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Why are newspapers going out of business?

Without a doubt it's because they publish stories that are hideous bunk, that are works of fiction, that desecrate the very idea of truth and they do it without blinking, without shame and without remorse.

Like this one:

Climate change is already killing 300,000 people a year in a “silent crisis” that is seriously affecting hundreds of millions more, an influential humanitarian group warned today.

A report by the Global Humanitarian Forum, led by Kofi Annan, the former UN Secretary-General, says that the effects of climate change are growing in such a way that it will have a serious impact on 600 million people, almost ten per cent of the world’s population, within 20 years. Almost all of these will be in developing countries.

So what do the experts say about the report? Roger Pielke Jnr takes up the story:

It is a methodological embarrassment and poster child for how to lie with statistics. The report will harm the cause for action on both climate change and disasters because it is so deeply flawed ... The report is worse than fiction, it is a lie.

And how did our green friends work out the figure of 300,000? Pielke Jnr again:

[T]o get around the fact that there has been no attribution of the relationship of [greehouse gas] emissions and disasters, this report engages in a very strange comparison of earthquake and weather disasters in 1980 and 2005. The first question that comes to mind is, why? They are comparing phenomena with many “moving parts” over a short time frame, and attributing 100% of the resulting difference to human-caused climate change. This boggles the mind.

As Pielke points out, when these calculations are done properly the differences in disaster losses are attributable completely to socio-economic factors.

The report is clearly a travesty. Who is going to mourn the newspapers that publish it?


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    You’d like to think that such a supposedly elite bunch of ’scientists’ would have bothered to check the facts before issuing such utter tripe as a press release, but apparently if you’re a climate scientist, this isn’t nec...

Reader Comments (17)

Just in case you missed it. The White House Press Secretary on the British Press:
May 29, 2009 at 10:21 PM | Unregistered CommenterKit
Not sure that newspapers are going out of business because of reporting stuff like this. The Guardian liked it so much, they published four articles on this report within a few hours.
I’ve been commenting on the report on the Monbiot article (
I’ve managed to shut up the usual warming groupies, and I’ve only got to page 25. It’s a gem. I do recommend that you read the original report, and not simply the press release, obediently trotted out by the environmentalist lobby. It’s such a perfect parody of the warmist position that I can’t help feeling it’s been written by underlings of the supposed authors (Kofi Annan, bosses of Oxfam, UN Environment Programme, etc) as a way of wreaking subtle revenge on their bosses. That’s my conspiracy theory, anyway.
May 30, 2009 at 12:47 AM | Unregistered CommenterGeoffchambers
May 30, 2009 at 12:52 AM | Unregistered Commentermuddypaws
I curtailed my subscription with the Telegraph a short while ago when they ran not one, but two, articles on the same day covering the Stern "Crocodiles at the North Pole" report. When I rang up, the girl at the DT asked why I had decide to cancel my Direct Debit and I told her I was fed up with reading nonsense over the breakfast table.

So yes, the newspapers ARE losing business, but this is entirely as a result of lazy 'press release journalism'. If I had the time, I would set up a spoof quango environmental website and issue a completely inane press release. I rather like the idea of "Global Warming Causes Truancy" which would link nice sunny days to the absence of school pupils. I would then sit back and see how many newspapers would run it.

I won't bother though, because I already know the answer.
May 30, 2009 at 1:04 AM | Unregistered CommenterNickB
I wonder if Ben Goldacre will cover this.
May 30, 2009 at 1:29 AM | Unregistered CommenterGreg

I think BG avoids environment on the whole.
May 30, 2009 at 8:36 AM | Unregistered CommenterBishop Hill
Muddy, thanks for the Dilbert strips. Just perfect.
May 30, 2009 at 2:30 PM | Unregistered CommenterJeff Wood
If the climate continues in its cooling phase we may well see a lot more deaths.
May 30, 2009 at 3:01 PM | Unregistered CommenterRod
I wonder if it's significant how both the print media and the warmists are getting more sensational/hysterical as the wheels begin to loosen on their respective bandwagons?

As Dilbert knows (thanks, muddypaws), these figures are just plucked out of the air, but the difficulty will come when other, different, figures purporting to make the same point are shown to be just as baseless. The sceptics seem to be making more ground lately (outside the MSM, of course) but I don't expect the warmists to go quietly.

