There’s nothing like a good “second-day” story to absolve the average journalist (very average in this case) from any responsibility to support his contentions with, say, a smattering of evidence.
Admittedly, second-day stories are tough in a paper like the Toronto Sun where space is at a premium. You want to update the reader with the news, but you still have to provide enough of the original story to provide context. Unless you’re Lorrie Goldstein, in which case you can short-cut your way to today’s opinion without making any effort to support it with actual factual references.
In his column today on the “Climategate” story of emails stolen from the Climate Research Unit at the University of East Anglia, Goldstein offers this as a synopsis of what the purloined emails prove:
“Apparently they (the scientists involved) stifled their own doubts about recent global cooling not explained by their computer models, manipulated data, plotted ways to avoid releasing it under freedom of information laws and attacked fellow scientists and scientific journals for publishing even peer-reviewed literature of which they did not approve.”
Did they just? Well, you’ll have to take Goldstein’s word for it because he didn’t offer a single quote to back up his sweeping condemnation. He didn’t even mention whether he had read any of the emails himself; he was too busy getting hysterical about the horrifying collaboration of Big Government, Big Business and Big Green. Truly scary.
For people who are interested in the detail of what appeared in those emails and for a second opinion about what the authors might have meant in the writing, read the next post. For a mindless recitation of ideological cant, based on a cursory reading of yesterday’s news, you can always fall back on the Sun.