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Forecast-the-facts has no facts left — just demands that newspapers do inflammatory namecalling

Forecast the Facts wants newspapers to label anyone who disagrees with them as mentally deficient deniers. Climate change is settled, beyond debate, and the evidence is overwhelming, but the the team with all that certainty seems awfullly scared that the public might listen to their critics.

Look at the first line of their defining statement Who We Are:  Forecast the Facts is dedicated to ensuring that Americans hear the truth about climate change”.  In this case the truth is not about the planetary atmosphere so much as “facts” about newspaper word use, opinions of science pin-up personality, and a club with a long nerdy sounding name. The research they want to share is not about the troposphere, but about their “success” in silencing alternate views: can we cancel an ad campaign, or harrass an executive who is not toeing the line?

 Forecast the Facts is a grassroots human rights organization dedicated to ensuring that Americans hear the truth about climate change: that temperatures are increasing, human activity is largely responsible, and that our world is already experiencing the effects. We do this by empowering everyday people to speak out in the face of misinformation and hold accountable those who mislead the public.

Their human rights concern  is as deep as their science. They empower everyday people who agree with them, and want to shut the damn rest of the voices up. Lately their campaigns are titled “Condemn Climate Censorship”. Indeed.

Skeptics just want newspapers to use accurate English (please write to the editors to tell them). A “denier” must deny something, and in a science debate, it implies someone denies evidence. So what is it? I’ve been asking for specific climate evidence for five years. You’d think if the planet was at stake, perhaps someone could find it? Others say deniers deny the consensus, but a consensus is a vote, a poll an opinion, not science.  We don’t vote for the Laws of Motion.

Using standard English definitions, those who believe in phenomenon without evidence are gullible. Those who want evidence are rational.  If skeptics deny the need to obey opinion polls, it’s because they are  scientists. This is not the battle of denier versus scientist, it’s the battle of rational versus the gullible.

Skeptics want a scientific debate. Believers want editors to start namecalling instead.


The press release

“Deniers Are Not Skeptics”: New Research on Leading Papers Shows the Need for Greater Scrutiny in Reporting on Climate Denial

According to new research conducted by Media Matters in coordination with Forecast the Facts, the country’s leading newspapers have repeatedly used the inaccurate term “skeptic” to describe those who deny the basic scientific facts of climate change.

The study reviews published content from three leading newspapers from December 23, 2014 to March 23, 2015 that used a specific term to describe a person who denies that climate change is real and driven by human activity — both scientifically well-established facts. The three-month study revealed some disconcerting statistics:

The New York Times incorrectly used the term “skeptic” in 9 articles;
The Washington Post in 6 articles;
The Los Angeles Times in 4 articles.

An example of this incorrect usage of “skeptic” can be found in a November 10, 2014 article in The New York Times, in which Senator James Inhofe (R-OK) — who’s called climate change “the greatest hoax ever perpetrated” — was labeled a “skeptic.”

In December 2014, a large group of Fellows from the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry (CSI), including Dr. Mark Boslough and Bill Nye, penned an open letter to the media, asking that they “please stop using the word ‘skeptic’ to describe deniers.” The CSI Fellows wrote as follows: “As scientific skeptics, we are well aware of political efforts to undermine climate science by those who deny reality but do not engage in scientific research or consider evidence that their deeply held opinions are wrong. The most appropriate word to describe the behavior of those individuals is ‘denial.’ Not all individuals who call themselves climate change skeptics are deniers. But virtually all deniers have falsely branded themselves as skeptics. By perpetrating this misnomer, journalists have granted undeserved credibility to those who reject science and scientific inquiry.”

Following the open letter from CSI fellows, Forecast the Facts launched a petition to support their call. More than 28,000 Forecast the Facts members have signed on so far.

On May 6, Forecast the Facts sent letters to executive and standards editors at these three publications and, in response, opened up dialogue with editors at both The Washington Post and The New York Times. New York Times Public Editor Margaret Sullivan also wrote in the Public Editor’s Journal on May 7, “readers are right to watch these choices carefully. The difference between skeptic and denier…may seem minor, but it’s really not. Simply put, words matter.” The Los Angeles Times has not yet commented.

Forecast the Facts and its 170,000 members will continue to monitor climate coverage in leading newspapers for the incorrect usage of “skeptic” in regards to climate change. Forecast the Facts has also launched a petition to the Associated Press, asking that they add an entry to the AP StyleBook providing guidance on use of the term “skeptic” in the context of describing those who disavow well-established scientific facts.

Forecast the Facts ran the malicious campaign to use stolen and fake documents to intimidate donors to the Heartland Institute. See Heartlands response to Forecast the Facts. Is that Forecast the Fakes?


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