Just ahead of the lights going out for the last time?
Before going into some detail about why these letters don’t make it into our pages, I’ll concede that, aside from my easily passing the Advanced Placement biology exam in high school, my science credentials are lacking. I’m no expert when it comes to our planet’s complex climate processes or any scientific field. Consequently, when deciding which letters should run among hundreds on such weighty matters as climate change, I must rely on the experts — in other words, those scientists with advanced degrees who undertake tedious research and rigorous peer review.
And those scientists have provided ample evidence that human activity is indeed linked to climate change. Just last month, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change — a body made up of the world’s top climate scientists — said it was 95% certain that we fossil-fuel-burning humans are driving global warming. The debate right now isn’t whether this evidence exists (clearly, it does) but what this evidence means for us.
But how would this guy know if he doesn’t listen carefully to the other side? The history of science is, among other things, a history of the 5% being right. There are lots of reasons for that; our many articles on the crumbling peer review process offer some insights into why it happens that way today.
One academic fumes,
“The free press in the U.S. is trying to move the likelihood of presenting evidence on this issue from very low to impossible,” J. Scott Armstrong, co-founder of the Journal of Forecasting and a professor of marketing at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School, told FoxNews.com.
Chill, brother. (So to speak.) What used to be the “free press,” unable to cope with the way the Internet has obliterated its gatekeeper role, is largely morphing into public relations agencies for causes and politicians it supports. Expect more of this bannination stuff.
Folks, today, “free press” is spelled I-N-T-E-R-N-E-T.
Note: Anthropogenic global warming (that guy’s shutdown button) is only one of many controversial issues.
Dollars to donuts, we’ll soon be hearing that science is settled on a bunch of other issues too, so your letter won’t be published on those issues either if you doubt or disagree.
The key thing to see here is that the LA Times no longer wishes to function as a public newspaper – in which case its job would be to capture the controversy as it happens in public, even if the journalists are strongly committed to one side. The paper wishes to act as a soapbox for an ideology it is comfortable with.
For a newspaper, this is one of the stages of dying.