Media Should Describe Sandy as the Result of Our Climate Experiment

NASA Satellites See Sandy Expand as Storm Intensifies

Columbia Journalism Review‘s Curtis Brainard and I had a somewhat lengthy back-and-forth on Twitter about his view (10/30/12, 11/1/12) that some journalists and environmental activists are misleading the public by pointing to superstorm Sandy as an outcome of human-caused global warming. I argued on FAIR Blog (11/1/12) that saying that global warming caused Sandy is simply accurate–and later tried to make my point via tongue-in-cheek metaphor in a tweet. I don’t think I convinced Brainard–“Wow. You’re spinning words like tops,” pretty much summed up his reaction. But I thought I’d try to explain what I was saying in a medium […]


How’d You Like That Hurricane We Made?

Hurricane Sandy (NASA)

Writing about journalistic treatment of the superstorm and climate change, CJR‘s Curtis Brainard (10/30/12) criticizes the New Yorker‘s Elizabeth Kolbert for the wrong reason. He takes issue with her statement (10/29/12): As with any particular “weather-related loss event,” it’s impossible to attribute Sandy to climate change. However, it is possible to say that the storm fits the general pattern in North America, and indeed around the world, toward more extreme weather, a pattern that, increasingly, can be attributed to climate change. He’s unhappy with the second part–retorting that you can’t attribute a trend toward extreme weather to climate change. But […]


USA Today: Keystone Job Cops

With New York Times public editor Arthur Brisbane continuing to puzzle over whether (or how) the Paper of Record should factcheck politicians, one might wonder whether other newspapers worry about the same thing. Take USA Today (please!). Yesterday the paper reported on the very contentious matter of the Keystone XL pipeline and jobs–a favorite issue for Republicans. The paper (1/24/12) told readers: Obama hasn’t been willing to ignore politics, says Bruce Josten, an executive vice president of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. He cites several instances–from the failure to reach a deficit-reduction deal with Republicans last year to the rejection […]