new york times

Paul Krugman's Must-Read NY Times Op-Ed On Immoral Climate Denial

New York Times op-ed columnist Paul Krugman has a must-read piece today noting the “cynical careerism” of climate deniers who won’t even acknowledge the truth when one of “their own” discovers that climate science is sound.  Singling out Anthony Watts as an example of this head-in-the-sand approach, Krugman notes that Watts and other climate skeptics changed their tune about the Koch-funded Berkeley Earth Surface Temperature project when its lead researcher testified in front of Congress last week that climate change is real and man-made.  It wasn’t what the skeptics - or the anti-science GOP - wanted to hear.

UC Berkeley physicist Richard Muller - whose reputation as a climate skeptic and funding by a Koch foundation the Republicans likely assumed made him one of “theirs” - instead shocked the hearing by reporting that his group’s preliminary results find a global warming trend “very similar to that reported by the prior groups.”

Krugman notes that Anthony Watts had recently “praised the Berkeley project and piously declared himself ‘prepared to accept whatever result they produce, even if it proves my premise wrong.’”

But then of course when Professor Muller announced the preliminary results of his study upholding the scientific basis of climate disruption, Watts ridiculed the hearing Muller attended as “post normal science political theater.”

Fracking Banned In New Jersey

On Friday, New Jersey legislators unanimously voted for S-2576, a bill which prohibits hydraulic fracturing (a.k.a. fracking) for natural gas in the state.

S-2576 is largely symbolic since New Jersey does not use fracking to drill for natural gas. This bill does, however, send a clear message to the industry as well as neighbouring states looking to tap into the Marcellus Shale formation which reaches into New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio, West Virginia and northwestern N.J.

Third Piece in NY Times Series Shows EPA Internal Battle Over Natural Gas Fracking Threats

The New York Times today released its third piece in a shocking series of articles revealing the health threats posed by the renegade U.S. natural gas industry. The latest piece documents how the Environmental Protection Agency has failed to protect public health as the gas rush escalated - thanks to the dangerous high volume slickwater fracking technique now dominating the industry - to the currently uncontrolled threat that it represents.

Ian Urbina’s latest investigative report proves that politics is playing a significant role in the EPA’s failure to hold the gas industry accountable for its damage to drinking water supplies and public health in Pennsylvania, offering clear indications that the problem is not likely isolated to just that state.

The NY Times series is a must-read for anyone concerned about the huge power that entrenched fossil fuel industries have over public health and safety agencies, rendering science and documented health impacts afterthoughts while focusing on protecting industry interests.

Check out the latest article, Politics Seen to Limit E.P.A. as It Sets Rules for Natural Gas, and bookmark the homepage for the entire Drilling Down series by The New York Times.

Must-Read NY Times Story On Gas Fracking Reveals Radioactive Wastewater Threat

An incredible piece just broke in the New York Times showing that hydraulic fracking in the Marcellus Shale is drawing huge amounts of radioactivity up from the earth with the fracking fluids, often going straight through a municipal waste water treatment plant and then dumped into rivers – above public drinking water intake locations.  The piece proves that EPA knows this is going on, and that it is likely illegal. 

Highly recommended reading for anyone concerned about the real threats posed by this gas industry practice to drinking water, public health and the environment.

DRILLING DOWN: Regulation Lax as Gas Wells’ Tainted Water Hits Rivers

Tim Ball Stands By His Slander

Facing a libel suit for an article slandering University of Victoria Professor Andrew Weaver as someone who “knew very little about climate change” and is therefore unfit to teach, Tim Ball has told the New York Times, “I stand by the story.”

The NYT also wrote: “The apology and retraction of the story by Canada Free Press ‘hung me out to dry,’ Dr. Ball added, saying he was in the process of hiring a lawyer to fight the lawsuit.”

Ball admits that he was incorrect in also saying that Weaver was “abandoning the sinking ship” of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (Weaver is, in fact, a lead author in the upcoming Fifth Assessment Report). But he dismisses this as “one small mistake.”

Ball’s “small mistake” may be in thinking that he can continue to say any darn thing he likes, about climate change or the people involved in legitimate research, and never have to account for its accuracy. Not for much longer ….

