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Media Stunner: Atlantic Editor Megan McArdle Admits She’s Outsourced Her Thinking to Cato’s Pat Michaels

By Joe Romm  

"Media Stunner: Atlantic Editor Megan McArdle Admits She’s Outsourced Her Thinking to Cato’s Pat Michaels"

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Megan McArdle, senior editor for The Atlantic, has made the most jaw-dropping admission on climate I’ve seen in years from a journalist. It deserves attention because it unintentionally illuminates why the “status quo” establishment media’s coverage of global warming is so fatally useless.

In explaining why she (supposedly) doesn’t post a lot on the problem of global warming, McArdle writes:

The first reason I don’t post a lot is that I’m not an expert, and I’m not planning to become one.  I’ve basically outsourced my opinion on the science to people like Jonathan Adler, Ron Bailey, and Pat Michaels of Cato–all of whom concede that anthropogenic global warming is real, though they may contest the likely extent, or desired remedies.

To paraphrase my mother (and countless others): Megan, if Pat Michaels told you to jump off a cliff, would you? Because that is certainly what he wants humanity to do.

I’ll come back to the fact that the Cato Institute, originally the Charles Koch Foundation, is in the process of being officially taken back by the Kochs — and McCardle, in the disclaimer at the end of the piece, notes, the current Charles Koch Foundation “sponsored a journalism fellowship for my husband.” Such is the nature of modern-day “journalism.”

I’ll also come back to the fact that McArdle actually manages to post a whole lot of pieces on climate, document authentication (!) and other subjects she is no expert on.

Here’s the folks McArdle has outsourced her thinking on climate science to:

  • Jonathan Adler is a law professor (who has been funded by the Charles Koch Foundation)
  • Ron Bailey is Cato Institute Media Fellow with a penchant for “pulling a Lomborg” — he likes to cite references that say “the opposite of what he implies.”
  • Pat Michaels makes crap up on climate for a living and the Cato Institute (and fossil fuel industry) pays him a lot to do so.

It is almost beyond belief that the senior editor for a major magazine would outsource her thinking on the major issue of our day to a guy like Michaels — and then actually admit it!  As Skeptical Science has detailed, Patrick Michaels is a “Serial Deleter of Inconvenient Data“:

Despite his clear conflict of interest (Michaels has estimated that 40% of his work is funded by the petroleum industry), many people continue to rely on him as a reliable source of climate information.  This is an unwise choice, because Michaels also has a long history of badly distorting climate scientists’ work.  In fact, not only does Michaels misrepresent climate research on a regular basis, but on several occasions he has gone as far as to manipulate other scientists’ figures by deleting parts he doesn’t like.

As they show in 3 different instance, “Michaels has deleted the data which contradict his constant arguments that the planet will warm less than most climate scientists expect, and thus that global warming is nothing to worry about.”

One of those cases is the notorious smear Michaels made against the nation’s top climatologist. NASA’s James Hansen said this about Patrick Michaels’ distortion of his work:

“Pat Michaels, has taken the graph from our 1988 paper with simulated global temperatures for scenarios A, B and C, erased the results for scenarios B and C, and shown only the curve for scenario A in public presentations, pretending that it was my prediction for climate change. Is this treading close to scientific fraud?

This fossil-fuel-funded disinformer is the guy McArdle outsourced her thinking on climate science to. You can find many more debunkings of Michaels online and here.

Just a minute or two Googling would have told McArdle that Michaels is the last person she should outsource her thinking on climate science to.

Whatever happened to the notion of actually talking to recognized experts in the field — say, some of the top 10 climate scientists? They aren’t really hard to track down for any serious journalist. But why bother if you’re not going to write on the story of the century, unless, of course, you are.

McArdle provides more of her “reasoning”:

If they say the planet is warming, then I trust that this is very likely to be true–not just because I like them, but because if you’ve convinced leading libertarians that humans are contributing to global warming, you’ve convinced me.

Climate skeptics are going to call this a cop-out and I understand why, but here’s the thing….

