LA Times Bans Debate On Climate Change
The Los Angeles Times newspaper has announced it is banning anyone who opposes their view on climate change from publishing in the letters section of the newspaper. Paul Thornton, editor of the papers letters section said “Simply put, I do my best to keep factual errors off the letters page, when one does run, a correction is published.” He went on to say “Saying ‘there is no sign humans have caused climate change’ is not stating an opinion, it’s asserting a factual inaccuracy. So now if your opinion on some subject doesn’t agree with the opinion of the letters section editor, you have no chance of having your letter published. Why would people want to read such a close minded paper?
Mr. Thornton is wrong when he states “Saying ‘there is no sign humans have caused climate change’ is not stating an opinion, it’s asserting a factual inaccuracy.” Mr. Thornton admits he has no training in meteorology or climatology. He relies on the findings of the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) for his evidence that humans are changing the climate. The IPCC claims to be 95% confident that global warming is real and caused by burning fossil fuels but they admitted they don’t know to what degree, if any, the climate system reacts to increases in carbon dioxide! This makes their claim of 95% confidence meaningless. Writing to the LA Times and stating that there’s no sign humans have caused climate change IS an opinion, it’s just not one that he believes in so he doesn’t want to hear it.
When Paul Thornton said “Saying ‘there is no sign humans have caused climate change’ is not stating an opinion, it’s asserting a factual inaccuracy.” he was making a statement of faith in those who believe that human activity is changing our climate and weather. There is no faith in science. Faith does not require evidence or validation. Science is logic and facts. When science proved that the earth is round we discarded the flat earth theory. Mr. Thornton is basically saying don’t tell me something that conflicts with what I believe, it might shake my faith in what I know is true even though I admit I don’t understand it. When the earth’s average surface temperature stopped rising fifteen years ago, despite very large increases in carbon dioxide, people began to question the theory of man made global warming. This is what science does, it’s constantly questioning so that we can learn about how things work. Faith does not allow such questioning and now neither does the LA Times newspaper.
In science we postulate theories about how something in nature works. We then test that theory against real world observations. If the theory is unable to match real world observations and make predictions about how what we are studying will behave than the theory is wrong and is discarded. This is not cruel or biased. It is how science works. There is no voting in science. In science all opinions are welcome. Scientific inquiry is generally intended to be as objective as possible in order to reduce biased interpretations of results. Clearly the editor of the letters section in the LA times has no interest in this way of thinking.
Okay so I’ve established that the LA Times is not a scientific publication. They’re not supposed to be. They are part of the free press that (at least for now) can publish whatever they like. However, they do their readership a disservice when they block out opinions that they call “factual inaccuracies” when they themselves can’t prove that opinions other than their own are in fact wrong. We all know that newspapers are in big trouble. Many have gone out of business and many are on the brink of going extinct. It’s my experience that what I read on the internet today is found in the newspaper tomorrow. Perhaps the LA Times is trying appeal to the audience that is fully committed to the belief that using fossil fuels to power our economies and bring prosperity to poor people is causing our climate to change. This may be an attempt to hold on to whatever readership remains.
Could it be that the LA Times newspaper is afraid they might be wrong? By banning those who have a different opinions about climate change, the LA Times is doing precisely what they accuse the “deniers” of doing, burying their heads in the sand so they won’t see something that could change their mind. The Nazi Joseph Goebbels said “Think of the press as a great keyboard on which the government can play.” Today our government is playing the man made global warming tune over and over again in the press. The LA Times is saying we will only play the government tune about climate change since it’s the only one we like. Our “leaders” in Washington are doing everything they can to destroy our energy industries in favor of technologies that they believe will save us from catastrophic temperature rise. They have faith that their efforts will work. Interestingly Goebbels also said “Faith moves mountains but only knowledge moves them to the right place.” Even a despicable Nazi can be correct once and a while.
Keep in mind that the news media outlets like the LA Times always desire to preach from the moral high ground. It is imperative for media companies to appear to have ultimate knowledge and wisdom. It doesn’t matter if it’s radio, newspaper or television. While working as a television meteorologist for twenty five years it was obvious to me that image is everything. They will say and do just about anything to make it appear that they are immune to error. I once asked the promotions manager of a television station that I worked for what the term “We are your news leader” was supposed to mean since we didn’t finish first in the ratings in any of our news programs. How could we be the “news leader” if we didn’t win a single newscast? He responded with “We don’t really know what it means, we just say it because we like the way it sounds.” He may not have understood what it was supposed to mean but I did. The station was willingly misleading the public. They were giving the impression that they were the “news leader” when in reality the ratings showed they were not. Tell a lie often enough and eventually most people will come to believe it. Could it be that the LA Times is attempting to mislead it’s readers into believing there are no opinions about climate change other than their own by deliberately not publishing letters that oppose their view?
The atmospheric carbon dioxide level is rising rapidly. Global average surface temperature is not. In fact since 2002 there has been a small cooling trend. If this lack of warming continues or if the cooling accelerates in the years to come there will be no sand left under the man made global warming castle. There is precious little now. The man made global warming theory is collapsing. The LA Times and it’s managers may be fearful they will crumble with it.
Seventy five years ago the Wizard of Oz said “Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain! The great Oz has spoken! The “Wizard” was revealed to be just a man who pretended to have great knowledge, power and wisdom. In the end he had none of those qualities, it was all an illusion. Now the LA Times is hiding behind their own curtain in the attempt to produce an illusion to their readers that there are no alternative opinions about climate change. But unlike Dorothy, the LA Times may never wake up from that dream.
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