How Huffington Post aided a demolition job on climate science
Today the Huffington Post won a Pulitzer Prize. Congratulations, Huffington Post! Now you’re in the club. I’m sure the execs at the Washington Post and the Wall Street Journal who failed to take home any wins this year are teeth-gnashingly jealous.
But that’s not what this post is about. What it takes to win Pulitzers, most of the time, is big budgets, smart reporters, and weighty topics of national import. But most of the stories that shape our national debates, and thereby our future, are nothing like this sort of award bait. Most of those stories are more like “NASA Global Warming Stance Blasted By 49 Astronauts, Scientists Who Once Worked At Agency,” a short piece in the Huffington Post last week.
This article recycled a press release announcing that a bunch of former NASA employees, including some astronauts and scientists but no climate experts, had taken issue with the agency over its work on global warming. Findings that “man-made carbon dioxide is having a catastrophic impact on global climate change are not substantiated,” the retirees charged. The article — written not by one of HuffPo’s famously uncompensated bloggers, but by its science editor, David Freeman — didn’t offer a single fact in rebuttal of the letter. But at the end, it asked: “What do you think? Is NASA pushing ‘unsettled science’ on global warming?”