Deliberate distortions
Apr 30, 2014
Bishop Hill in Climate: Sceptics, Climate: Surface

The New Yorker is taking sceptics to task for citing old newspaper articles (H/T Leo Hickman). The case seems to be that this is being done in a cursory fashion.

There’s nothing wrong with examining old newspaper articles for clues about climate conditions in the past. Legitimate climate researchers look at historical documents of all kinds. However, a good-faith effort to arrive at the truth would not rely on cherry-picking catchy headlines. It would require considering the context and looking at all the evidence. At the very least, it wouldn’t allow for deliberate distortions.

This made me laugh because I had raised an eyebrow at an earlier sentence in which the author said this:

A central tenet for [sceptics] is that today’s sea-ice retreat, warming surface temperatures, and similar observations are short-lived anomalies of a kind that often happened in the past—and that overzealous scientists and gullible media are quick to drum up crises where none exist.

Is claiming that sea ice is in retreat when sea ice levels are well above their long-term average the kind of "deliberate distortion" that he is referring to? Or perhaps "today's" means something different at the New Yorker.

Article originally appeared on (
See website for complete article licensing information.