NY Times Duped by Climate Disinformation Campaign?


Image via Climate Progress

I think for the most part, the New York Times is still the most reliable source for breaking news and good information out there. But they have been seeming to slip in their coverage of climate change--for instance, they ran a story on the front page today crying U.N. Climate Panel and Chief Face Credibility Siege. But in an irony perhaps lost on the piece's author, not a single climate scientist was contacted or quoted--thus leaving the piece with very little credibility itself.And this is on the heels of otherwise solid Andrew Revkin's dubious coverage of global cooling, and a truly misleading piece about Al Gore--both of which were factually refuted and rebutted appropriately in the blogosphere.

All this lead esteemed climate blogger Joe Romm to rank the NY Times as the 3rd worst journalistic outlet in climate coverage in 2009.

Here's the most cause for alarm, according to Mr. Romm:

The NYT has published arguably its worst climate story ever, "U.N. Climate Panel and Chief Face Credibility Siege," by Elisabeth Rosenthal.

Dr. Robert J. Brulle of Drexel University, whom the NYT itself quoted last year as "an expert on environmental communications," emailed me that the piece is "the worst, one sided reporting I have ever seen." When I called him up, he went further saying: "In this article, the New York Times has become an echo-chamber for the climate disinformation movement."

You might think it impossible for any newspaper -- let alone the one-time "paper of record" -- to run a story raising "accusations of scientific sloppiness" about the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change that never quotes a single climate scientist.

Romm goes on to do a piece by piece, fact by fact take down of the NY Times article, revealing it to be misleading. For instance, it claims "mainstream scientists" in general have major qualms with the IPCC, but then only quotes one--and it's a political scientist who's long made it a public mission to discredit the IPCC. Essentially, Romm and co charge that the piece adopts the talking points of the anti-climate movement, without even attempting to probe the other side of the story.

All this goes to show that it's worth taking with a grain of salt everything we read--even from the institutions we've come to respect. It also goes to show that the NY Times may need to get its act together in the climate reporting arena. The fact is, with so much misinformation swirling around out there, we really depend on sources like "the paper of record" to back climate stories up with facts. If the IPCC is really facing a 'credibility siege', let's see who's really laying the siege--besides well-known climate deniers.

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