For the past week, the breathless buzz on the global warming denier blogs and radio programs has been about a certain BBC News article regarding the temporary cooling effect of El Niña this year. Serial denier Noel Sheppard at Newsbusters described how the denier dramathon unfolded:
As reported Sunday, the third paragraph of what previously had been a very balanced piece about how global temperatures have been declining since 1998 was totally reworded in order to make the report just another hysterical climate change pronouncement.
On Monday, Jennifer Marohasy, the director of the Environment Unit at Australia’s Institute of Public Affairs, received and published an e-mail exchange between the article’s author, Roger Harrabin, and a climate activist affiliated with the British Campaign Against Climate Change…
Predictably, Rush Limbaugh got on the bandwagon, linking to a piece by yet another denier, and incorporated the story into his April 8th show. He adds a little more spin with the classic “there’s no consensus on global warming!” argument. Limbaugh said:
The saga was like a game of telephone. The story became more elaborate and fantastical as it was told, morphing a BBC article into Conclusive Proof that the world is actually cooling down. It’s boilerplate denier stuff, selectively quoting articles as well as relying on unsubstantiated claims that the BBC author modified the article based on the advice of an environmental activist. But here’s the core of the problem: the BBC article is a classic example of vague/shoddy reporting, for they didn’t even quote Michel Jarraud completely.
Here’s what the World Meteorological Organization Info Note actually said (emphasis theirs):
It’s right there in the lead.
Then, they even have Jarraud’s quote in bold and italics.
How much more obvious could it be?
Even George W. Bush uses “The Google”.
That’s all a reporter – and a global warming denier – needs to do to discover the real story, and to learn a little more about Jarraud’s consistent emphasis on the problem of climate change/call for action. Background information is very easy to find, and it should be the central goal of responsible journalism.