George Monbiot Unveils Winner of Annual Award For Most Distorted Climate Coverage

Thu, 2010-01-21 13:35Brendan DeMelle
Brendan DeMelle's picture

George Monbiot Unveils Winner of Annual Award For Most Distorted Climate Coverage

George Monbiot, the Guardian’s straight-shooting environmental columnist, today unveiled the winner of the second annual (and final, if Monbiot can resist the urge to dole it out next year) Christopher Booker prize, given to the “journalist” who most flagrantly ignores facts in favor of cramming the greatest number of thoroughly debunked climate denier claims into a single entry.  

This year’s winner, John Tomlinson, a columnist for the Flint Journal in Michigan, managed to cram an impressive 38 misleading statements into a piece only 805 words long, a rate of one misleading statement per 21 words.  All in direct response to Monbiot’s earlier criticism of Tomlinson’s distorted columns.

Tomlinson managed to beat “his own provisional world record for density: the ratio of falsehoods to words,” by cramming more climate denial into one piece than his previous effort earlier in the year which contained 18 errors in just 486 words, a rate of one error per 26 words. 

Monbiot writes:
“No one now had a hope of beating him. Or, to be more accurate, I wasn’t prepared to go through all that again. Recording and rebutting 38 falsehoods was so time-consuming and soul-destroying that I didn’t want to find another challenger. I’d had no idea what I was letting myself in for.

How did he manage it? By cobbling together just about every well-trodden climate change myth he could find on the web and compressing them into the smallest possible space; rather like those people who try to write a book on a postage stamp.”

And what does Mr. Tomlinson win along with this dubious distinction? 

The trophy pictured above - a truly magnificent piece of art made of recycled materials - and three bars of Kendal mint cake, a sugary British candy used on many expeditions around the world as a source of energy. 

Why the candy?  Well, in his typically irreverent style, Monbiot urges the winner of the Booker prize to “embark on the holiday of a lifetime” via “a one-way solo kayak trip to the north pole, to see for him or herself the full extent of the Arctic ice melt.”

“With the help of this amazing prize, a fabulous career of even greater obscurity awaits him,” Monbiot predicts.

No word yet on whether Tomlinson will take up the holiday offer. 

Previous Comments

He robbed more time from Monbiot. He distracted and delayed. Verbal smoke and mirrors. Shameful.


It was a year of highs and lows as far as climate change and energy issues. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the lows got a lot of the attention, which is why the top 10 posts on DeSmog this year are mostly of the outrageous, infuriating or depressing variety.

We’ve already collected the top clean energy revolution stories of the year, so if this post gets too heavy for you, you can always pop over there and have some of your hope for the future restored.

But for those...

read more