Actually climate skeptic disinformer Steve Milloy has written a post, “Megan McArdle: Too stupid to opine on global warming,” which notes, “what libertarianism has to do with whether greenhouse gases are measurably changing the climate for the worse is anybody’s guess.” Duh. He of course is annoyed that McCardle supposedly believes in ”global warming alarmism.”

For Milloy and the denier purists, agreeing with Michaels makes you an alarmist. Seriously! In fact, McArdle is a mostly an anti-alarmist, as we’ll see.

Note: I don’t think she’s stupid. No, this is all confirmation bias as her startling admission makes clear. She listens only to the people who agree with her, people who not only aren’t credible climate experts but indeed who misinform people for a living. I do think the post reveals she doesn’t understand this is in fact the story of the century and one she ought to be far better informed on. But again that doesn’t make her stupid. It just makes her one of the media herd, the 99% of journalists who just don’t get it.

She continunes:

… I cannot be an expert on everything. I don’t know what the speed limit should be, how we should redesign the military to counter 21st century threats, or the best way to allocate scarce water resources between competing claims, even though I recognize that in a modern society, these are all the proper concerns of the government; even though I think that these questions are important, I am willing to leave them to experts on traffic patterns, national defense, and water rights. So with global warming.  Time spent brushing up on the science is time spent not reading up on things where I have greater comparative advantage, like tax policy or the budget.

Yes, global warming is no different an issue than traffic patterns! The irony that global warming is going to affect scarce water resources and 21st century military threats more than any other single factor is apparently lost on her. She continues:

So I don’t blog about the science, because what am I going to say?  ”This article I don’t understand very well sure sounds convincing?”  And I don’t blog about the economics because they’re so. damn. depressing.

Except that McArdle has blogged on the science and the economics. For instance, she wrote a long piece on a 2010 study I blogged on (see “Nature Stunner: “Global warming blamed for 40% decline in the ocean’s phytoplankton”).

Her headline was, “Phytoplankton Panic” and not only does she blog on the science (mostly to downplay it), but she also blogs on the economics, which she gets quite wrong (as TP Green explained at the time). She argues that the claim it will cost 2% of GDP to fix global warming isn’t true:

if this is true, 2% of GDP isn’t going to cut it. We’d better get back to an emissions level around 1940, or earlier, and stay there. Being that we now have about 2.5 times as many people in the country, and the world, as we did then, that’s going to be tricky.

It is going to be “tricky,” but in fact 2% of GDP is really the total shift in investment needed —  from dirty, inefficient energy infrastructure to clean, efficient sources. That 2% doesn’t actually represent lost GDP, just money spent differently.  Multiple independent economic studies make clear that the actual cost is closer to slowing annual global GDP growth by 0.1% — not counting co-benefits (see “Introduction to climate economics: Why even strong climate action has such a low total cost“). In its definitive 2007 synthesis report of the literature, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) concluded:

In 2050, global average macro-economic costs for mitigation towards stabilisation between 710 and 445ppm CO2-eq are between a 1% gain and 5.5% decrease of global GDP. This corresponds to slowing average annual global GDP growth by less than 0.12 percentage points.

So global GDP drops by under 0.12% per year — about one tenth of a penny on the dollar — even in the 445 ppm CO2-eq case (through 2050). And this is for stabilization at 445 ppm CO2-eq, which is stabilization at 350 ppm CO2 (see Table SPM.6). And that is even deeper than the cuts McArdle worries about (getting emissions back to 1940 levels).

So it turns out McCardle has just enough time to get the same things wrong that Michaels gets wrong, but not enough time to spend getting things right.

The bizarre thing is McCardle asserts that she supports a “hefty” price on carbon, but mostly she does this for the same reason many confusionists do — so she can say she is concerned about an issue that she really isn’t while she goes about parroting what Michaels and Cato think on the subject.

Indeed, the headline on this unintentionally revealing post is “Why We Should Act to Stop Global Warming—and Why We Won’t.”

Except of course it isn’t a post about why we should act to stop global warming. It’s a collection of Cato-inspired misinformation. She disses the European Emissions Trading System even though it clearly worked. She claims “it’s still having a spot of trouble” but that’s a Lomborg-Bailey-esque link to a February article about the fact that “Prices in Europe’s cap-and-trade system dropped to a record last month because of oversupply”!

