by Mentarch | 10/13/2007 02:33:00 PM
(Updated below)

Al Gore was awarded a Nobel Peace Prize jointly with the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

As expected, the smear attacks and indignant cries of right-wingers, global warming denialists and all assorted anti-Gore maniacs have been flooding the blogosphere.

Incidentally, the same thing is going on in numerous MSM outlets.

Just this day, I found four columns from so-called news columnists/editors - each one repeating the same barbs, same lies and same global warming denialism.

Four different columns, each one equally displaying utter junk journalism.

Let us begin with Terence Corcoran's piece in the National Post, titled "A coup for junk science". Here is the opening line of Mr. Corcoran's opus:
Global warming theory has been in political and scientific trouble for some time.
Yawn. The same type of blatant lie as the one pushed by creationists/IDists with regards to evolution. Same quack tactics - not surprisingly, because what else can deniers do in the face of an established scientific consensus among an overwhelming majority of scientists?

In any case, this opening line from Mr. Corcoran's column is quite telling of the kind of incompetent news columnist that he is.

But it gets better. Then comes the (expected) parroted barbs and sneers against the actual value of the Nobel Peace Prize:
Rescuing and rewarding the obscure and the absurd has been a Nobel sideline for some years. The award has gone to half a dozen fringe movements and futile causes (the Gameen bank, Mother Teresa, nuclear disarmament, land mine activists, peace negotiators), ineffectual United Nations agencies and personalities (including KofiAnnan and the UN itself ), occasional warmongers (Yasser Arafat), plus an international assortment of minor and woolly-headed players on the world stage (Wangari Masthai, Jimmy Carter).
From there, Mr. Corcoran goes for the jugular:
Onto this heap of forgotten causes and marginalia the Nobel has just tossed Al Gore and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the UN's official climate science group. What a blow the award must be to the IPCC, self-proclaimed home of scientific rigour, to now be lumped in with Reverend Al and his Travelling Snake Oil Road Show and Climate Terror Machine.

If history is any guide here, the IPCC is now doomed to slide into obscurity, joining the list of similarly feted UN agencies that beaver away in relative obscurity and ineffectiveness, their Nobels rotting on shelves: The International Atomic Energy Agency (2005), United Nations peacekeeping forces (1988), the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (1981), the International Labour Organization (1969) and the UN Children's Fund (1965).

The first task of the IPCC now, one would think, is to craft a statement disavowing any link with Gore, whose film and book, both titled An Inconvenient Truth, deserved a Nobel for science fiction rather than peace. Not that the IPCC is squeaky clean on the science of climate accuracy. Even the Nobel committee's statement on the IPCC captured the agency's primary role as political shaper of opinion and builder of consensus. IPCC scientific reports have "created an ever-broader informed consensus" about man-made global warming. The Nobel committee said it wanted to "contribute to a sharper focus" on climate change around the world.
This illustrates well the intellectual vapidity and dishonesty of Mr. Corcoran.

First, he casts aspertions on the IPCC for its scientific rigor because, well you know, that is all ignoramuses like Mr. Corcoran can do in order to reassure themselves that their intellectual sloth-driven "beliefs" are sound - nevermind if you have no idea what science and the scientific method are all about. Hence, in Mr. Corcoran's primitive mind, the scientists affiliated with the IPCC must be suspect in their scientific rigor and, consequently, wrong about global warming. Yeah - that's the ticket!

Second, Mr. Corcoran can't help himself but spit literally on Mr. Gore by seeking to ridicule him.

Hence, what we have here are two classic tactics of right-wing nutterers, denialists, fundamentalists and other assorted madhaters: refuse to recognize competence in, and heap ridicule upon, those who "threaten" your ignorance-based beliefs and ideologies.

Typical incompetent human behavior.

Then, of course, Mr. Corcoran perpetuates junk journalism by parroting junk journalism from elsewhere, with regards to that recent ruling by a U.K. judge concerning Al Gore's An Inconvenient Truth:

Just hours before the Nobel announcement, Gore was busy spinning his way out of a devastating United Kingdom court case that found nine substantial science errors in the film version of An Inconvenient Truth.

The nine errors, listed on Page A19 of this newspaper, are truly major. But Gore's office, in true political form, tried to turn the science disaster into victory, claiming he was "gratified" that the U.K. court had not totally banned distribution of his film in British schools. Instead, it would have to circulate like a package of cigarettes, with a warning label: Children watch this movie at peril of being politically manipulated by Al Gore into thinking what they are watching is true.
Mr. Corcoran is referring to another article in the same journal where he contributes, which in turn draws exclusively from the same misinterpretations of other (mostly) conservative-leaning newspapers from the U.S., the U.K. and Australia.

As I am fond of saying: garbage in, garbage out.

To this effect, do take the time to read the actual ruling of this U.K. judge here. You will notice this very telling passage:
In the event I was persuaded that only some of them were sufficiently persuasive to be relevant for the purposes of his argument, and it was those matters - 9 in all - upon which I invited Mr Chamberlain to concentrate. It was essential to appreciate that the hearing before me did not relate to an analysis of the scientific questions, but to an assessment of whether the 'errors' in question, set out in the context of a political film, informed the argument on ss406 and 407. All these 9 'errors' that I now address are not put in the context of the evidence of Professor Carter and the Claimant's case, but by reference to the IPCC report and the evidence of Dr Stott.
As someone else puts it: "if you noticed the quotation marks around 'error' (...) Burton is not saying that there are errors, he is just referring to the things that Downes alleged were errors".

