THE PLANK DECEMBER 9, 2009
Is a “record cold” in Idaho threatening your potato crops? Never fear, Matt Drudge will post a link. Snowing in Houston? Drudge has the scoop! Blizzard delaying your flight out of JFK? You get the picture. Drudge’s climate denialism is well known, but his tendency to cite Accuweather.com is, well, odd. Here’s a look at part of yesterday’s homepage:
Drudge links to weather reports a lot, and seemingly more in the fall and spring, when it should be cold outside but not that cold. To be fair, you’ll also find him linking to the occasional story about a heat wave or a “record warm winter for northern Europe,” just because few people appreciate a freak show as much as he does. But a scan of his archives shows that he links to cold snaps far more often than heat waves. Can the globe actually be warming, he wants us to think, if it’s snowing? In Houston!
And here’s where Drudge gets tricky. By putting these reports alongside stories that cast doubt on global warming (he loves a press release from Senator Inhofe almost as much as he loves taking pot shots at Al Gore), Drudge is trying to get you to scoff at, well, almost all of the scientific literature on the subject. It’s like flashing tasty images of popcorn and sodas between frames at movie theaters, only much less subtle:
Now, the far left has been guilty of spinning every scorcher of a day or coastal hurricane into a sign that a climate crisis is already upon us, but Drudge has taken this approach to a whole new level. Screw data analysis--Drudge’s snowstorm media blitzkrieg is the equivalent of death by anecdote. Just one more snowstorm and then they’ll finally understand!
The truth of the matter is only too well-established: While El Niño might have made 1998 the hottest year on record, talks of “global cooling” are simply wrong. Reports from the World Meteorological Organization released today indicate that the 2000s will likely be the hottest decade on record, with no sign that things are slowing up. But science isn’t what matters to our fedora’d friend. In the face of general scientific consensus, Drudge is using (admittedly entertaining) sensationalistic tactics to steal our focus away from real problems. But the longer outlets like Drudge muddy the waters, the longer we won’t confront the crisis at hand. Then, it’ll really be time for Drudge to pull out his siren.