The Europeans found it too easy to cut their emissions and then the rest of the world (especially the U.S.) refuses to take action (thanks in part to the efforts of Michaels, Cato and the Kochs) and the price of CO2 drops. This is McArdle’s evidence for why the economics of mitigation are “so depressing”!

She writes:

So why do I still support action–especially, climate skeptics demand, when the science is so uncertain?

Well, because we’ve only go (sic) the one climate.  I don’t like running large one-way experiments on vital systems we don’t know how to fix.

The risk of a catastrophic outcome may be small, but it would be pretty darn terrible to find out that hey, we hit the jackpot!

Of course, in some sense,  this is a cheap belief,  because I don’t think that we’re going to do anything about it–nay,  not even if Megan McArdle spends all her time advocating for such an outcome.  The forces arrayed against action are just too powerful–and no,  I don’t mean the Cato Institute.

What she fails to realize is that the risk of catastrophic outcome isn’t small — if we don’t act. That’s Michaels’ and Cato’s and the Kochs’ disinformation. If we take no action, the chances of avoiding a catastrophic outcome is small, as the recent scientific literature makes painfully clear.  She might start by taking a glance at the definitive NOAA-led report on U.S. climate impacts, which warns of scorching 9 to 11°F warming over most of inland U.S. by 2090 with Kansas above 90°F some 120 days a year — and that isn’t the worst case, it’s business as usual!

I’m glad McCardle admitted it is a “cheap belief” — since in fact she spends all of her time undercutting it.

She is certainly right that the forces arrayed against action are powerful — but what a shock that she completely exonerates Cato, the disinformers, and the vast fossil fuel interest arrayed against action, including the Kochs.

Now it seems worth mentioning that for someone who supposedly doesn’t have the time to do extended technical analysis on climate, someone who likes to stay in her area of expertise, tax and budget policy, she managed to find the time to write over 5000 words (!) on a detailed “analysis” of why the Heartland Climate Strategy document leaked by Peter Gleick must be a fake, as Heartland claims. And people say I write long posts! I challenge anyone to read that whole post and not conclude McArdle doesn’t have plenty of time on her hands.

The thing is, McArdle is not known to be an expert on document authentification, a far more specialized area of expertise even than climate science. As an aside, Shawn Otto noted last week that the deniers urged people to use stylometry and textometry to shed light on the author of that document using a “a well-regarded open source java app called JGAAP.” Otto did so and let’s just say the results aren’t what McArdle’s 5000-word hand-waving analysis shows. Hmm. Maybe she should skip all technical analysis.

Relevantly, McArdle has a long discussion of the issue of Heartland funding by the Charles G. Koch Charitable Foundation.  She adds this disclaimer:

Full disclosure: One of the donors in the apparently authenticated documents is Charles Koch, and my husband did a year-long fellowship with the Koch Foundation. However, nothing I’m going to write either defends or indicts Mr. Koch, who’s actually pretty incidental to both Heartland’s funding, and this story.

But her new post does effectively defend Mr. Koch, somehow failing to mention that, for instance, a 2010 report found Koch Industries now outspends Exxon Mobil on climate and clean energy disinformation. Or that the Kochs are major owners of Cato! No, no conflict there.

McArdle’s final sentence betrays her Cato-esque view of the subject:

No, the debate is about how unpleasant it would be to prevent it–which really isn’t much of a debate, either, because the obvious answer is “very, except maybe for DINK urbanites”.  And that’s where the discussion pretty much stalls out.

“Obvious”? Only to those who don’t study the issue — or who say they don’t have time to study the issue because they’re not going to blog on it.

If McArdle  in fact spend any time talking to real climate experts rather than posers, she’d know that avoiding global warming is infinitely more pleasant than letting billions suffer.

Her headline is unintentionally revealing. If we don’t act to stop global warming, it won’t because of what McArdle is trying to say in this piece, that it’s too unpleasant, it’ll be because of what she actually said in this piece, that media mavens are too lazy to learn the real truth of the high costs of inaction and low costs of action — and because of what she didn’t say about the owners of Cato and other fossil fuel companies, who have captured just enough of the political system and the media to block action.

