We’re quite far behind in analyzing last week’s New Yorker — in fact, we’re so far behind that we just got the new one in the mail before we could catch up with last week’s (and it’s actually compelling reading, so that one may take a few days to get to.) Last week’s was not compelling and we were loath to comment on it.
Except that we must highlight one of the first stories, a Talk Piece that starts off in a condescending way, attempting to make a weather forecaster look stupid by putting his rank in quotes and noting that he only has a Bachelor’s Degree (did some of the long-time New Yorker writers even graduate from college?) There are more subtle words to make the point; why start off the story with such supercilianimity? (We just made that word up.)
Elizabeth Kolbert writes:
Joe Bastardi, who goes by the title “expert senior forecaster” at AccuWeather, has a modest proposal. Virtually every major scientific body in the world has concluded that the planet is warming, and that greenhouse-gas emissions are the main cause. Bastardi, who holds a bachelor’s degree in meteorology, disagrees. His theory, which mixes volcanism, sunspots, and a sea-temperature trend known as the Pacific Decadal Oscillation, is that the earth is actually cooling. Why don’t we just wait twenty or thirty years, he proposes, and see who’s right? This is “the greatest lab experiment ever,” he said recently on Bill O’Reilly’s Fox News show.
Bastardi’s position is ridiculous (which is no doubt why he’s often asked to air it on Fox News). Yet there it was on the front page of the Times last week. Among weathermen, it turns out, views like Bastardi’s are typical. A survey released by researchers at George Mason University found that more than a quarter of television weathercasters agree with the statement “Global warming is a scam,” and nearly two-thirds believe that, if warming is occurring, it is caused “mostly by natural changes.” (The survey also found that more than eighty per cent of weathercasters don’t trust “mainstream news media sources,” though they are presumably included in this category.)
Far be it for we to suggest that a magazine writer should withhold her opinion, and use the facts to tell the story. This is a magazine, not a straight piece of journalism. However, as liberal-leaning sorts ourselves, we have to ask: isn’t part of being a liberal pretending to be open-minded to other points of view, so that the right-wingers have no idea of our real agenda? By revealing your instant closed-mindedness, Liz, you’re letting the ever-cooling earth know that you are really only open-minded about left-leaning points of view similar to yours. Gosh, this is shocking!
A blog called Climate Realists has a response from Bastardi, who clearly is not a great writer:
We finally have an objective way of measuring temps, and they are obviously afraid that their answer is wrong.
I am growing weary of stating the obvious.. in a fight that is a side issue to me. My agenda is nailing the weather, not saving the planet. I believe what I believe based on research to get to the correct forecast on anywhere from a day to a multi-decadal trend. That the IPCC is busting on lower trop temps, upper trop temps, the stratosphere, the positive feedback, and the death to the ice cap people have now also been beaten back , at least for the time being, should make any person of good will understand there is room for a debate here…
A nation that has homeless and uninsured should not be dumping money into chasing something that may not be there, when we have problems that are there. I am sorry that my old New England John Kennedy roots come out with that statement, actual concern for what I know to be rather than a ghost that may not be there…
by 2030 we will return to where we were at the end of the last cold PDO, in the 70’s…
So that we don’t steal all of the website’s, ha ha, thunder, here is Bastardi’s full statement.
Some further searching shows that Kolbert is not the first to criticize Bastardi, or to use a very similar statement about Fox. ClimateProgress.org writes:
Accuweather’s meteorologist Joe Bastardi likes to push anti-science global cooling conspiracy theories, which is no doubt why Fox News extremists like Bill O’Reilly love him.
In any case, we are here to make fun of the New Yorker, not Bastardi, who apparently has enough facets that can be derided — he’s a bodybuilder, and he launches into strange invectives against the National Weather Service. But it seems to work for him. He married a 26-year-old when he was 37.
Elvis Costello was almost right. You’re nobody ’til everybody thinks you’re a Bastardi.