Monday, November 23, 2009

Where Oh Where is the Oregonian Newspaper ? ! ?

Beginning with a corner of the world known as Oregon (but almost universally known as Ory-gone to the uninitiated).

(I) First the good news.

The Oregon State University Beavers football team will go up against the University of Oregon (also known as the University of California at Eugene to the granola and Birkenstocks crowd) Ducks in only 10 days with winner-take-all for the PAC-10 Rose Bowl berth. Is that so cool! In my young and foolish days, my must-see game was Trojans vs. Bruins (recall O.J Simpson versus Gary Beban 21-20?). But now that I am older and wiser, Beavs and Ducks it is. Go Beavs!

(II) Absent news coverage.

Now the puzzling news. Portland's Oregonian newspaper is AWOL (official lingo that means hiding in a dark corner somwhere) in reporting substantive news about the global-warming computer hacking scandal-outrage-coup-whatever.

Remember a few years ago when Oregon's U.S. Senator Bob Packwood's lady-groping under banquet tables was outed by the Washington Post while such shenanigans had apparently been known to local Oregonian news staff for quite some time? The bumper sticker said it all:
"If it matters to Oregonians, read it in the Washington Post."

Well, here we go again. It has been four days since the sensational release of files hacked out of England's University of East Anglia Climate Research Unit raised stunning questions about professional misconduct, bias, and stonewalling. See my prior post:
http://darwin-is-dead.blogspot.com/2009/11/climategate-peer-reviews-precursor-to.html

But I have been looking in vain for anything of substance in the Oregonian about the whole affair. Are Los Angeles and Miami are still expected to go under water before too long? And, more immediately, are American families going to be expected to bear the $3,000 per year for the next 20 years to pay for the ill-advised cap-and-trade business if the global warming hysteria continues and we sign away our sovereignty in Copenhagen next month?

In Saturday's (Nov 21) edition I pored over section A looking for coverage. Result? Nada. Earthweek on page 2 had nary a peep. I did find something about overweight students and that Senator Burris got scolded.

Then came Sunday, Nov. 22. I actually looked for climate change scandal coverage before I read the game summary of the Ducks-Arizona contest. Oh look, there it is buried on page A-17 (could not go on A-18 since that was a full page ad for Macy's). An article "Hackers leak climate emails, stoking debate" with three and a half short columns. Not much ink and even less substance, but the most serious omission was making no mention of possible manipulation of the peer-review process. When you can control who gets to speak at the table and who can not, a lot of chicanery can come down. And so it appears.

And now today, Monday, Nov. 23. Since my expectations for Oregonian coverage had been abandoned, I read the comics and sports before looking for the Climategate coverage. Aha - there it is! All 5 column inches of it hiding on the bottom of page A-6. It is a London article giving the nonsubstantive reply of Kevin Trenberth of the U.S. National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) in Colorado. Trenberth "believes the hackers who stole a decade's worth of correspondence ... deliberately distributed only those documents that could help attempts by skeptics to undermine the scientific consensus on man-made climate change." My response? Hey, skip the outrage already. Answer the questions raised. Those questions are numerous and weighty, especially with the Copenhagen summit coming up next month as 191 nations will consider a new global treaty on limiting emissions of greenhouse gases. The Oregonian failed in colossal fashion to address and inform on a critical critical issue. Shame, shame.

But the Oregonian is not alone among U.S. media sleeping through the climate change inquiry. The "surreal scientific blunder" reported by the UK Telegraph on Nov. 16, 2008 [note this corrected from 2009 on Dec 4, 2009], was similarly underreported. If it was in the Oregonian, I missed it. And I usually at least skim headlines in Section A. See the Newsbusters Nov. 16, 2008 [corrected from 2009 on Dec. 4 2009] , coverage at:
http://newsbusters.org/blogs/tom-blumer/2008/11/16/uk-paper-notes-surreal-scientific-blunder-global-temps-measurement-us-me

Oh, and WaPo had a substantive article Sunday, Nov. 22:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/11/21/AR2009112102186.html?nav=hcmodule

Shades of Senator Packwood. Maybe the names on desks at the Oregonian have changed but the result is the same. If it matters to Oregonians, check WaPo.

(III) And from a couple of my moles:

After the hacking was outed on November 20, I followed up with personal contacts to inquire. Quotes from "Climate Scientist A", with whom I had some professional contact in Washington D.C. a few decades ago, and from "Climate Scientist B", who is known to "Climate Scientist A":

Climate Scientist A: "With respect to the Gore/Mann hockey stick, I will quote Mark Twain, "Get your facts first, then you can distort them as much as you please." The follow-up is "Lies, damn lies and statistics."

Climate scientist B: Regarding the apparent global warming peer review abuses suggested in the hacked emails, "...what an amazing vindication this is. We knew all along that this was happening, but lacked proof. Now we have it."

Submitted rejoicing in amazing vindication indeed,

D.U.


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