Accuracy in Media

Last January, Accuracy in Media reported on efforts to smear Bjorn Lomborg, director of the Danish Institute for Environmental Assessment. Lomborg, a former Greenpeace activist and vegetarian homosexual, is a man of the left. But he authored “The Skeptical Environmentalist,” which debunked the most cherished beliefs and gloom-and-doom theories of the radical environmentalists. One of those theories is that global warming is man-made and must be checked by radical restrictions on energy use, especially in the United States. They struck back against Lomborg with a vengeance, attacking him in journals like Nature, Science and especially Scientific American.

When an outfit called the Danish Committee on Scientific Dishonesty declared Lomborg “objectively dishonest,” radicals rejoiced. The New York Times’ Andrew Revkin interpreted the Committee’s finding as a rebuke to Lomborg personally. He also played up the Committee’s declaration that Lomborg’s work was “clearly contrary to the standards of good scientific practice.”

But now the Danish Ministry of Science, Technology, and Innovation has rebuked the Committee for dishonesty of its own. The Ministry’s ruling, which was announced just before Christmas, was sweeping in its denunciation of the Committee on Scientific Dishonesty. It found that the committee had used “sloppy” and “emotive” language to obscure their actual finding that Lomborg had not been guilty of gross negligence or deliberate dishonesty.

The Ministry ruled that the Committee treatment of Lomborg was “dissatisfactory,” “deserving of criticism,” and “emotional.” The Committee relied entirely on excerpts from a hit-piece on Lomborg published by Scientific American and some material from Time Magazine. Not surprisingly, then, the Ministry declared the Committee’s ruling to be “completely void of argumentation.” Further, the Ministry charged that the Committee had not even permitted Lomborg an opportunity to respond.

The Times’ Revkin did report on the Danish Ministry’s findings. He concluded, however, that the Ministry did not formally reject the Committee’s report, only the methods by which the Committee arrived at its judgments. He noted that the Committee had relied entirely on a review of previous criticisms of Lomborg. He didn’t mention the Ministry’s criticisms about the absence of argumentation in the Committee’s work. Mark Trahant, the editor of the Seattle Post-Intelligencer’s editorial page, wrote that while he disagreed with Lomborg’s conclusions, that didn’t make Lomborg a liar. He said the Danish committee was wrong to try to deny Lomborg an opportunity to defend himself.

London’s Financial Times said that science must always choose honesty over alarmism. It said the prescriptions of the alarmists would more often cause greater harm than the alleged problem itself. The Financial Times also urged politicians and the media to be wary of stories hyping global warming. It said the temptation to feed us a “diet of distortion” is too great. Andrew Revkin of the New York Times should take note.

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