"And the 2009 “Citizen Kane” award for non-excellence in climate journalism goes to …"
Okay, I think it’s pretty obvious to regular Climate Progress readers who the winner is. Indeed, I was originally going to ask readers to vote on the winner from the top 10 list below — but it’d be like asking readers to vote for which major sports figure fell from grace farthest this year. As always, though, I welcome your thoughts on the “winners” and any omissions.
I do a lot of media criticism, so I thought I would end the year with an award for the major media outlet and/or reporter who has moved furthest from journalistic excellence. Next year I might name the award after this year’s winner, but for now, it’ll be named after Citizen Kane‘s “Declaration of Principles,” which publisher Charles Foster Kane idealistically enunciated early on in the film classic, but later on “Without reading it, Kane tears it up, throws it into the wastebasket at his side.” And no, I’m not including any of the “new media” in the list because none of them has even one-tenth the impact of any of the major media outlets on this list nor do most of them claim to be journalists.
And yes the entire media deserves a dishonorable mention for its generally poor coverage of climate science, politics, and economics this year:
- The clean energy revolution will not be televised, Part 2: Kathleen Hall Jamieson lambastes MSM for under-reporting climate bill
- U.S. media largely ignores latest warning from climate scientists: “Recent observations confirm “¦ the worst-case IPCC scenario trajectories (or even worse) are being realised” “” 1000 ppm
- CNN, ABC, WashPost, AP, blow Australian wildfire, drought, heatwave “Hell (and High Water) on Earth” story “” never mention climate change
Skipping the musical number I had prepared for the awards ceremony, let’s dive straight into the top ten list:
10. Nicholas Dawidoff, the author of the NYT magazine cover profile on Freeman Dyson — not just because the piece was deeply flawed (the media does bad profiles all the time) but because the author apparently didn’t care:
- Media stunner: When asked “Does it matter, from a journalistic point of view, whether [Freeman Dyson is] right or whether he’s wrong?” his NYT profiler replies “Oh, absolutely not.”
9. Fox News — just because they are dreadful on every subject doesn’t mean they don’t deserve to be on this list:
- Fox News on EPA endangerment finding: “Some skeptics say regulating carbon dioxide, a byproduct of burning fossil fuels, may be a difficult task, especially since people emit carbon dioxide with every breath”
- Glenn Beck proves he’s a brainless frog, warning (?) “Barack Obama has galvanized the country”¦. He’s forced us to think!”
- Fox News blurts out its agenda: “Now that Jones has resigned, we need to follow through”¦. First, stop cap-and-trade, which could send these groups trillions,” and then put “the whole corrupt ‘green jobs’ concept outside the bounds of the political mainstream.”
8. NYT‘s John Tierney — the main reason he isn’t higher is that I’m not certain many people take him very seriously and his output level in print is on the low side (the second bullet below is actually from 12/26/08):
- John Tierney makes up stuff “” does the New York Times employ several know/do-nothing fact checkers
- John Tierney IS the country’s worst science writer, not Gregg Easterbrook
7. David Broder — uninterested in the gravest problem of our time (except, that is, when he writes nonsense about it), and more interested in quick decisions, than right ones:
- David Broder is the sultan of the status quo, stenographer of those centrists who are fatally uninformed about global warming
- Status-quo-media stunner: David Broder urges Obama to make a decision on Afghanistan right now, “whether or not it is right.”
6. Rush Limbaugh — a buffoon, yes, but his remarks in this case are far beyond the pale even for his brand of extremism:
- Limbaugh to NY Times environment reporter Revkin: “Why don’t you just go kill yourself?”
- Limbaugh rejects an apology for Revkin
5. Newsweek — they win a special award for the single worst story of the year, and make the top 5 here because it turns out they’ve been selling access to the subjects of that story:
- Newsweek gets duped by Big Oil “” for real “” in worst Big Media story of the year
- Media stunner: Newsweek partners with oil lobby to raise ad cash, host energy and climate events with lawmakers “” while publishing the uber-greenwashing story, “Big Oil Goes Green for Real”
4. Andy Revkin — ’nuff said:
- Revkin stunner on NPR: “I’ve made missteps. I’ve made probably more mistakes this year in my print stories than I had before.”
