Arianna Huffington Saves the Day for Climate Alarm

by William Yeatman on January 12, 2009

Well, that compendium of the Left's snits and snivels, The Huffington Post, has managed to embarrass itself even more aggressively than is their norm. It published a nice walk-through of the skeptic’s view of manmade warming and, I have it on very good authority, having informed world-class meteorologist and hostess Arianna Huffington of its skeptical nature up-front.

Oops. What's that, you say? Ms. Huffington is not a world-class meteorologist? In fact, she's not a meteorologist at all? In fact, she's not even a climatologist? Or a geologist? Or a geographer? Or an atmospheric chemist? Or an atmospheric physicist? Or a physicist or chemist of any kind? She's not even a scientist?! But, wait, the objection to the piece, in HuffPo’s scramble to appease the greens who assailed her for allowing heretical (to the Green Church) images to scald the eyes of the faithful, frothed about the impropriety of a non-scientist opining on the issue (coughGore!Obama!RedfordDiCapriocough). He was a PR guy, Oh, these kids and their pranks!

The author, Harold Ambler, wrote a thoughtful treatment of the issue – particularly given HuffPo standards, as revealed by our PR friend – which made its way somehow through Huffington Post's editors for publication. (Can it possibly be that someone both qualify as an editor at HuffPost and find the piece was well reasoned? Well, yes…until the Left flips out about it.) AGW critics quickly took note, amazed that HuffPost would publish such a piece. Senate Environment and Public Works minority staffer Marc Morano called attention to it in a widely circulated e-mail.

So HuffPost placed a piece with the standard forms of argument in, er … response … to carefully reasoned critiques of AGW: diminish the author (preferably rather personally), appeal to authority without making the argument (and indeed rather ignore the substance of what was written), spout off about the still-undisclosed overwhelming majority of scientists who somehow told this fellow that they disagree, the science is in, the argument's closed. (For a refresher on these forms of argument, flip back to the section on informal fallacies in H.W.B. Joseph's Introduction to Logic.)

Enter Ms. Huffington, owner and editor of HuffPost to arbitrate the dispute she caused by personally agreeing to take a piece by someone she knows to be a climate realist. She explains:

Harold Ambler reached out to me about posting a critical piece on Al Gore and the environment. We are always open to posts that present opinions contrary to HuffPost's editorial view . . . . I myself have written extensively about the global warming crisis, and have been highly critical of those who refuse to acknowledge the overwhelming scientific evidence.

When Ambler sent his post, I forwarded it to one of our associate blog editors to evaluate, not having read it. I get literally hundreds of posts a week submitted like this and obviously can't read them all — which is why we have an editorial process in place. The associate blog editor published the post. It was an error in judgment. I would not have posted it. Although HuffPost welcomes a vigorous debate on many subjects, I am a firm believer that there are not two sides to every issue, and that on some issues the jury is no longer out. The climate crisis is one of these issues. [emphasis added]

So there you have it. Off with the piece’s head, and that of any claims it may have made! Upon further review, balance is bias, dissent and discourse are dangerous (and surely not patriotic!) and she, for one, will have no part of them. At least, when the issue is necessary for so much of her team’s agenda. Ignore that the attempt to document the alleged overwhelming scientific consensus on AGW failed, that an actual survey of climate scientists found there was no such consensus, and that a  survey of relevant scientific publications shows no consensus but a wide range of positions, with growing movement over recent years against AGW. Ignore the 31,000+ scientist signers of the (“oh, those old names” or else “never heard of him!”, as the case requires, but remember that all are lesser beings on the matter than Al Gore by virtue … of…disagreeing with… us).

Ignore the 100+ meteorologists and other climate-related scientists who signed the Leipzig Declaration. Ignore the 100+ scientists (including 73 Nobel Prize winners) who signed the Heidelberg Appeal. Ignore the 47 atmospheric scientists who signed the Statement by Atmospheric Scientists on Greenhouse Warming. Ignore the 100 scientists who signed  an open letter to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon rejecting AGW. Ignore the over 650 scientists, including many contributors to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, who have published their rejections of AGW. (These total far more than the number of scientists with any meaningful involvement with the IPCC's Scientific Assessment and its more alarmist and more widely read Summary for Policymakers.)

We have it on Ms. Huffington's and Al Gore's impeccable authority as mystics, alchemists, whatever, they’re the right kind of scientists, they know that’s something is so if they say it’s so: There is no debate, there is no evidence against AGW, and, for the sake of the planet, PAY NO ATTENTION TO THAT MAN BEHIND THE CURTAIN!

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