NYT Applauds Cassandra, but Isn’t Taking Her Calls on Climate Change

I find it very peculiar that the New York Times can publish an editorial observer piece about unheeded warnings–“Cassandra, the Ignored Prophet of Doom, Is a Woman for Our Times,” by Adam Cohen (4/19/10)–without once mentioning climate change.

The piece cites various foretold disasters–Bernie Madoff, sexual abuse by priests, the financial meltdown, September 11, New Orleans–without mentioning the looming catastrophe whose impact seems likely to eclipse all of these. (One of China’s top economic planners recently predicted that the economic disruption caused by global warming “would be equivalent to that of the two world wars and the Great Depression combined.”) Cohen does mention Al Gore as the originator of the phrase “inconvenient truth,” but recalling which truth Gore was referring to is left as an exercise for the reader.

But perhaps this omission is not so strange, considering that more than half of the paper’s science writers are reportedly doubters when it comes to climate change (FAIR Blog, 3/17/10). That would explain why the Times put stories questioning climate scientists on the front page (11/21/09) while relegating reports clearing them of the charges against them to brief items in the back pages (3/31/10, 4/15/10). Maybe in this instance, the Times believes, Cassandra happens to be wrong.

About Jim Naureckas

Extra! Magazine Editor Since 1990, Jim Naureckas has been the editor of Extra!, FAIR's monthly journal of media criticism. He is the co-author of The Way Things Aren't: Rush Limbaugh's Reign of Error, and co-editor of The FAIR Reader: An Extra! Review of Press and Politics in the '90s. He is also the co-manager of FAIR's website. He has worked as an investigative reporter for the newspaper In These Times, where he covered the Iran-Contra scandal, and was managing editor of the Washington Report on the Hemisphere, a newsletter on Latin America. Jim was born in Libertyville, Illinois, in 1964, and graduated from Stanford University in 1985 with a bachelor's degree in political science. Since 1997 he has been married to Janine Jackson, FAIR's program director. You can follow Jim on Twitter at @JNaureckas.