Related Post:

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39 Responses to Media Stunner: Atlantic Editor Megan McArdle Admits She’s Outsourced Her Thinking to Cato’s Pat Michaels

  1. dana1981 says:

    Epic fail, McArdle and Atlantic. If you don’t know enough about a subject to write about it, that’s fine. But don’t outsource your thinking to professional liars. That’s inexcusable.

  2. Mike Roddy says:

    No surprise here. The Atlantic has been a bad magazine for years, and trades on its past to attract readers who don’t know any better. The reason that McArdle asks Michaels’ opinion on global warming is that he is on the oil companies’ recommended list- and Atlantic has become a conservative organ.

    I don’t know if the Kochs bought The Atlantic or work behind the scenes, but they have also succeeded in neutering PBS, NPR, and National Geographic, through the one currency that works in today’s journalism: cash.

    Print and television journalism has become so pathetic that when internet magazines gain strength fossils like The Atlantic and the Washington Post will become irrelevant, and die. Let’s hope we don’t have to wait too long.

  3. JSam says:

    It’s a bit like James Delingpole’s admission that he is an interprete of other peoples’ interpretations. The new right thinks science is too hard and facts are just opinions. This pretty well negates anything she’s ever written definding #deniergate.

    • Mulga Mumblebrain says:

      I had a ‘delingpole’ once. Handed down through the generations it was a crooked piece of timber used to scrape the bottom of septic tanks, to agitate the bacteria.

  4. SecularAnimist says:

    Joe wrote: “If McArdle in fact spent any time talking to real climate experts rather than posers …”

    Joe, you could pretty much write that sentence, “If McArdle in fact spent any time talking to real [fill in the blank with any subject that Mcardle writes about] experts rather than posers …” and it would apply just as well.

    At least in the case of climate science, she admits that she just regurgitates whatever nonsense the fake “libertarians” spoon-feed her.

    • Mulga Mumblebrain says:

      ‘Libertarians’ are the most hardcore misanthropes in the Rightwing bestiary. You shall know them by the company that they keep. The rich are different.

  5. hveerten says:

    “… I cannot be an expert on everything”

    which is why, like any journalist, she is only required to be an expert on one thing: verifying the reliability of your sources.

    She obviously isn’t, which makes her a hack and not a journalist.

    • This is a key point. She seems unable to determine who is credible and who isn’t. Unfortunately, this is not an isolated problem. Most journalists aren’t scientists, but they should at least be able to figure out who’s a charlatan or a hack, and who isn’t. This problem manifests itself over and over again in the coverage of all scientific topics, not just climate, so someone needs to educate these folks.

  6. Wow. Just amazing!

  7. M Tucker says:

    FATALLY USELESS…

    That really says it all.

  8. Leif says:

    Is this really how the world must end?

    I OBJECT!

  9. Robert says:

    “…if you’ve convinced leading libertarians that humans are contributing to global warming, you’ve convinced me…” !?!

    I’m wondering why, on a complex scientific topic, it’s convincing liberterians that is her standard, and not convincing… say… the National Academy of Sciences… or perhaps the American Geophysical Union… or perhaps the American Meteorological Society… or perhaps the American Association for the Advancement of Science… or perhaps the American Physical Society?

    I mean… I’m actually wondering.

  10. RachelT says:

    First off, consider the source. McArdle has a conflict of interest with many things she writes on and almost never discloses. Second, “outsourcing” sounds suspiciously like “plagiarizing” when used in the realm of journalism, especially so when writing without attribution on public policy issues.

  11. John Hollenberg says:

    I had to check the date on the article several times–thought it would be April 1–because I couldn’t believe she would admit that she “outsourced her thinking”. Unbelievable!

  12. Mike 22 says:

    JR: “Note: I don’t think she’s stupid…the post reveals she doesn’t understand this is in fact the story of the century.”

    At least the story of the century, if we head it off without much more than a few dings (still doable in my estimation). More likely, this is the biggest story ever, and smart people don’t get it. Yet.

