Disinformation. It sometimes manifests in theatrical shows of ignorance, like Senior Republican Senator James Inhoffe bringing a snowball to the Senate floor as “evidence” that global warming is a hoax, or the persistent denial coming out of the ill-informed head of the current president that Harvey and Irma are unrelated to climate change. But where does the disinformation start? Sometimes the seeds of willfully inaccurate right-wing talking points are planted by more mainstream conservative thinkers like George Will, Rich Lowry, Peggy Noonan, or the latest star of the right wing elite, NY Times opinion columnist, Bret Stephens. Under cloak of sophisticated language, these opinion columnists bury grains in the fertile right-wing psyche that grow into dangerously thorny vines of falsehood. This week on Sea Change Radio, we speak with DC-based science communicator, Aaron Huertas, to discuss what disinformation Bret Stephens has sown lately regarding the climate. We talk about Stephens’s disregard for solutions that could fight climate change, examine the weaknesses in his research, and ponder what motivates him to reach his simplistic and misleading conclusions.
Is the New York Times enabling a debate that most rational people think is long over? The latest conservative pundit to be hired by the New York Times has progressives and environmentalists concerned. Bret Stephens, a Pulitzer Prize winning “opinion journalist” from the Wall Street Journal made his first splash onto the op-ed page of the Times recently with a controversial piece entitled Climate of Complete Certainty. In this editorial he asserts that climate science should continue to be debated, despite a preponderance of credible evidence sounding the alarm for immediate action. This week on Sea Change Radio, we speak with two PhDs with differing responses to Mr. Stephens’s perspective and place at the Grey Lady. First, we’re joined by Joe Romm, the founding editor of Climate Progress, who is critical of the new hire. Then, we hear from psychologist Pamela Paresky who thinks that his hiring by the NY Times could actually be a catalyst for productive dialogue that might ultimately bring conservatives over to recognizing the threat of climate change.