Thickening Advocacy, Thinning Accuracy

By July 29, 2006Global Warming

The Washington Post continues its uncritical reporting, read advocacy, on global climate issues on the front page today in “On the Roof of Peru, Omens in the Ice.” Short version: Global warming is causing glaciers to melt and woe to all. In today’s report, Andean woe!

Nowhere in this piece is there an attempt at context or balance. Glaciers are melting worldwide and it’s due to a man-made increase in atmospheric carbon dioxide, period. The glacier on Mount Kilimanjaro subsides, global warming is to blame.

That’s good for advocacy, not so good for accuracy. As has noted in previous posts, while some glaciers are thinning, others are thickening (New Zealand, Norway). And local conditions may play a role, just conceivably.

Take Kilimanjaro, for example, also cited in former Vice President Al Gore’s flick. In a pithy debunking of the Gore envirodocudrama, Joseph Bast of The Heartland Institute notes factors other than global warming may be involved at the African peak: “Scientists know temperatures at the top of Kilimanjaro have been falling, not rising, and the disappearing snow is due to changes in land use at the bottom of the mountain, causing drier air to rise up the mountain’s side.”

These are notable points for any major newspaper piece that seeks to inform, not inculcate. Beause, you see, scientific debate does continue, as seen in this AP piece on the difficulty involved in measuring the historical strengths of hurricanes. They may not be getting worse because of global warming, after all. Imagine.

P.S. Today’s otherwise familiar Washington Post story features one unusual element, or rather, omission. Search through the entire 1,800 word piece and nowhere will you find the specific phrase, “global warming.” Curious.

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