Michael Gerson has lousy timing. In The Washington Post, in one of those now familiar elegies for old media, he writes:
And the whole system is based on a kind of intellectual theft. Internet aggregators (who link to news they don’t produce) and bloggers would have little to collect or comment upon without the costly enterprise of newsgathering and investigative reporting. The old-media dinosaurs remain the basis for the entire media food chain.
That’s laughably untrue in the Warmergate story. If you rely on the lavishly remunerated “climate correspondents” of the big newspapers and networks, you’ll know nothing about the Climate Research Unit scandals – just the business-as-usual drivel about Boston being underwater by 2011. Indeed, even when a prominent media warm-monger addresses the issue, the newspaper prefers to reprint a month-old column predating the scandal. If you follow online analysis from obscure websites on the fringes of the map, you’ll know what’s going on. If you go to the convenience store and buy today’s newspaper, you won’t. That’s the problem.
If anyone needs newspapers, it ought to be for stories like this. If there were no impending ecopalypse, then “climate science” would be a relatively obscure field, as it was up to a generation ago. Now it produces celebrity scientists living high off the hog of billions in grants. They thus have a vested interest in maintaining the planet’s-gonna-fry line. So what do the media do? Instead of exposing the thesis to rigorous journalistic examination, they stage fluffy green stunts, run soft-focus “living green” features with Hollywood “activists”, and at a time of massive staff cutbacks in every other department create the positions of specialist “climate correspondent” and “environmental reporter” and fill them with sycophantic promoters of the Big Scare to the point that, as Dr Mann coos approvingly to The New York Times, “you’ve taken the words out of my mouth”.
What Gerson writes ought to be true. Warmergate demonstrates why it isn’t.