Global warming coverage shows why modern journalism will be extinct long before polar bears 3/5/08Posted by Steve Boriss in Global warming.
The inconvenient truth about a scientific issue like global warming is that there can be no truth — just an inconvenient debate. The foundation of science is the scientific method, particularly the controlled laboratory experiment. So, until someone can figure out how to jam the earth into a test tube, control all variables, and reproduce the results, honest scientists may differ and are encouraged to differ. And, only dishonest scientists would even think of trying to shut them up.
The inconvenient truth about modern journalism is that it claims to present “truth,” but mostly covers issues of social policy where there are no truths — just inconvenient debates. Thomas Jefferson understood this, so he did not expect newspapers to provide truths. He just wanted them to participate in a multitude of voices competing in a freewheeling marketplace of ideas. Jefferson would have thought it ludicrous for our journalists to be masquerading as scientific professionals, while falsely appropriating scientific terms like “objectivity” for their unscientific craft.
So when modern journalists, who do not understand their limited ability to deliver truth in their own profession, try to deliver truth on global warming without understanding what that requires, you don’t need a laboratory experiment to predict what will happen. As the Business and Media Institute has now documented, you end-up with TV networks that jump and cling to the outrageously premature conclusion that global warming is an environmental catastrophe that is all mankind’s fault. You end-up with coverage that stifles debate, relies on politicians and rock stars for scientific analysis, and smears as cynics and deniers the hundreds of honest scientists who beg to differ. But, another inconvenient truth is that the Internet is now giving these dissidents a voice, and the public is beginning to hear them. Journalists are now beginning to feel the heat, and if they don’t adapt to the new environment soon, their field will be threatened with extinction.