Tuesday, March 24, 2015

How should journalists treat candidates who deny climate change?

Michael Hiltzik, Los Angeles Times

The GOP Presidential field presents a problem for journalists: How should they treat climate change denial?

Should reporters accept climate change denial as part of the political debate, or challenge it relentlessly?

In the not-so-distant past, it would not have been unusual or unseemly for journalists to identify political candidates making grossly unscientific assertions--that aliens walk among us, say, or the moon is made of green cheese--as crackpots.

Climate change, however, seems to have made cowards of the press. Although the scientific consensus is absolutely indisputable that the climate is warming due to human activity, the issue is typically reduced to a some-say-but-others-dispute debate dividing Republicans (usually deniers) from Democrats (usually accepters).

On his invaluable PressThink blog, press critic Jay Rosen raises the question of how reporters should deal with climate change deniers on the campaign trail. He observes that "claims that climate science is a hoax, or that human action is not a factor are not defensible positions in a political debate." But he's still at a loss to say exactly how the press should report these claims.

The issue's importance is underscored by the entry of Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, into the presidential race on Monday. Cruz is a climate change denier.

(More here.)


Anonymous Anonymous said...

How should journalists treat candidates who deny climate change? They should challenge these claims just like any other claims that are not supported by science. This includes religious claims which should also be open to challenge and scrutiny.

12:20 PM  

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