Croker Sack

"Democracy is the theory that the common people know what they want, and deserve to get it good and hard." — Henry Louis Mencken (1880-1956)

Friday, June 23, 2006

The Times hypes the "hockey stick"

Here's the next installment of news media treatment of the National Academy of Sciences report on global warming. The Seattle Times published an article written by Los Angeles Times reporters who apparently couldn't see anything at all uncertain in the report:

Prestigious scientific panel backs global-warming data

By Thomas H. Maugh II and Karen Kaplan
Los Angeles Times

After a comprehensive review of climate-change data, the pre-eminent U.S. scientific body found average temperatures on Earth have risen about 1 degree over the past century, a development that "is unprecedented for the last 400 years and potentially the last several millennia."

It seems odd that reporters would not notice the stated levels of confidence in the NAS report. The report's authors had less confidence in any temperature reconstructions covering times before 1600 A.D. They had even less confidence in the "hockey stick" claim that the 1990s were the hottest years in the last 1000 or 2000 years. But the LA/Seattle Times article says none of this.

Typical for the LA Times, the reporters expressly tell their readers what to think about the NAS report:

The finding was a rebuke to skeptics and some conservative politicians, who have repeatedly attacked the hockey stick as the work of overzealous scientists determined to shame the government into imposing environmental rules on big business.

The facts aren't important, but the spin must be included.


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