Cracking Up, but Still Dangerous

Thursday, June 30, 2016

An editorial in the Wall Street Journal shows just how intellectually bankrupt "climate change" advocacy has become:

... Only an idiot would ask an alleged "expert" what he knows without showing any curiosity about how he knows it -- a practice routine among climate-advocating journalists.

So Tom Gjelten, host of a recent NPR discussion of the Journal ad controversy, is completely satisfied when Matt Nisbet, a professor of communications studies at Northeastern University, explains, "On the fundamentals of climate science, there is absolutely no debates [sic]. The overwhelming majority of scientists ... strongly agree that climate change is happening, that it's human-caused and that it's an urgent problem."

Notice that he doesn't cite any science but an (undocumented) agreement of people who agree with him, while conflating three very different questions. [bold added, link in original]
Only an idiot? This may be too generous. Given that the phrase "useful idiots" implies users, we should remember that there are two more categories of people who would also do this: those who (1) do not care about the underlying reasons, or (2) don't want those reasons to become known. And the campaign of intimidation Holman Jenkins mentions as evidence of a "crack-up" should not be taken so lightly, nor should the economic damage of the proposals they will be able to pass. Both further violate the individual rights on which our ability to work productively, to pursue happiness, depend.

It may be that climate alarmists know that we know they can't win a real argument, but that comes as cold comfort to me. The rabid dog has been cornered, but the disease and the teeth remain. The final bullet, a widespread cultural renaissance of understanding and respect for individual rights, is needed to slay the rabid climate change beast for good, and it senses that the powder is wet.

-- CAV


Vigilis said...

Gus, you note an example of a glaring deficiency in U.S. journalist preparation and practice.

If professional journalists (as opposed to amateur bloggers) want to report news to the public, they should be licensed like CPAs (who express opinions of fair presentations on matter of fact) to practice their art before the public.

If licensed, inadequate journalists, their editors and publishers would incur similar penalties (loss/suspension of licenses) for inaccuracies, lack of objectivity and inadequate evidence. Additionally, they could be held liable (like CPAs) for financial damages incurred by readers' reliance on unsubstantiated opinions.

It has been my longstanding opinion that our vaunted 4th Estate too often propagandizes the public. One editor tells me this is nothing new historically. Perhaps he is correct, but his opinion justifies continuing a lane policy of inertia and political expediency rather than legitimately informing U.S. citizenry in the fast-paced 21st century.

In my opinion, professional Journalists should be licensed to report non-fiction and their personal opinions. Accordingly, I consider two requirements fundamental for professional journalism. Rather than constrain the U.S. practice in a substantive fashion, the requirements clarify standards between professional reporting, tabloid "journalism", and amateur blogging:
1) Either possess expertise in matters upon which you, the journalist express opinions or disclose your lack of relevant expertise.
2) Note contrary assessments by dissenting experts whenever topics presented are considered politically controversial by the public.

Gus Van Horn said...


I absolutely disagree with your proposal since it would violate freedom of speech, which the government should be protecting. Furthermore, it would put the government in charge of determining what constitutes "non-fiction," something it is already attempting to do, as I have already noted here with some alarm.


Vigilis said...

Gus, I anticipated your disagreement, though not your assumtive basis. Why, because courts, not the government, would decide (as is now the case for CPAs) what constitutes fair and accurate versus "fiction" and inadequately attested.

Apropos the licensing of CPAs, this function is performed only at an individual state level. Our overreaching federal government, of course, would like nothing better than to diminish U.S. accountancy standards by adopting looser, international practices.

Gus Van Horn said...


The courts are the judicial branch of the government.

Also, fifty tyrannies are no better than one.