  13. good2go says:

    It’s true that the Atlantic leans decided right, although it’s not as bat-shit crazy as it was a few years ago. Even some of my more libertarian friends didn’t read it because it was so bent. McArdle must be a holdover from that period, like the chronically wrong Clive Crook. Neither are qualified to write about anything, and consistently prove it.

  14. Lou Grinzo says:

    This is so truly dreadful and painful to read that I can’t even come up with a joke or piece of snark.

    McArdle needs to do one of two things to reclaim her dignity:

    1. Resign.

    2. Have a public forum where she gives one or two people like Michaels and one or two real climate scientists. Let her then publicly ask both sides questions, and let each side question the other. It would either straighten her out on this subject or make her look far worse than she does now (if she refused to change her stance).

    Of course, neither of those things will happen. This isn’t about finding and reporting objective truth, but pushing a well-funded agenda that makes wealthy, evil people even wealthier at the cost of the suffering and premature death of millions to billions of human beings in the coming decades. What the Koch Brothers and their ilk are doing is light years beyond any crimes against humanity one can name.

  15. Charles says:

    I agree with regard to the quality of The Atlantic. I’m also surprised that as an editor she isn’t more concerned with worrying about fact checking. I would think that if she was going to “outsource” her thinking on climate change (remembering her responsibility as a senior editor), she’d contact orgs like the IPCC, AAAS, AGU, or the NAS for recommendations for contacts or “go to” scientists.

  16. Chris Winter says:

    I dropped a comment over there. I’ll let y’all know if she reacts. But as she’s now on leave, that may not happen.

    Two more things: That’s a blog where the conversation seems mostly responsive and intelligent. But it’s amusing to try reading the deep levels of replies which are confined by the software to
    a
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    l
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    m
    o
    f
    l
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    t
    t
    e
    r
    s.

  17. Tom King says:

    She is suffering from a tragic absence of imagination. By imagining what things could go wrong in the world you begin to find that many disasters are somewhat foreseeable. Of course, climate fracture is the greatest disaster of our time. But even on this issue I don’t hear many people actually imagining how the multiple disasters of climate fracture will arrive.

  18. Tim says:

    Megan McArdle is not an expert on climate. I’ve read her droppings now and then and, so far, I’ve not seen anything she’s “an expert” on – unless it’s making a fool of herself.

    Jim Fallows is perhaps the last decent journalist working at the Atlantic – when he leaves, it will be a wasteland.

  19. Paul Magnus says:

    An avoider. You would think that we could get round to some logical thinking and behaviour, especially in the media.

  20. Sasparilla says:

    Thank you Joe for giving her piece the proper evisceration it (and she) deserves.

    Frankly I’ve never heard of her before, but her statements are just astounding. Paul Magnus is right – an avoider – cause its easy and she, obviously, doesn’t have to think so much.

    It’s a very shallow a pool she chooses to swim in.

  21. EmuBob says:

    I am sure that the various explanations for the McArdle piece are right.

    But suppose, hypothetically, that those who make billions from fossil fuels know full well the truth of global warming and the catastrophic consequences for humanity. Suppose that to protect their lucrative business they seek to delay action to halt global warming anyway. Suppose they implement a cynical strategy to counter the urgent warnings from scientists by setting up faux climate science organizations and controlling the media to confuse the ignorant populace. They would know that ultimately the consequences of global warming will be so evident to even the most gullible that blatant denial will be impossible. They would know that their campaign of disinformation could not be too divorced from what is actually happening outside. So their strategy would include a rear-guard action that would allow them to remain credible with the confused but would continue to delay any action that restricted exploitation of fossil fuels as much and for as long as possible.

    What would such a rear-guard action look like? With extreme climatic events becoming more common, would we begin to see soft admissions by right-wing media that some warming may be happening? Would these admissions cleverly deny climate scientists any credit or credibility by deferring to the “experts” at denier organizations who would downplay the effects? Would the “lil’ ol’ me” piece by McArdle fit the bill?

    But that can’t be right. A strategy like that would be monstrous and insane.

