The propaganda machine of the extreme right has scored a double hit, it would seem. Not only do they and their racist brethren have Breibart-founder Steve Bannon warmly ensconced in the White House as chief strategist and Senior Counselor to Donald Trump (whether he will also be keeping the president's seat warm in the Oval office in what are certain to be frequent presidential absences is anyone's guess), but many in Congress now appear to be conduits for Breitbart propaganda.
The House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology, headed by Republican Lamar Smith, has a new weapon in its attack on climate science: Breibart 'science':
The content of this tweet is the same sort of thing you’d get if you fed a bull 20 kilos of Ex-Lax and stood behind it for a while. Global warming, of course, is real. The Breitbart article in question is written by James Delingpole, a flat-out climate change denier who has a history of writing grossly misleading articles about global warming. He gets this information from yet another climate change denier, David Rose, who wrote an article for the execrable Daily Mail claiming that global temperatures have dropped by an entire degree Celsius since this summer. Contrary to what the Daily Mail might have to say, global temperature is indeed increasing.Somehow, I doubt that the propaganda machine in Washington is going to alter too many people's thinking. The true believers of climate denialism will dismiss the critiques, and those who trust the scientific data will be unmoved by such blatant attempts at manipulation.
In a nutshell, Rose is guilty of extreme cherry-picking. He looked at a single temperature data set from a specific layer of the Earth’s atmosphere and only used measurements over land. And to make matters worse, he only used data going back to 1998, a big no-no: That year was unusually warm, so starting there falsely makes it look like temperatures haven’t risen much.
He also is chasing local fluctuations and ignoring the decadeslong trend. And that trend is up. The Earth is heating up. If you want more details, Tamino at Open Mind debunks Rose’s claims quite thoroughly.
But what it does show is that the need for critical thinking is greater now than it ever was. In what I hope will be my next post, I will discuss some of the ways one can vet information for its veracity or falseness.