-49d7-3d18075e69c3&Issue_id
Many thanks to Marc Morano for alerting me to the article by Robert J. Samuelson entitled ‘Greenhouse Simplicities’.