Democracy Has Prevailed.

February 23, 2012

Editorial Wars: The Trib vs The Truth

From the op-ed page at today's Tribune-Review:
The Los Angeles Times really should be embarrassed over a Tuesday editorial in which it dismisses any notion that "climate change" isn't settled science, invokes Hitler's "Mein Kampf," and rails over the prospect of balance being included in classroom curriculum. And that, dear lovers of liberty, is downright fascistic.
Again, once you take a look at what they're talking about you'll see the Trib's ongoing pattern of climate misinformation.

Here's the editorial at the LA Times.

And it's about the (Scaife-supported) Heartland Institute and its efforts to skew public school curricula regarding climate change.  Take a look at what so offended Scaife's braintrust:
Leaked documents from the Heartland Institute in Chicago, one of many nonprofits that spread disinformation about climate science in hopes of stalling government action to combat global warming, reveal that the organization is working on a curriculum for public schools that casts doubt on the work of climatologists worldwide. Heartland officials say one of the documents was a fake, but the curriculum plans were reportedly discussed in more than one. According to the New York Times, the curriculum would claim, among other things, that "whether humans are changing the climate is a major scientific controversy."

That is a lie so big that, to quote from "Mein Kampf," it would be hard for most people to believe that anyone "could have the impudence to distort the truth so infamously." On one side of the "controversy" are credentialed climatologists around the globe who publish in reputable, peer-reviewed scientific journals and agree that the planet is warming and that humans are to blame; on the other are fossil-fuel-industry-funded "experts" who tend to have little background in climatology and who publish non-peer-reviewed papers in junk magazines disputing established truths. These are quickly debunked, but not before their findings have been reported by conservative blogs and news outlets, which somehow never get around to mentioning it when these studies are proved to be badly flawed.
Let's tackle Mein Kampf first.  The quotation the LA Times uses is from Hitler's discussion of the "big lie."  Here's how the discussion continues:
Even though the facts which prove this to be so may be brought clearly to their minds, they will still doubt and waver and will continue to think that there may be some other explanation. For the grossly impudent lie always leaves traces behind it, even after it has been nailed down, a fact which is known to all expert liars in this world and to all who conspire together in the art of lying.
Regardless of the source (and in this case, a genocidal dictator), the point of big lie is that it will leave traces of itself even when debunked.  As The Belz himself points out:
Adolf Hitler isn't known for his mathematical genius. I don't know why. Hitler was able to do what no mathematician before him could: he made 1 + 1 + 1 + 1 + 1 + 1 + 1 + 1 + 1 + 1 = 1. And he did it by creating and using a psychological tactic that has become known as "the Big Lie."

The Big Lie is this: If you tell a lie that's big enough and you tell it often enough, people will believe you are telling the truth even when what you are saying is total crap.
To Scaife's braintrust, quoting Mein Kampf on the "big lie" invalidates the LA Times editorial.

That's a lie.  It only reinforces it.  The big lie has done a great deal of damage to humanity and with this "climate change skepticism" continues to do more.

Now take a look at what the braintrust sees as inbalance (it's that part above that begins "on one side").  To them "balance" would mean equating non-peer reviewed "research" published by fossil-fuel-industry-funded "experts" and, you know, actual science.  They're not equal.  Saying it (over and over again) does not make it so.

So who's telling the big lie?

1 comment:

EdHeath said...

To some extent, journalists themselves are to blame for this still being an issue. When publishing an article on Climate Change, journalists frequently if not almost always try to find an opposing view to what the established scientific community is saying. Usually that is a big energy or Scaife (or other billionaire) funded source who can only publish in non peer-reviewed journals at best.

So it is not surprising that groups like the Heartland Institute are going to pressure school districts to introduce this intuitive but dishonest "balance" into the classroom. If you are first learning basic science in one of the low grades, if it is presented to you that Climate Change is just some theory, one that many people disagree with, that idea will stick with you. If in thirty years you are told that that damaging storms and droughts are the result of climate change, and we need to pay more and use less electricity and gas, you will be in the group opposing that plan.

Of course, in thirty years it will probably be too late anyway.

Look, no one says the planet does not warm and cool on its own. No one says that the activities of man are the only thing that affects weather. I will say the planet has never had as many cars driving around burning oil, so I am not surprised people say man's activities are having an effect.

And you know, there is reason to think that oil is going to stay at least as expensive as it is now. Oil sands need extra refining to be able to run our cars, the sands are only profitable when gas is up around three or four dollars (I believe it is). Yes, we can get oil from Alaska, although I suspect that will be somewhat more costly, and when it runs out we are left looking for deeper and deeper wells. And all of this consumption is taking away plastic and fertilizer and gasoline that our grandkids might want (at a reasonable price).

Anyway though, there are ethical and financial reasons besides Climate Change to conserve and reduce our use of fossil fuels, and convert our electric generation to solar, wind, more hydro and tidal, and our transportation to more electric from those sources.

But Heartland and Scaife want big oil to continue making their profits.