    • Lou Grinzo says:

      I can tell you exactly what they’ll do when the evidence is absolutely overwhelming (e.g. it’s 2016 and we have a week in September with ZERO Arctic ice):

      1. They will still claim it’s all a natural cycle and not man-made.

      2. If pushed into a corner they will blame the scientists “for not making a sufficiently compelling case that there was a real problem”.

      [1] is absurd, and [2] is an attempt to make everyone’s head explode, but enough of their ideological fanboys will buy one or the other argument (look how many believe their balloon juice today!), and they’ll get off without so much as a slap on the wrist.

      And if that hasn’t sent you running from the room screaming, try this: I would bet many of them will have diversified into/invested in other lines of business, like building huge sea walls around cities and constructing immense desal. plants, and will make even more money from adaptation efforts.

  22. AlaninAZ says:

    This is not the first post from McCardle using Pat Michaels as a trusted source for climate information. Some months back she wrote a similar post to which I made comments. At the time I expressed surprise that she gave more weight to Jonathan Adler and Pat Micheals than pronouncements from Science Academies around the world. She gave a lame reply to the effect that Adler and Michaels were impartial and respected sources. I occasionally read her blog and have often commented on matters relating to solar panel technology and climate. I left many comments during her crusade against Obama’s support of Solyndra. This most recent post is consistent with her previous writing and not at all surprising.

  23. Joan Savage says:

    Others said plenty about the inept Atlantic editor.

    Two matters regarding GDP came to mind, as McArdle didn’t ask the logical question about GDP, “And what happens if we don’t make the changes?” More specifically, what is the GDP prediction, should enterprises fail to convert to sustainable and non-GHG energy?

    Another matter about GDP was pointed out to me by an economist: GDP reflects all economic transactions, thus it includes costs of funerals, rebuilding after storms, long term medical care for asthma patients, and so forth. An society can show growth in GDP even while it is declining in its quality of life and losing out on prospects for the future.

    It seems obvious that without huge medical expenses or repair costs, we could have a decline in GDP and yet have a net gain in quality of life and more options for a more secure future.

  24. Jay Alt says:

    I went to The Atlantic for some of her work. Right now she’s away on leave- at the Institute for Humane Studies @ George Mason U, Arlington. So she’s got plenty of spare time, or maybe this is her project there. IHS aim is to make society freer, thru laxative doses of Hayek, von Mises and fringe economists. Charles Koch is chairman of their board. She is fully immersed in this stuff. It is not uncommon for libertarians to admit climate change, but oppose letting the govt do anything. The opposition is good, they’ve hewn out comfortable denial niches for many philosophies.

    • Joan Savage says:

      Desmogblog reports: “Since 1985, George Mason University (GMU), and its associated institutes and centers, has received more funding from the Koch Family Charitable Foundations than any other organization—a total of $29,604,354. The George Mason University Foundation has received the most funding, $20,297,143, while the Institute for Humane Studies has been directly given $3,111,457, the Mercatus Center $1,442,000, and George Mason University itself has received $4,753,754.”

  25. Chris Winter says:

    It’s interesting, but not surprising, to read what Sourcewatch and Wikipedia say about the IHS. In the funding sections, the names Koch, Scaife and Walton appear.

  26. Chris Winter says:

    Well, she did reply. Here is her reply, following my comment

    Mrs. McArdle:

    You write, “If [libertarians] say the planet is warming, then I trust that this is very likely to be true—not just because I like them, but because if you’ve convinced leading libertarians that humans are contributing to global warming, you’ve convinced me.”

    Have you considered that they might be convinced human actions contribute to global warming, but not that those actions are the major contributor? Or, if they do accept that we are the major contributor, they still think mitigation would bring economic catastrophe?

    I ask this because, from where I sit, the libertarians and other right-wing types don’t really understand global warming themselves. Many are actively resisting such understanding. To put it gently, that makes it inadvisable to use them as your experts.

    You write that you can’t be an expert on everything. That is extremely true. But, as a journalist, you should be expert at deciding which sources are giving you straight information about a given topic you’re going to do a story or a blog post on. May I suggest that, when it comes to climate change, you need to brush up on this ability? The majority is not always right; but on this topic the majority position has gotten stronger as the years roll by. It doesn’t take much effort to understand the basics.

