Wednesday, March 21, 2007

The War on Gore

The latest skirmish in the long running Battle of the Inconvenient Truth (Manansas 1-5) is a provocation by William Broad in the New York Times. Bob Somerby pretty much nails the political part of this new front in the war on Gore, (see also, Pt. 3, Pt. 2, Pt. 1), something he has been writing about since, well 1999, and in particular the New York Time's investment therein. In many ways similar to what Bush has got himself and us into in Iraq, the former bearing a large part of the blame for the latter. For the science, we can send you to Real Climate, for the meta, well Sylvia Tognetti in Post Normal Times. For the snark, there is always Rabett Run.

Somerby is a rather close reader and writer of texts, sometimes too close for Eli's taste, however, he has a pithy and correct way of dealing with the trollish formulation of Al's take on sea level rise.

Let’s make this simple: In his “20 feet” estimate, Gore was talking about what will happen if the Greenland and Antarctic ice shelves break loose. In its “23 inch” estimate, the IPCC is discussing what will occur if that doesn’t happen.


Anonymous said...

Bob Somerby says:
"Does that mean that these “half-truths” were intentional? Not necessarily, no. But God knows, Broad’s report is full of such bungles."

This is the crux of the matter.

Journalists -- and the papers they work for -- no longer consider it important to verify that what they write is true.

And the papers that the journalists work for then use this to say, "Don't blame us. Our journalist has no idea what he/she is talking about" (but we keep them on staff nonetheless)

If what these "journalists" write in the NY Times did not have such far-reaching and utterly tragic effects (eg, Times "journalist" Judith Miller's BS stories about Saddam's WMD, that were used by Bush & Co. to justify the invasion of Iraq, which has killed untold thousands), the whole thing would be comical.

I guess it still is, in the "tragicomedy" sense.

Hank Roberts said...

Excellent (now five-part) series.
Well worth the trouble to find and read this.

Anonymous said...

another good article on the war on gore:

Here's US News Media's "War on Gore"
By Robert Parry
Consortium News

Thursday 22 March 2007

When historians sort out what happened to the United States at the start of the 21st Century, one of the mysteries may be why the national press corps ganged up like school-yard bullies against a well-qualified Democratic presidential candidate while giving his dimwitted Republican opponent virtually a free pass."

ankh said...

I think David Brin's right. He's posted that blackmail -- setting up situations, capturing the record then threatening to disclose them -- is an old and well established method of influencing politics.

What else could be going on besides some hidden persuasion, with this pattern?

Oh, I know, Occam's stupidity, but ... really?

ankh said...

Thanks for the reminder about and link to Robert Parry's article.

This sort of utterly inexplicable stupid behavior by large groups of journalists just haunts me.

How can people be so misled so easily for so long, so consistently?

Maybe Charles Fort was right, "we are property" --- and the rare person who manages to speak up is cut out and isolated and misrepresented to keep the rest of us stupid.


Anonymous said...


I agree with everything you said above, with two word changes

"This sort of utterly dishonest behavior by large groups of journalists just haunts me."

Some journalists might just be stupid, but others (at the NY Times and Washington Post for example) know very well what they are doing.
They are doing it for a couple reasons: 1) they know that it is only by keeping their employer's (paper, TV network, etc) owner and chief editor satisfied that their career will move forward 2) like those editors and owners, they enjoy cavorting with the powerful.

LogicallySpeaking said...

The complete misunderstanding of what Al Gore said regarding sea level rise illustrates beautifully the lack of reading comprehension skills amongst the general populace.

I remember when I first heard that "Gore predicts 15m sea level rises". I spent a long time searching for where he had made this blunder before I finally realized people are just incapable of seeing the difference between "this is what could happen if" and "this is what will happen".

Anonymous said...

For some reason, people will listen to what some nitwit at the NY Times says Al Gore said instead of listening to Gore himself in his movie.

People need to ween themselves off the major newspapers and other mainstream media outlets because they have been very poorly served by this media in recent times (witness the completely bogus NY Times pre-war reports on WMD).

More than anything else, it's a question of blind trust. People need to be a lot more skeptical (in the traditional sense).