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Monbiot puts up prize for best online denial rubbish

post #1 of 119
Thread Starter 

a stylish trophy and a one way kyak trip to the north pole (and three bars of kendal mint cake, yum!) are the

2009 Christopher Booker prize for climate change fiction


"The award will go to whoever in my opinion....manages, in the course of 2009, to cram as many misrepresentations, distortions and falsehoods into a single article, statement, lecture, film or interview about climate change."


first up;

columnist, John Tomlinson, from Flint, Michigan


crams 18 misleading statements about climate change into a column of just 486 words.



post #2 of 119

Wow, that was an impressively ignorant article.  I think this is my favorite part:


"Because a massive study, just released by the Russian Government, contains overwhelming evidence that earth is on the verge of another Ice Age."


It takes some serious idiocy to think that an article written by an American blogger on the website of a Russian newspaper constitutes a massive study released by the Russian government containing overwhelming scientific evidence about anything.


What a freaking tool.

post #3 of 119

What is John supposed to tell his autoworker readers?  They are about to become unemployed because their union was too greedy and their managers were too incompetent and oh yes, the product they produced was killing the planet?  Check back in 5 years when those workers are building parts for wind farms. John will switch his message, but still get it wrong.

post #4 of 119

Oh my word....have you looked at any of John Tomlinson's other articles?  Those are some gems too....


I hope he takes the Guardian up on the one way kayak trip.

post #5 of 119
Originally Posted by stins:

Oh my word....have you looked at any of John Tomlinson's other articles?  Those are some gems too....



I just did, and immediately came upon this gem...


" a man of science myself..."


"The god of global warming, Gore...his scientific views are worshiped"


"John Coleman, on the other hand, who founded the Weather Channel, has produced reams of scientific material"


"many famous scientists such as Francis Crick, who discovered DNA, agree with Wallace. They've presented irrefutable evidence that life on earth was unquestionably created by an intelligent entity."


Hah!  This guy would make a great comedy act.

post #6 of 119
Thread Starter 

so this is what we will be getting now as the oil people slink off to earn their pennies elsewhere? creationists? i feel a bit ill after reading that, the libellous attacks especially. and they can just keep repeating the shite, its all easily disprovable, but that relies on there being someone who can bother to do it, each and every time.

post #7 of 119

Well that's the issue really.  People in the media speak from a position of authority.  Their audience assumes that TV, radio, newspaper, and even blog articles have been researched and are accurate.  Otherwise why would these guys be so angry?


There used to be a sense of journalistic integrity where you were actually expected to get your facts straight.  Now people just don't seem to care.  The media regularly gets the facts totally wrong, and sometimes issues corrections, but nobody really notices those anyway.  I mean, how often do we see somebody reference some totally wrong article written by some blogger with no idea what he's talking about?  The sad thing is, thisTomlinson idiot isn't even that unusual.

post #8 of 119
Thread Starter 



next up;


George Will


who he? i wanted it to be the delightful Sammy Wilson, Northern Ireland environment minister and all round good egg*





*shouldn't that be "climate change denying creationist bigot"? - ed


Edited by gerda - Wed, 18 Feb 2009 21:50:02 GMT
post #9 of 119

Haha that article was featured on Climate Progress too.


Is George Will the most ignorant national columnist?

post #10 of 119
Thread Starter 

ah yes good article, and beats monbiots by a couple of days. i think our george is near the end of his tether, he is normally a lot more patient than this. its even more frustrating watching our gov. still sitting on its hands now things are happening at last over your way, and as we have noticed, the internet denyers are out in force.

post #11 of 119

I LOVE my dog!  We adopted her from a local rescue organization last March.  She's a senior already but loves camping and tolerates the cats and rabbit.  Anything else you want to know?  How about the grandkid?  He's four now, and the reason I began researching global climate change, which is, after all, what this forum is about. 


Edited by stins - Mon, 23 Feb 2009 18:27:04 GMT
post #12 of 119
Thread Starter 

hi Amy! we have a 'senior' dog too. springer. still up fro the odd romp in the woods but has trouble getting up now, arthritis. i know how she feels. see you later,  take care now.

post #13 of 119
Originally Posted by gerda:

hi Amy! we have a 'senior' dog too. springer. still up fro the odd romp in the woods but has trouble getting up now, arthritis. i know how she feels. see you later,  take care now.


