This week Andrew Revkin of the New York Times lumped Al Gore in with George Will in an article on the dangers of climate change hyperbole.
Fair enough, if it were true.
Instead his article seems yet another example of how those trying to educate the public about global warming are held to a different standard in the media than so called “skeptics” – who often regurgitate long-discredited myths about climate science with apparent impunity.
Mr. Will’s article is an excellent case in point, containing a smorgasbord of the usual climate falsehoods that seem to crop up in the mainstream media like mushrooms. George Monbiot slams the claims in Will’s piece, pointing out the myths about global cooling, sea ice and global temperatures are not only at odds with the latest science, they are so ludicrous they almost deserve a laugh track.
Yet Mr. Will, like many so called “skeptics”, does not typically have to defend his claims. His job as a columnist is to be “provocative”. The individual errors can be discredited but like mushrooms, they can crop up again in the media for years to come.
Gore on the other hand, has devoted his life of late to raising awareness of climate change and arguably knows his material as well as many researchers. He also knows that his famous powerpoint presentation is constantly examined under a microscope for potential inaccuracies by the climate denial industry.
How these two reacted to the latest criticism is also telling. Gore pulled the slide in question linking extreme weather events to climate change and instead substituted data from the insurance industry - which seems utterly convinced of the link between climate change and expensive weather disasters.
George Will was not so responsive. According to the prestigious journal Nature, the Washington Post “repeatedly swatted away calls to issue a correction” on the many errors in Mr. Will’s piece.
Must be nice to never have to say you’re sorry.