Commentary Magazine

The NY Times v. Science

The New York Times this morning had a story splashed across its front page with the ominous headline, “Earth Sets a Temperature Record for Third Straight Year.” Its first paragraph was even more ominous:

Marking another milestone for a changing planet, scientists reported on Wednesday that the Earth reached its highest temperature on record in 2016, trouncing a record set only a year earlier, which beat one set in 2014. It is the first time in the modern era of global warming data that temperatures have blown past the previous record three years in a row.

Vivid writing to be sure (although the Times meant highest average temperature, not highest temperature). Football teams get trounced by 30 points. Racehorses blow past the competition to win by six lengths. What the Times does not give its readers, though, are the actual numbers by which global temperatures are racing towards climatic Armageddon. All we get are the loaded verbs.

There’s a reason for that it turns out.

This year’s record “trounced” the previous year’s by how much, exactly? According to Britain’s The Independent, it beat it by 0.01 degrees Celsius. And that was with a 0.1-degree margin of error. As Robert Tracinski explains inThe Federalist, “that’s like saying that the football is on the 10-yard line—give or take a hundred yards.”

The Watts Up With That? climate change website makes a strong case that the recent numbers are nothing more than a predictable effect of the El Niño weather pattern in the Pacific Ocean and that the now nearly 20-year-long pause will quickly reassert itself now that El Niño is ending. The pause, of course, is why the phrase of choice, “global warming,” suddenly turned into “climate change” a decade ago. Even the Times admitted, “El Niño has now ended, and climate scientists almost universally expect 2017 to be cooler than the year before.”

Why would the Times give such extraordinary prominence to a story in which it suppresses the data by which the reader could judge the story’s true importance? It’s hard not to conclude that the reason is that it advances the liberal agenda. In other words, it is not journalism; it is propaganda. Story by story, reportorial crusade by reportorial crusade, what was once incontestably the greatest news gathering and disseminating organization in world history has slowly been morphing into the Pravda of the American left.

How very, very sad.

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