I'm still recovering from weeding yesterday at work.  I think I tried to weed the whole place!  The ground is still wonderfully soft from last weeks rains, and the mustard and cockleburr just pops right out!  But my back is reminding me today that I overdid it.  Tomorrow I've got 2 volunteers coming in, and I'll be getting to work an hour early so we can work together to put the weeds on the run where we can. 


Back to the dog: my family owned a dog when I was young, and Leila is our 2nd.  We were blessed to have our first dog for 16 years.  Leila, a German-Australian Shepherd mix, is only 8, so we should be able to enjoy a few good years together before she starts to slow down.

Edited by stins - Mon, 23 Feb 2009 18:27:32 GMT
post #14 of 119
Originally Posted by AmyLOC:

Leila, a German-Australian Shepherd mix, is only 8, so we should be able to enjoy a few good years together before she starts to slow down.



That sounds like a cool mix.  We've got a pit bull/german shepherd/lab and a fox/bull terrier mix.  The former is an awesome dog.  The latter is very cute but kind of a spaz, as terriers tend to be.  We just had to put some metallic mesh on our backyard fence yesterday because she manages to jump over this 6-foot-tall fencing.

post #15 of 119
Thread Starter 

gosh cool dogs all. crosses generally so much more healthy. amy, i wonder if the australian shepherd is less likely to get the hip disphasia? and dana, pitbull/alsatian???? hope he is well trained! brains and brawn together, nice.


amy, that early weeding is so important isnt it, it sets you up for the year. i was out today and yesterday weeding, wooding and planting in modules to put in my newly reskinned poly house. bliss!

post #16 of 119
Originally Posted by gerda:

 dana, pitbull/alsatian???? hope he is well trained!


Oh yeah he's one of those dogs who's always aiming to please.  Great dog.  It's the other one who's the troublemaker. 

post #17 of 119

Oversweeping generalizations can get you into trouble every time.  When referring to pit bulls, I have two individuals I can refer to at polar opposite sides of the spectrum.  One was owned by a longtime friend, and was the sweetest animal you'd ever care to meet.  Never any problem with that dog ever, God rest her soul.


The 2nd was owned by now-former neighbors, the ones that lost their house despite the fact they had a greenhouse full of pot.  Their pit pull would bark and growl anytime you were out in the yard, and would chew on (eat) the fence in an attempt to attack.  Animal control couldn't/wouldn't do anything unless the dog was in our yard.


So like anything else in life, there are many shades of gray.  Every pet we've ever had has taught me something about life.  It took us 2 years before we were ready to get another dog.  She'd been owned since she was a pup, and returned after 6 years for snapping.  Obviously a point of concern for us because of our grandson.  But you know?  Once we got her bad tooth taken care of, once we got to know her, and her us, we no longer worry about her snapping.  That said, when my grandson is over, I keep a close eye on his contact with Leila.


Dana, my husband had a dog that was a jumper when he was a kid.  He wishes you good luck in keeping yours put!

post #18 of 119
Originally Posted by AmyLOC:

Dana, my husband had a dog that was a jumper when he was a kid.  He wishes you good luck in keeping yours put!


Thanks.  Fortunately every time she's jumped the fence she's jumped back.  Apparently she landed on one of our neighbors' cacti a couple of times, and managed to come out of it no worse for wear.  But I think we've got the problem solved, although my wife thinks our backyard looks a bit like a prison yard now.


As for pitbulls, as long as they're not raised poorly (i.e. by dog fighters), they're great dogs.  Similar to dobermans they've gotten a really bad rap because of people who have raised them to fight (in the doberman case, to guard), but they're extremely human-friendly.  In fact, they were bred so that their owners could reach into the dog fighting ring and grab them without being bitten.


It ticks me off when certain states outlaw particular breeds, or when people are scared of all dogs of a certain breed because of a few bad apples (and by that I mean people like Michael Vick).  Really any dog can be nasty if raised that way.  It's not pitbulls' fault that they've been the target of dog fighters.  Personally they're one of my favorite breeds.  Terrific dogs (and very cute).

post #19 of 119
Thread Starter 

cute? if you say so..... actually i do think staffordshire bull terriers are cute, even with the squished faces, and the couple i have known have been adorable temperament. they are a bit like pitbulls but smaller.


my aunt takes 'hopeless' rescue dogs and retrains them, she has had amazing sucess wit a dozen over the years. it can be done.

post #20 of 119

Yeah my wife adores bull terriers, and I like them too.  That's going to be our next dog, in fact.  I prefer just getting dogs from the pound, but she really wants a bull terrier.