In other words: junk journalists like Mr. Corcoran and all others of his ilk have been listing without thinking (or perhaps knowingly indeed) nine instances put forth by the plaintif which the complaint deemed "scientific errors" and yet not recognized by the U.K. judge, because the judge himself ruled that it is essential to appreciate that the hearing before him did not relate to an analysis of the scientific questions!

Hence, the judge never outlined errors in Gore's movie and never ruled them as errors!

(For more on this blatant excercize of incompetence on the part of journalists with regards to the ruling of this U.K. judge, read this excellent article).

So, once again, what we have here is another display of stenographing and amplifying outright falsehoods through MSM outlets - thanks to incompetent journalism.

But this doesn't stop Mr. Corcoran from ripping away at Al Gore, his movie (and even his 1997 climate change book as well!), leading to his conclusion:
Given his science gaffes, and his political liabilities, the Nobel may be more of a liability, not just to Gore but to the entire global warming community. The prize has elevated junk science, gross exaggeration and outright misrepresentation to high international stature, the most prestigious award in the world, discrediting all who work honestly to find the facts and do the right thing.
Actually, what we have here is another blatant excercize of junk journalism - nothing more, nothing less.

And as I mentioned at the beginning of the present article, Mr. Corcoran was not alone in displaying utter incompetence today.

Indeed, we were also graced with the "serious, thoughtful and knowledgeable" David Warren, with his piece "If only there were a Nobel prize for deception" in the Ottawa Citizen. I've already discussed Mr. Warren's utter ignorance of all things related scientific. Suffice it to say that his column of today is a mere mirror image of Mr. Corcoran's column discussed above, complete with the same displays of shameless ignorance, vapidity, inanity and parroting of falsehoods (once again, especially with regards to the ruling from the aforementioned U.K. judge). And since three's company, the "serious, thoughtful and knowledgeable" David Frum likewise penned a column on the very same subject in the National Post (again), titled "Honouring a panic-monger", filled to the brim with the same falsehoods, sneers and blatant display of intellectual sloth-driven ignorance and incompetence.

A fourth column, an editorial by The Gazette and titled "Al Gore is out of his league", proved to be somewhat of an exception today. Indeed, the editorial does not dispute global warming but could not help itself in seeking to demean the value and significance of the Nobel Peace Prize awarded to (gasp!) Al Gore while mentionning the now-robotic misinterpretations of the U.K. judge's ruling on his movie. But considering the sad and tragic current state of journalism, credit must nonetheless be given where credit is due - I therefore do so by outlining the ending of this editorial:
Despite all this, however, nobody could deny that Gore has done much to spread the word about climate change, a problem with the potential to create resource conflicts in many parts of the world.

Gore's co-winner of the Peace Prize, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, was lauded by the Nobel committee for scientific reports that have "created an ever-broader informed consensus about the connection between human activities and global warming."

Gore's crusade has helped the world understand those reports. The challenge now, for all of us, is to find sensible ways to slow down emissions and cope with those effects that are already inevitable.
Again - although this is far from constituting a call for mobilization to fight global warming, at least we do not have yet more climate change denialism on display in an MSM outlet.

All in all, and considering the offerings we were served today, I can only conclude that Mr. Gore's Nobel Peace Prize constituted an opportunity for duplicitous, mendacious, ignorance-based and/or outright sloppy journalism to rear its ugly head again.

(Where Mr. Gore and global warming are concerned - nothing new here, unfortunately)

In short: today was a veritable coup for junk journalism.

But truth be told - days like today seem increasingly like just another typical day in MSM Land.

Sadly enough.

Yet another truth laid bare - applicable anywhere.

Update: 10/14/2007 - Faux News hosts and commentators keep reacting like shrilling and sniping, utterly ignorant tweenies with regards to Mr. Gore's Nobel Peace Prize - again, not surprisingly. You can read more on the junk journalism about this subject here. On a related note, you can read another exhaustive and reality-based analysis of the U.K. judge's ruling on An Inconvenient Truth here. Enjoy.

(Cross-posted from APOV)

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Blogger eOz on 10/14/2007 1:43 PM:

We can take a simple principle from Al Gore's own conduct as an important one for ourselves: ignore the criticisms which have no substance and keep focused on the real debate. The media pundits are so used to picking fights over trivia that such a long view completely escapes them. Gore has demonstrated the power of moving forward (e.g., progressing) while others around are regressing or spinning in circles.

We do need to monitor the various media for the emergence of strategies to block or evade or hide the thrust of the argument, but we do so only to sift out those who are simply acting out their on-stage character and leave those with malicious intent. Of these, we only are concerned with those who can actually do anything to the detriment of the People, the planet or progress toward solving the actual problem.

With patient persistence, Al Gore has pushed aside most of the latter now. From a global perspective, the problem is being engaged. Even in the United States, the problem is being engaged, albeit too slowly. But that is a lot further than we were in 2000.

It is good to be watchful and mindful of the opposition, but we can outlast, outthink and outsolve them more easily because of what Al Gore has done, and that fact is just now entering a new level of true power and opportunity due to the recognition of the Nobel Committee. It is time to press the point forward with renewed urgency and let the chattering pundits break their lances on the windmills of their own delusions.


Blogger Mentarch on 10/14/2007 6:39 PM:

All I can add is - hear, hear! ;-)