In case you hadn’t noticed, there is a new science communications meme out there: it is all our fault. Us scientists are too darned unlikable, dorky, literal, cerebral and generally unconnected to our “lower organs”. If we weren’t all these things and simply listened to the self-proclaimed science media gurus, all would be well. The public would get it, the deficit would be filled, and our environmental problems would be soved. Perhaps.
There is, however, an alternative explanation. Or at least another contributing factor. The Lame-Stream-Media.
Take for example, human-caused climate change and the LSM’s continued insistance to portray a made up conflict narrative, e.g., 97% of all working climate change scientist think increasing carbon emissions will warm the world, but let’s instead hear from Stan the Weatherman who says they are all boneheaded communists and that the earth is actually cooling.
And that is what we are up against on a good day. On a typical morning, we wake up to this;
Both pieces are riddled with lies. They come from the Wall Street Journal and Britain’s Daily Mail. An overwhelming majority of scientists that work in climate change science would disagree with these pieces. So would an overwhelming majority of reporters in the newsrooms of such esteemed newspapers. Yet, the leadership and ownership of these and many other enormous media outlets, e.g., the Washing Post, The Australian, Fox News, even the New York Times, continue to give not just a voice, but a godzilla-sized megaphone to the corrupt ideologues that make a living promoting junk science.
Don’t be such a scientist? What does it matter how good your communications skills are when you are up against such media monsters. What are we armed with in this battle? PowerPoint? Our cute blogs that get 0.00001% the traffic the LSM does? The letter to the editor?
We make use of all those tools but continue to loose ground with public perceptions. This morning, a group of leading climate change scientists published a letter in the WSJ debunking the lies told in last weeks op-ed by the notorious group of 16;
Do you consult your dentist about your heart condition? In science, as in any area, reputations are based on knowledge and expertise in a field and on published, peer-reviewed work. If you need surgery, you want a highly experienced expert in the field who has done a large number of the proposed operations.
You published “No Need to Panic About Global Warming” (op-ed, Jan. 27) on climate change by the climate-science equivalent of dentists practicing cardiology. While accomplished in their own fields, most of these authors have no expertise in climate science. The few authors who have such expertise are known to have extreme views that are out of step with nearly every other climate expert. This happens in nearly every field of science. For example, there is a retrovirus expert who does not accept that HIV causes AIDS. And it is instructive to recall that a few scientists continued to state that smoking did not cause cancer, long after that was settled science.
The union of concerned scientists also pointed out Monday that one of the most egregious lies in both pieces, was baloney:
Contrarians Misrepresent U.K. Weather Service Research to Push Cooling Claims
Climate contrarians are again pushing “global cooling” claims, despite the fact that 2011 was the 35th year in a row in which global temperatures were above the historical average.
Today, they’re relying on a column by David Rose in the United Kingdom’s Daily Mail in which the author mischaracterizes research from the Met Office, the U.K.’s official weather and climate science research body.
Rose claims there has been “no warming since 1997.” But his analysis relies on cherry-picking a single year and counting forward from there. By that logic, any year that breaks the record for “warmest ever” can be used as the starting point to argue there has been cooling. The Met Office rightly pointed out that taking a longer, scientifically defensible time frame shows significant warming over the past several decades.
Rose’s claim comes on the heels of the Wall Street Journal publishing cooling claims in a Jan. 27 op-ed, which the Union of Concerned Scientists also debunked.
I have used the letter to the editor myself in my local newspaper, trying to correct lies spread in the Washington Post about climate change. Even if I could write as well as George Will, I don’t have the international platform he does. Put simply; we are outgunned and outspent.
So science comm gurus; instead of (or in addition to) trying to fix us scientists, maybe we could work together with our allies in the media to fix all the corrupt outlets out there. Scientist have fought back this week using the tools we have, e.g., here, here, here, here, and here. (At least one journalist, Australia’s awesome Graham Readfearn also jumped into the fray). Unsurprisingly, the science comm gurus have nothing to say about the whole episode. Instead we are told scientists need to stop using overhead projectors and that we need more criticism. Oh right, I got the book-selling narrative mixed up again; it’s the messenger not the media. More on Hollywood Randy’s “solution” soon…