Steve and John Make the Climate Blacklist!

Nature Communications, a former science publication, disgraced itself this week with an article that goes to absurd lengths to indict the media for giving equal time to “climate change contrarians” (though the “denier” epithet turns up for duty soon enough) over “expert climate change scientists,” among whom they include, for example, the deranged Michael Mann.

You can take in the whole article here: “Juxtaposition of Climate Change Contrarians and Scientists in the Media Using Media Cloud Data.” The title alone gives you a big hint at what a nonsense bit of statistical flim-flammery this is. The article yielded two lists of “contarians” and “believers”—386 of each, all “highly cited.” This last is important because both John Hinderaker and I show up among the list of the 386 highly cited “contrarians”!  More on that in due course.

Here are the first two parts of the study’s methodology:

Selection of individual members of the CCC and CCS groups: Using publicly available records, we created two lists of names comprising the CCC and CCS groups – 386 prominent climate change contrarians and 386 highly-cited climate change scientists, respectively.

Media Cloud (MC) data: We then used the Media Cloud API to download media article records associated with each individual by querying the MC database for articles including that individual’s name and the word “climate”. All together, we analyzed roughly ~100,000 individual media articles.

They “analyzed” 100,000 articles? I call bullshit, if “analyzed” means “read the articles and considered any of their nuances.” And in fact, if you read down in the fine print enough, you discover that the people in each group of 386 were selected from classifications kept by environmental advocacy groups. All they did is a word search for names and the term “climate,” and even if your argument was 90 percent in accord with the so-called “consensus,” if you are flagged as a “denier” by the advocacy groups you are classified into a binary camp of “contrarians.” Science, they call this. (Idle thought: Since we’re supposed to be down on the “gender binary” these days, perhaps we ought to get rid of the “climate binary” while we’re at it?)

Do scroll through the article if you have a moment, and notice how hard they try to make it look like “science” with lots of fancy charts, graphs, and word clouds. It is hard to know whether “pathetic” or “embarrassing” is the best adjective to use for this tendentious exercise.

It is pretty clear this is meant as a blacklist. This is explicit in the press release from UC Merced, where one of the lead authors is based:

Data shows that about half the mainstream media visibility goes to climate-change deniers, many of whom are not climate scientists. This proportion increases significantly when blogs and other “new media” outlets are included — pointing to the rising role of customized media in spreading disinformation.

“It’s time to stop giving these people visibility, which can be easily spun into false authority,” Professor Alex Petersen said. “By tracking the digital traces of specific individuals in vast troves of publicly available media data, we developed methods to hold people and media outlets accountable for their roles in the climate-change-denialism movement, which has given rise to climate change misinformation at scale.”

Translation: Don’t quote or publish people on the list of 386 “contrarians.”

This is yet another sign of the desperation of the climatistas, whose failure to persuade is prompting their authoritarian streak to become more obvious and frantic.

I downloaded the list of “climate change contrarians,” and what do you know? John and I are both on it. And based on the numerical score they assign to everyone, I am ranked 40th among climate change contrarians! (Marc Morano is number one, with a raw score of 4171, compared to my raw score of 262. Morano is truly the Pete Rose and Hank Aaron of climate contrarians.) I feel good about my score since I more or less quit doing climate change issues seven years ago in preference to old fashioned law and political philosophy in my current post as a traditional academic. The whole subject has become such a tedious and repetitive bore that I’ve run out of new things to say about it, and I get easily bored repeating myself. I don’t think I’v e been quoted in a news story—or even called by a reporter—for more than seven years now, and yet my old record is still good enough for a #40 ranking. This only goes to show how weak the climate change cause is, if I can rank so high on their enemies list while doing virtually nothing. Besides, with the climatistas embarrassing themselves on a daily basis, I don’t really need to do much besides sit back and fire up my coal-powered popcorn machine.

Here’s the roster, where I appear just below Freeman Dyson and just above Ross McKitrick—pretty great company I am proud to say:

John comes in at a respectable number 97 out of the 386:

A good day’s work for Power Line’s climate desk I’d say.  Maybe I should get back in the game and see if I can climb into the top 20.

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