93% of WSJ Opinion Pieces Misreport Climate Change
Scott Mandia, a professor of physical sciences at Suffolk County Community College at Long Island, N.Y. has done a topline analysis (on Climate Progress) of Wall Street Journal Editorial and Op-Ed (the “Opposite Editorial” Opinion Page) coverage of climate change and finds that the paper tells the truth seven per cent of the time.
The WSJ’s defence for this performance would undoubtedly be twofold. First, the pages Mandia analysed are for opinion, not news. Second, there really ARE a couple of deluded “experts” out there who challenge the majority view on climate change: the Journal has a right and responsibility to give voice to those views.
Fair enough. But a paper published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences has found that the proponderance of climate scientists who are worried about global warming is 97 per cent - not seven per cent, so the Journal is a bit off the mark. And while the paper is entitled to its opinions, it is beyond irresponsible to be setting its wishful thinking forth as fact. Bullshit is still bullshit, even if it’s in an editorial.
Democracy is utterly dependent upon an electorate that is accurately informed. In promoting climate change denial (and often denying their responsibility for doing so) industry has done more than endanger the environment. It has undermined democracy.
There is a vast difference between putting forth a point of view, honestly held, and intentionally sowing the seeds of confusion. Free speech does not include the right to deceive. Deception is not a point of view. And the right to disagree does not include a right to intentionally subvert the public awareness.