By coincidence, I found the following today, written by Stephen Jay Gould over a decade ago. It made me feel better, anyway...

“Skepticism or debunking often receives the bad rap reserved for activities—like garbage disposal—that absolutely must be done for a safe and sane life, but seem either unglamorous or unworthy of overt celebration. Yet the activity has a noble tradition, from the Greek coinage of ‘skeptic’ (a word meaning ‘thoughtful’) to Carl Sagan's last book, The Demon-Haunted World. Skepticism is the agent of reason against organized irrationalism—and is therefore one of the keys to human social and civic decency. Skepticism's bad rap arises from the impression that, however necessary the activity, it can only be regarded as a negative removal of false claims. Not so. Proper debunking is done in the interest of an alternate model of explanation, not as a nihilistic exercise. The alternate model is rationality itself, tied to moral decency—the most powerful joint instrument for good that our planet has ever known.”
May 30, 2009 at 10:27 PM | Unregistered CommenterJames P
On a very similar note, article in the Telegraph, basically a cut/paste press release as you describe which claims that climate change is more dangerous than nuclear war.

Despite the fact that by any sane comparison with even the most delusionally hysterical climate change figures, it demonstrably isn't, even if you use those same climate models to predict the meteorological effects of a thermonuclear war.

May 31, 2009 at 9:52 AM | Unregistered CommenterBlind Steve
And more bollocks from the Guardian:

This appeared in the Observer today, which is the only paper I take regularly, but I'm seriously thinking of cancelling if they really believe this stuff...
May 31, 2009 at 7:44 PM | Unregistered CommenterJames P
Brilliant post, comments and links. And on the subject of thermageddon, from December last year here’s Scientific American’s Top 10 Places Already Affected by Climate Change:

Now you’d think that with hundreds of thousands of people dropping dead (right now!) from climate change, that the alleged Top 10 Places would naturally be where unnaturally large numbers of people happen to be actually dying. But… no.

Well, the first one in the slideshow (Darfur) does count - that is, if you accept the premise that the whole conflict has been caused to Global Warming. (“People don’t kill people, climate change kills people”, as it were.)

But the others? Grapes ripening too fast in northern Europe. Alpine ski resorts with less snow than usual. Ugandan villagers being pee’d off at environmental do-gooders.

A little less than convincing, don’t you think.
May 31, 2009 at 7:53 PM | Unregistered CommenterAlex Cull
I've just realised why the Grauniad is getting so worked up:

Will you be going, Bish? I wonder how all the foreign delegates plan to get there - will bicycles be issued?
Jun 1, 2009 at 8:59 AM | Unregistered CommenterJames P
Here is a link to a video about Arctic sea ice changes. It should receive the widest circulation possible. Why are we told to worry? Because they want our tax money!

H/T to
Jun 1, 2009 at 9:27 AM | Unregistered CommenterPerry
I was wrong. I thought it would be the Guardian - the unthinking man's Daily Mail.
Jun 2, 2009 at 9:11 PM | Unregistered CommenterSteve
Yes, the MSM are losing viewers and readers in droves, for one simple reason, they treat us with disdain. If for example, you have anxieties re immigration, you are a racist. If you are sceptical about AGW you are a denier, if you have doubts about the wisdom of our education bureauracy you are an elitist.

I have recently cancelled a subscription because of this so-called advocacy journalism, and urge readers of this blog and others to hasten the demise of the newspapers by beginning a blog of their own.

Blogging is the saviour in this day of media misinformation. Blogging and bloggers put information at your fingertips, information that blogging disseminates is free of media bias.

Get blogging !
Jun 3, 2009 at 1:00 AM | Unregistered CommenterAyrdale
Good grief the Scientific American 10 places affected article has to be dated doesn't it?

Get real. What about the Catlin farce?

And hasn't the hurricnae theory been debunked?

The MSM are really in an alternative universe aren't they?

I give up - I have a degeree in Atmospeheric Physics and I have trouble with warmism because it is a religion and it is hard to fight!!!
Jun 3, 2009 at 11:12 AM | Unregistered CommenterHarry G

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