    Since you’re going to be on leave, perhaps you will have time to do a little reading. Here are two books that do a good job of covering the basics without drowning the reader in jargon or polemics.

    For the basic science, try The Climate Crisis by David Archer and Stephan Rahmstorf (Cambridge University Press, 2010). And since you understand budgets, you should have no trouble with The Global Deal, which Nicholas Stern wrote to explain his conclusions from The Stern Report to popular audiences (PublicAffairs, 2009)

    McMegan 4 hours ago in reply to Christopher Winter

    Of course I’ve considered it. As evidenced by the fact that in the post, I advocate fairly stiff action in order to reduce carbon emissions—a position which I believe is at odds with the positions of, say, Pat Michaels. I have been advocating carbon taxes for years, something which Joe Romm should by now be well aware of.

    I do not know why people think that I am somehow short-shrifting the majority opinion, when the post endorsed the majority opinion. The point was not that I listen to Pat Michaels, but not the NAS; it was that if even Pat Michaels is saying, yes, it’s happening, then I think that the argument is pretty much over. Why this caused Joe Romm to blow a gasket is something of a mystery to me, as is his decision to drop that post the day after I announced that I was going on book leave, and would not be blogging for several months.

    Unfortunately, the reason that I am going on leave is that I will be very, very busy with another project, which has its claim on all my reading time for the next six months. However, I read and reported on the original Stern report, and am very familiar with its conclusions, and with Nicholas Stern’s subsequent explanations thereof.

    Notice that she doesn’t say she endorses Nicholas Stern’s conclusions. If you go to her blog and read the entire sub-thread, you’ll see it tends to confirm what this bit suggests: that she is not going to be persuaded by any sort of argument.

    • Joe Romm says:

      I’m sorry it got dropped the day she was going on book leave, but I don’t follow her blog closely. The question is why she dropped her piece shortly before she took leave. Did she really have no clue what a bombshell it was? Apparently not, judged by her response to you.

      Most folks, if they know they are taking a break, don’t publish stuff that is going to drop people’s jaws.

      I’m glad she halfheartedly supports a carbon tax. Is that supposed to insulate her from any critique of her blog posts or her stunning admission that she has outsourced her thinking on climate science to a fossil-fuel funded disinformer?

      • AlaninAZ says:

        I don’t intend to defend Ms McCardle, but we should be fair and admit that she has said similar stuff before(including the reference to Michaels) without much comment from progressive bloggers or readers. I do read her blog sometimes and did spend some time commenting when she was fixating on Solyndra. Her readership and the follow-up comments are overwhelmingly conservative and agree with most of her positions.

      • Chris Winter says:

        On reflection, I wonder if calling her unpersuadable is too harsh. Judging her by the people she associates with is not necessarily the whole story. I plan to keep an eye on her blog and see what she says when she resumes posting. It would be a good thing to turn her around.

  27. George says:

    I cancelled my subscri[ption with The Atlantic a number of years ago since its journalistic standards were in free fall. Nothing I have seen or read since about the magazine would suggest things have changed for the better.

  28. Bob Doublin says:

    Speaking of idiots like Pat Michaels (I just need to vent):When I first moved to Seattle 35 years ago to attend grad school (philosophy) at U of Washington, it was love at first sight for the University Bookstore. I had never seen such a large selection of books. But boy has it gone downhill the last 5-10 years.Just last week I asked them when they would get a copy of Michael Mann’s new book on the Hockey Stick controversy and, unbelievably,they told me they weren’t planning on carrying it! I had to special order it. I looked at it today and also noticed they were able to carry Pat Michaels latest BS propaganda spew Climate Coup! Whoa,what a hit for my respect for their quality (they carry a lot of denier trash in their ecology section). I’m not able to afford hardcovers right now so I could only look through Mann’s book-very good.I made sure I put the book back on a shelf with its cover facing out.So very sad.

    • Chris Winter says:

      The University of Washington, home of William Calvin and Peter D. Ward? That is truly sad.