This weekend we watched this French movie called Baxster because it was centered around a bull terrier.  Messed up movie though!

post #21 of 119

Back to the original subject, the Washington Post allowed George Will to rebut his critics.  In doing so, they allowed him to claim that only one of his original assertions was challenged (a laughable, bold-faced lie), and that the lone challenge was incorrect.  He also repeated some of the many false claims in his original article, like the 1970s global cooling myth.


Apparently the Washington Post editorial staff is utterly incompetent.

post #22 of 119

So the entire Washington Post editorial staff is "utterly incompetent?"  Doubtful. 


I have and will always have a tremendous amount of respect for this newspaper. Why?  You're too young to remember Watergate first hand.  For your generation, it's just a story, a movie, a chapter in American history.


Flashforward to 2009 and the George Will columns.  The fact that newspapers in general are between a rock and a hard place in general.  That a weak economy has impacts there, too.  That George Will is a man whose reputation includes a Pulitzer Prize, and visibility in other mediums.


I'm not a fan of Will, but let me play devil's advocate here.  This is an Op-Ed column.  It is held against a different standard than that which appears in news sections of a paper.  It is clearly put forth as the opinion of the writer, and doesn't necessarily represent the feelings of the paper in general.  What kind of contract Will has, who knows, who cares.  What kind of clout does he carry?  An enormous amount.  Does he help sell newspapers? As Sarah said, "You betcha."  Is he full of it?  On this issue, you and I both know he most definitely is.


And the awesome thing about this is the publicity it generates, the opportunity it provides for other, better informed individuals to set the record straight.  It generates controversy -- which benefits all involved in a number of ways -- and it keeps people talking about a topic which needs discussion.  A topic which yes, is still deeply misunderstood by many.


I heard Janeane Garofalo on Jon Stewart the other day, talking about Rush Limbaugh.  It was a crackup, hearing her uninhibited assessment of this ... person.  Will spewing forth on global warming may be well received by a specific audience, but again, it provides a platform for others to take it apart.  Which they did, and will again.


Back before my time there was Edward Murrow.  He was followed by people like Walter Cronkite, a name you should at least be familiar with.  There are many, many journalists in many aspects of what we now refer to as "the media" who still possess the kinds of standards that once carried the day.  Before that, in the early 20th century, there was the Hearst era, not journalisms finest hour.  But not long before that was the era of the muckraker.


I guess the reason I'm venting here is because you, Dana, have repeatedly taken it upon yourself to hammer the media for this that and the other.  I ended up taking another path in life, but I've met journalists who went to jail rather than revealing a source, and I know what it takes in a good many fields to sometimes get the truth out there.  And it saddens me whenever you generalize in this fashion about the media. 


The Washington Post is not the same institution it was in the 1970's, when Ben Bradlee and Kathleen Graham ran the show.  But hey, lighten up, and use this as the opportunity it is to put the facts straight without jumping on the media-bashing bandwagon that the conservatives in this country love to ride.  Will's ride is almost over, and almost guaranteed there will be another of his ilk to take his place.  That's life.  LIve with it, but do it without tarnishing the reputations of those in the media who work hard and long to do it right.


This part may post twice -- once more than he deserves, if it does -- but following the 4th paragraph I included this link, which shows for me when I pull it up to edit text but doesn't show when I look at the thread:


Edited by AmyLOC - 2/28/2009 at 12:33 am
post #23 of 119

The American media is a shell of what it was in the days of Murrow and Cronkite.  Certainly there are still good journalists, and I would never claim otherwise.  When I generalize about the media it's just that - a generalization, and not a statement about every journalist.


Certainly there must be many competent editors at the Washington Post.  Nevertheless, those who saw the two George Will articles are incompetent.  It's difficult to argue otherwise considering the fact that anyone with the ability to perform a Google search could have found any number of factual errors in the article in just a few seconds.


Even in an opinion article it's important to get facts right.  And if you don't, that's what editors are supposed to be for.  For the Post editors to miss the errors not just once, but a second time after many people had pointed them out, is simply incompetent.  Even worse is to allow Will to claim that only one of his claims had been criticized.  That's just a flat-out lie, which the editors know, because I'm sure they received a lot of mail about the article detailing its many factual errors.


