The NY Times’ Bret Stevens pilloried for pointing out facts

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The NY Times has been pretty much permanently on 50-60% off for a subscription since the election. I’m really surprised why they don’t openly publish the growth in subscribers. In order to redress the balance the paper hired a conservative journalist Bret Stevens whose first Op-Ed piece looked at the dangers of data. Unfortunately he picked climate change as a topic and the alarmists fired a salvo of toxic verbatim. To be honest I am glad to see The NY Times look to redress the criticism that is clearly impacting subs growth despite claims to the contrary.

So what did Stevens write that so angered the Twitterati? Let’s take a look.

There’s a lesson here. We live in a world in which data convey authority. But authority has a way of descending to certitude, and certitude begets hubris. From Robert McNamara to Lehman Brothers to Stronger Together, cautionary tales abound.

We ought to know this by now, but we don’t. Instead, we respond to the inherent uncertainties of data by adding more data without revisiting our assumptions, creating an impression of certainty that can be lulling, misleading and often dangerous. Ask Clinton.

With me so far? Good. Let’s turn to climate change.

Last October, the Pew Research Center published a survey on the politics of climate change. Among its findings: Just 36 percent of Americans care “a great deal” about the subject. Despite 30 years of efforts by scientists, politicians and activists to raise the alarm, nearly two-thirds of Americans are either indifferent to or only somewhat bothered by the prospect of planetary calamity.

Why? The science is settled. The threat is clear. Isn’t this one instance, at least, where 100 percent of the truth resides on one side of the argument?

Well, not entirely. As Andrew Revkin wrote last year about his storied career as an environmental reporter at The Times, “I saw a widening gap between what scientists had been learning about global warming and what advocates were claiming as they pushed ever harder to pass climate legislation.” The science was generally scrupulous. The boosters who claimed its authority weren’t.”

Can someone point out why Steven’s article was deserved of

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What ever happened to reasoned debate? What happened to arguing where his article is wrong without resorting to expletives.Libby Watson, by the way, is a journalist. Didn’t she have facts to refute Stevens? Other comments were less charged but he was criticized for not writing something they wanted to read. Isn’t that the first rule of journalism- engage the audience?

We shouldn’t be surprised at the reaction though in today’s twitchy typing finger world. As many forget in the digital world, social media posts have a half-life of infinity.

Steven’s article made salient points. If only 36% of Americans care about climate change then perhaps the message delivery is the problem. Indeed I’m all ears to the debate if it were delivered with raw facts, admissions of failure and culpability when deliberate acts of deceit have been committed and sensible strategy to combat on a settled scientific problem, indeed if necessary. That’s  the problem. It isn’t settled. Were it such a slam dunk then that 64%  would be runnning to the other side of the room.

As it stands countries like Australia are committing acts of tokenism on the back of virtue signaling. Even chasing the most aggressive renewable energy targets have shown using the most alarmist projections that our impact on rising global temperatures is so minuscule that the investment case makes no sense. Then again I always argue the true test of a person’s true commitment to climate change is reflective of consumption patterns. Leo DiCaprio is the poster child of that hypocrisy.

In any event well done to The NY Times for seeking balance.

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