Newsweek and "The Truth About Denial"

16 August 2007

Newsweek recently ran a follow-up piece on their article The Truth About Denial. In it, Robert Samuelson argues that the original piece "was a wonderful read, marred only by its being fundamentally misleading." Samuelson, seemingly missing the entire point of the article, goes on to argue that curbing greenhouse gas emissions is not very feasible at this point in time (hint: the original article was about shifting the debate to exactly this point, rather than getting bogged down by a bunch of loud people saying that it's not even worth investigating).

After this powerful start, Samuelson gives us this gem:

"The alleged cabal's influence does not seem impressive. The mainstream media have generally been unsympathetic; they've treated global warming ominously."

I'm sorry, Mr. Samuelson, but you are wrong here. Despite the anecdotes provided (Samuelson supports his proposition by citing just one TIME and one NEWSWEEK cover story), the media as a whole has indeed given great credence to the "alleged cabal." Actually, somebody took the time to survey the prestige press on exactly this issue. In a paper titled "Balance As Bias" (pdf here), Maxwell Boykoff surveyed the major U.S. newspapers and found that the majority gave equal time and credence to the "alleged cabal," despite the fact that they are very much at odds with pretty much all scientific research on the issue.

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