On Factual Literacy and Media Responsibility In The Age Of Fox News and Rush Limbaugh

This New York Times online editorial last week by Tim Egan, “Building a Nation of Know-Nothings,” says a lot about the need for literacy, respect for facts and rational thought all being important building blocks for democracy.  

Egan notes the “astonishing level of willful ignorance” evident among the public, thanks to the lies and distortions put forward “largely by design” by Rush Limbaugh and Fox News, “aided by a press afraid to call out the primary architects of the lies.”

Egan correctly points out that this pattern is all too often seen on the subject of global warming:

“Climate-change denial is a special category all its own. Once on the fringe, dismissal of scientific consensus is now an article of faith among leading Republicans, again taking their cue from Limbaugh and Fox.” 

Read “Building a Nation of Know-Nothings” on The New York Times website. 

IPCC Fumbles Media Relations Strategy, Must Review Basic Principles of Public Relations

Andy Revkin’s revelations over the weekend about the botched media relations strategy deployed by the head of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, Rajendra Pachauri, demonstrate that the IPCC has failed to learn from its recent missteps in managing public communications.

If you don’t have anything to hide, don’t act as if you do.

Being thrust into the media spotlight and subjected to sudden intense scrutiny can rattle any organization, and the IPCC is hardly the first institution to be accused of resorting to a “bunker mentality” and evading media inquiries. But, as Revkin points out correctly, sheltering yourself from the press is bound to backfire, creating more skepticism about your activities when you should really focus on explaining your work more clearly and operating with greater transparency.

For an organization like the IPCC - which has been accused of holding information too closely to its chest - to send an open letter advising its lead authors and editors to “keep a distance from the media” demonstrates PR mismanagement at its worst. It reinforces the perception that IPCC leadership doesn’t really know what it is doing.

That’s unfortunate because the IPCC has reportedly been spending a lot of time internally reviewing its operations to increase transparency. But this memo doesn’t help demonstrate that fact, by a long shot.

Tea Party Supporters Wealthier, More Educated - Still Bitter

Tea Party supporters are wealthier and more educated than average Americans, and they are more likely than the average to declare that their personal financial situation is fairly good or very good, according to a new poll by the New York Times and CBS News. They also are inclined to approve of Medicare and Social Security. Yet they remain mad as hell and determined to blame President Barack Obama for all that irks them about America.

There is a creepy consistency to these polls that suggest the real problem with the political conversation in America is not rooted in economic malaise. Rather, it rests at the feet of a fractured and biased media.

That, at least, is the only way I can explain why people who are better off and, on balance, satisfied with the country’s most controversial forays into “socialism,” remain outraged at the performance of their government and determined to blame all of its failings on a guy who took office just weeks before Tea Party protests began - at which time when the wars were already started and the economy was already on its face.

NYT's Krugman: Slamming the Fantasy World of Glenn Beck

For others who missed Paul Krugman column from last Thursday’s New York Times, it’s worth a look. Krugman nails the Fox fantasist Glenn Beck for quoting reports that he can’t produce. Krugman says:

“Thus, last week Glenn Beck — who seems to be challenging Rush Limbaugh for the role of de facto leader of the G.O.P. — informed his audience of a “buried” Obama administration study showing that Waxman-Markey would actually cost the average family $1,787 per year. Needless to say, no such study exists.”

You really have to wonder who’s inspiring Beck to make this stuff up.

American Petroleum Institute Astroturf campaign: When Does "Spin" Become a Lie?

The New York Times added its voice today to those condemning the American Petroleum Institute’s Astroturf campaign to set up phony “citizen” protests that are actually populated by paid energy industry employees.

Beyond the fundamental duplicity of API’s actions, the NYT complains in its editorial that it finds some elements of the industry campaign “particularly annoying.” For example, API says the Waxman-Markey climate legislation will result in $4-a-gallon gasoline, while two very reputable analyses have said the bill will add, at most, 20 cents a gallon.

In a world polluted by some of the worst kind of public relations spin, people have grown too ready to accept this kind of dramatic overstatement as “part of the game.” Even the NYT finds this exaggeration merely “annoying,” even if particularly so.

We should be outraged. API is offering no rationale or justification for its overheated rhetoric. It has been challenged on this point and failed to come up with an explanation or analysis that support the $4 claim. And yet its campaigners keep saying that which is insupportable by evidence.

What do you call that - usually?

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