Accuracy in Media

The Associated Press announced on their blog Tuesday that they are dropping the use of the terms “deniers” and “skeptics” from its Stylebook in the context of climate change:

We have reviewed our entry on global warming as part of our efforts to continually update the Stylebook to reflect language usage and accuracy.

We are adding a brief description of those who don’t accept climate science or dispute the world is warming from man-made forces:

Our guidance is to use climate change doubters or those who reject mainstream climate science and to avoid the use of skeptics or deniers.

Some background on the change: Scientists who consider themselves real skeptics – who debunk mysticism, ESP and other pseudoscience, such as those who are part of the Center for Skeptical Inquiry – complain that non-scientists who reject mainstream climate science have usurped the phrase skeptic. They say they aren’t skeptics because ‘proper skepticism promotes scientific inquiry, critical investigation and the use of reason in examining controversial and extraordinary claims.’ That group prefers the phrase ‘climate change deniers’ for those who reject accepted global warming data and theory. But those who reject climate science say the phrase denier has the pejorative ring of Holocaust denier so The Associated Press prefers climate change doubter or someone who rejects mainstream science.

To describe those who don’t accept climate science or dispute the world is warming from man-made forces, use climate change doubters or those who reject mainstream climate science. Avoid use of skeptics or deniers.

One “denier,” physicist John Droz, Jr., said that while he thought it was a reasonable attempt to avoid demonizing those with a differing viewpoint, the AP was wrong to assert that there is such a thing as climate science, which is apparently to be treated as the gospel truth.

The AP may change its terminology, but they aren’t likely to change their bias on climate change, which is the real crux of the problem.

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