Environmental Journalists Dismiss Scientific Evidence

Published September 19, 2007

At the September annual meeting of the Society of Environmental Journalists, Associated Press writer Seth Borenstein gave a presentation in which he ripped global warming “skeptics” for calling attention to corrected errors in NASA data which resulted in NASA rescinding its claim that 2006 was the warmest year ever in the U.S. Borenstein voiced sarcastic contempt for “skeptics,” asserting that even though eliminating 0.15 degree Celsius of false warming data made 1934 rather than 2006 the warmest U.S. year on record, whatever particular year happened to be the warmest is an irrelevant news event because the difference between the two temperatures is not very great.

Yet where was Borenstein’s criticism of his media colleagues when they published alarmist, sensational news articles trumpeting 2006 as the warmest year on record at a time when they believed 2006 had barely edged out 1934?

Indeed, the Washington Post published a sensationalist front-page article on January 10, 2007, entitled “Climate Experts Worry as 2006 Is Hottest Year on Record in U.S.”

One day earlier, USA Today had published an article entitled, “Data shows 2006 was USA’s warmest year on record.”

CBS News could not even wait until the end of 2006 to trumpet the sensationalist news, publishing an article on July 14 entitled “2006 Is Warmest Year Yet In U.S.”

MSNBC was quick to follow CBS’ lead, publishing a story two days later entitled, “U.S.: First half of year warmest on record.”

A roll call of newspapers and media organizations publishing sensationalist articles asserting that 2006 was the warmest year ever in the U.S. would fill a telephone book, and yet Borenstein is silent on the topic when the sensationalist reports would appear to confirm his own personal biases. It is too bad that The Associated Press has strayed so far from being an objective source of news information.

James M. Taylor ([email protected]) is The Heartland Institute’s senior fellow for environment policy and managing editor of Environment and Climate News.