- NYT’s Revkin pushes global cooling myth (again!) and repeats outright misinformation
- NY Times spins the greatest nonstory ever told, suckering UK Guardian into printing utter BS
- Memo to George Will, WashPost: When you quote someone who is wrong, even if it is the NYT’s Andy Revkin, then you’re wrong, too
- NYT’s Revkin persists in selling spin from long-wrong deniers that the IPCC overestimates the danger from warming, when the reverse is true
- Here’s what we know so far: CRU’s emails were hacked, the 2000s will easily be the hottest decade on record, and the planet keeps warming thanks to us! The NY Times blows the story.
- Anti-science idealogues spin the NY Times public editor, Clark Hoyt, on “Climategate”
- Unstaining Al Gore’s good name 2: He is not “guilty of inaccuracies and overstatements” and is owed a correction and apology by the New York Times
- NYT’s Revkin embraces false balance, equates Will’s active disinformation with Gore’s effort to understand and communicate climate realism
- NYT’s Revkin seems shocked, shocked by media’s own failure to explain climate threat
3. The New York Times — the so-called paper of record publishees Dawidoff and Revkin and Tierney and much, much more that is inexplicable:
- Is the New York Times coverage of global warming fatally flawed?
- Signs of global warming are everywhere, but if the New York Times can’t tell the story (twice!), how will the public hear it?
- MacCracken: The New York Times quote did not represent my views, and it did not even represent the reporter’s attempt to portray my comments
- Grist on the NYT’s “baseless hit job on Gore,” plus the story’s origin in a Fox News doctored video
- The New York Times sells its integrity to ExxonMobil with front-page ad that falsely asserts “Today’s car has 95% fewer emissions than a car from 1970″³
- Shame on the New York Times for running ExxonMobil’s greenwashing ad once again “” they can’t plead ignorance this time, only greed
2 & 1. George Will and the editors of the Washington Post. The two are, sadly, almost inseparable. Will is #2 for his disinformation dysentery. The Washington Post’s senior editors are, easily, the winner of Climate Progress’s first annual Citizen Kane award for giving George Will an un-fact-checked platform again and again (while making a travesty of their letters to the editor) — as well as Lomborg and Palin and many, many others. On the climate issue, the Washington Post editors have, shamefully, abandoned journalism:
- The day DC journalism died: Washington Post is staffed with people who found ZERO mistakes in George Will’s error-filled denial column
- In a blunder reminiscent of Janet Cooke scandal, the Washington Post lets George Will reassert all his climate falsehoods plus some new ones
- The Washington Post, abandoning any journalistic standards, lets George Will publish a third time global warming lies debunked on its own pages
- Will the Washington Post ever fact check a George Will column?
- Memo to Post: If George Will quotes a lie, it’s still a lie
- Washington Post reporters take unprecedented step of contradicting columnist George Will in a news article
- The Washington Post goes tabloid, publishes second falsehood-filled op-ed by Sarah Palin in five months “” on climate science and the hacked emails!
- Gawker: The Washington Post Has the Worst Opinion Section in America
- Memo to Washington Post: Editorial page editor Fred Hiatt just recycled a right-wing WSJ op-ed. If you won’t fire him, could you move him over to obits where he can’t hurt anyone?
- WashPost recycles another denier WSJ op-ed, this time from coal apologist Bjorn Lomborg. Funny how two new senior Post editors came from the WSJ.
- Washington Post, Fred Hiatt turn op-ed page into a “joke” with yet another falsehood-filled piece attacking climate action and clean energy “” by GOP quitter-in-chief Sarah “Four Pinocchios” Palin!
UPDATE: One final note. I am not comparing Broder and Revkin with Will and Limbaugh here, or the New York Times with Fox News. That would be comparing apples and oranges or perhaps airplanes and oranges. Individual rankings are based solely on an individual curve compared to where these outlets/journalists aspire. It is precisely because the New York Times aspires much higher than everyone else, to be the so-called paper of record, that its myriad failings — despite much outstanding coverage and an excellent editorial/opinion page — give it such a high rank.