Cranks and Hacks

by Henry Farrell on June 4, 2006

After telling us that we shouldn’t worry about global warming because the _Denver Tribune_ predicted climate change in 1874, David Kopel “leaps to the defence”:,2777,DRMN_23972_4747222,00.html of noted loon, William Gray, in his weekly column for the _Rocky Mountain News_.

bq. … former Vice President Al Gore claims that scientific skeptics of global warming are merely being paid off by big oil companies. But in fact, Colorado’s most prominent skeptic is Colorado State University professor of atmospheric science William Gray, who has directly harmed his own financial interests by speaking out … [a]s detailed in a major profile in The Washington Post, … while the Boulder Daily Camera reprinted the story of Colorado’s controversial scientist, The Denver Post – which has access to Washington Post articles – did not. … The News and The Denver Post do recognize Gray as an expert on atmospheric science, and have published dozens and dozens stories citing his hurricane forecasts and analysis … Yet in the News and Post combined, one can find only a few paragraphs even mentioning Gray’s analysis of global warming. … by little noting the evidence presented of eminent experts such as William Gray, the papers are presenting a skewed and misleading perspective on the scientific data.

Kopel curiously fails to mention Gray’s insights into the politics of global warming, which receive prominent mention in the aforementioned “article”:

bq. Gray has his own conspiracy theory. He has made a list of 15 reasons for the global warming hysteria. The list includes the need to come up with an enemy after the end of the Cold War, and the desire among scientists, government leaders and environmentalists to find a political cause that would enable them to “organize, propagandize, force conformity and exercise political influence. Big world government could best lead (and control) us to a better world!” Gray admits that he has a dark take on human nature: “I have a demonic view on this.”

Cue the black helicopters (perhaps, given the subject at hand, to the music from “Thus Spake Zarathustra”)

In short, Kopel’s entirely correct in his claim that it isn’t only hacks who deny the mounting evidence for global warming. It’s cranks too.

Burying The Lede?

by Belle Waring on June 4, 2006

You know, it’s very rare that I find myself agreeing with some Instapundit post about terrorism. Vanishingly rarely. And I find the tedious “media bias” paranoia on the right to be…tedious–wait did I say that? Still, the NYT account of the recent Canadian government action (in which they claim to have arrested the members of a terrorist group previously under monitoring when they accepted delivery of some 3 tons of ammonium nitrate) is sort of strange. I obviously don’t suggest that the headline should read “Muslims, trying to kill you, or trying to kill you and your children?”. That said, it actually is a little weird to have the info run as follows: 1) 17 Canadians arrested for plotting to blow things up; 2) the men were mainly of South Asian descent and varying ages as follows; 3) none were known to be affiliated with al Qaida (why would we even think they were? Oh.); 4) RCMP assistant comissioner notes: “They represent the broad strata of our society. Some are students, some are employed, some are unemployed” (right, now this is crazy, but do they have anything in common at all, like adhering to some fringe-group religious extremism? Anything?); 5) something something something; 6) something something something; 7) other stuff, also, stuff about border security, possibly zinging those who obsess about our southern border at the expense of real security; 8) “Islamic extremists.” Wait, what? Islamic extremists? Surely not!

It merely invites suspicion to dance around an obviously relevant point. I do not think that the risk of anti-Muslim pogroms among readers of the NYT rises appreciably as the issue is mentioned in earlier paragraphs of the article. If Nazis plot to blow stuff up, just go on and say they’re apparently Nazis in paragraph one. I promise not to go look up some random blonde guy and pistol-whip him. Unless he’s this one ex of my sister’s, who’s a racist skin, and…what? OT, sorry. If radical Islamists plot to blow things up, then just go on and say so.

UPDATE: James Wimberley’s point about the “Nazi’s” noted. Namely that they’re Nazis.

FURTHER UPDATE: I thought you all knew enough about me to know that I think Roger Simon is a crazy person–with a hat! It’s my birthday and everything, y’all; be charitible.