I'm sure the paper enjoyed the attention it got from the article, but they're running a big risk by allowing false information to be published in their paper repeatedly.  Personally I've lost quite a bit of respect for the Post for their reaction to the article criticism.  Maybe I'm being unfair and the half-dozen people involved don't represent the quality of the other Post employees, but they're all part of a team.  Personally if I was in charge, I'd fire the people involved with these article.  It sullied the paper's name.

post #24 of 119
Thread Starter 

i suppose its easier here in that the press is pretty much divided along political lines.

the soft right, like the times, the centre, like the independent, and the left, like the grauniad, all give pretty much science/evidence based opinion, with argument like here between folk with different ideas on how bad it will be and what we should do about it. the recent debates over nuclear are a good case.

the hard line tory papers, i.e. the mail, the telegraph and the express, all give a mixture, with minority ideas given equal billing in the opinion, and some slant on the news stories. one example that caught my eye was the reporting of predictions from a russian scientist with the headline 'warming will be good for russia', with increased drought, disease etc.only mentioned down in the text.

as for the tabloids, they obviously go for whatever sounds most sensational, the sun has been particularly damaging, especially since 'the great gw swindle' was broadcast, which they saw as heralding open season on 'boffins'. it is assumed, i guess, that nobody likes a smartarse, so any chance to gleefully shout 'they dont know what they are on about' is grabbed.


post #25 of 119

See that's what the media should focus on - how bad the warming will be and what to do about it.  That's a valuable discussion.  It shouldn't be a forum for spreading misinformation and long-debunked myths.  The Brits know how it's done.

post #26 of 119

I don't think you see the irony in answering the way you did.  Obviously I'm not getting through, so never mind, but you've obviously got a problem with the media that isn't healthy considering what the media can and does do for any given issue, including this one, including the Washington Post. 


This site keeps track of how many views a thread gets.  What someone just popping in sees in your first answer sees is a slam against the media.  That you tried to clarify it with a 2nd response is moot. 


It's not for Dana to decide how the media should conduct it's business.  I don't think overall they're doing a bad job regarding global climate change in the last few years.  Where the media failed was in its ability to step up to the plate post 9-11, when the administration portrayed anyone who questioned their policy as being un-American.  For years they were strangely distant.  On that issue I would not only join you in criticizing the American media, I would use much stronger language, much stronger.


That said, it's becoming obvious that this forum is more than an exchange of facts,  not what I thought it would it would be or truly need.  I'm the sort that needs to bounce thoughts and ideas on a given subject off of others, but I'm spending time trying to get you to be more careful in how you present yourself since you've carved out a niche for yourself as a spokesperson for the cause.  I can't even begin to express all the nuances a complicated and morphing subject like global climate change entails.  But the media gets a passing grade from me. I haven't read the March issue of National Geographic yet, but the cover story is "Saving energy: It starts at home," with another article on the Canadian oil boom.  I can't think of a great way to wrap this up, so signing off for now feeling rather frustrated regarding this forum.

post #27 of 119
Thread Starter 

real climate's response



well george is a week behind the news this time.


too busy doing real journolism i suppose.




Edited by gerda - 3/3/2009 at 05:21 pm
post #28 of 119

Good responses by RealClimate, Monbiot, and Climate Progress.  There have been many to choose from, as a matter of fact.  It's good to see that so many aren't willing to let Will and the Post's repeated trampling of the truth go by unchallenged.

post #29 of 119

Suddenly other journalists at the Washington Post are taking George Will to task for sullying the paper's reputation.



The new evidence -- including satellite data showing that the average multiyear wintertime sea ice cover in the Arctic in 2005 and 2006 was nine feet thick, a significant decline from the 1980s -- contradicts data cited in widely circulated reports by Washington Post columnist George F. Will that sea ice in the Arctic has not significantly declined since 1979.



Will Misleads Readers on Climate Science - Again




Will's climate change columns are a case study in how one can cherry pick scientific data to fit their own agenda.


Now that's more like it!

post #30 of 119

Monbiot puts up prize for best online denial rubbish


and now he calls for resignation of Phil Jones, the leading scientist who supplied forged data and conspired to make the "hockey stick" chart,

Do you guys have a dead crow to eat here?
Edited by AlTekhasski - 11/27/09 at 8:15pm
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