Reuters Supports Climate Change Partisan; Why, And Is Coverage Compromised?
“Since when did Reuters require an outside organisation to advise it on how to report on controversial issues?”
Reuters, the global news agency, has been accused in a new book* of joining an organisation which is dedicated to presenting a partisan view of climate change, and silences those who dare to disagree by activating the obnoxious “denier” assertion.
(Declaration of interest. I worked for Reuters for 32 years – 4 years as Science & Technology Correspondent reporting on global warming-– see my output on climate change: climate-change-an-alternative-view-but-backed-by-top-experts
The organisation, Covering Climate Now (CCN) (CoveringClimateNow.org), has a formidable list of media supporters, with Reuters at the very top of the list. But anyone who abuses people with “climate denier” or “climate change denier” charges, betrays the fact they know little about climate science, or are too lazy to do their own research. They are more interested in forcing their views on the public and silencing debate.
The argument is not about “if” the climate is warming. It’s about “why”
These zealots, and there are some very high-profile ones in politics and academia, say the science is decided and indisputable. This is untrue. Those opposing the warmists don’t doubt the climate is changing. Everybody knows the global climate has been gradually, and occasionally erractically, warming since the last ice age 10,000 years ago.
So the ugly “denier” label makes no sense. It’s just abuse, designed to shut down argument, with nasty echoes of holocaust denial. The argument is not about “if” the climate is warming. It’s about “why”.
Warmists say all of the increase is down to the impact of man, others say it’s smaller, and there are some who say it is entirely natural. Reporting on climate change should routinely include views to balance the story. Those that say the science is settled are wrong. It’s hard to believe Reuters has signed up to this, and what it hoped to achieve. After my comment was posted its The Baron website, silence reigned. Why hasn’t it explained itself?
Since when did Reuters require an outside organisation to advise it on how to report on controversial issues?
I’m surprised Reuters hasn’t responded to this claim yet, because this book will likely have a high profile. It’s not as though it’s saloon bar tittle-tattle. It’s there, firmly on the record and raises the question – since when did Reuters require an outside organisation to advise it on how to report honestly and thoroughly on controversial issues?
The book accused Reuters (and many others including Bloomberg) of agreeing to add misleading or erroneous background to stories about, for example, hurricanes. “Remember, an extreme weather story that doesn’t mention climate change is incomplete and potentially even inaccurate”. Or “this comes at a time when human-caused climate change is consistently making storms more intense”. The author, Ross Clark, a freelance journalist working for The Telegraph, Daily Mail and The Spectator among others, said any reporter who bothered to do their own research would soon find this is contested by historical data to say the least. (This might help – headline-climate-science-built-on-shifting-sands-book-review
Does the Reuters style guide now demand its reporters follow these instructions?
These accusations go straight to the heart of Reuters’ DNA, which the last time I looked (admittedly 20+ years ago!) demanded fair, balanced and honest reporting. CCN knows better? CCN claims to be dedicated to more and better reporting about climate change, and on its front page says “Resources briefings, and tips to help report all angles of the climate story”.
Not a thing Reuters should be associated with, surely?
If you dig deeper though you’ll find it uses weasel words only too familiar to those like me who’ve striven to provide real honesty and balance to the argument. It reveals itself as just another arrogant, warmist outfit dedicated to shutting down those with whom it disagrees. Not a thing Reuters should be associated with, surely?
CCN offers this advice. “10. For God’s sake, do not platform climate denialists. (my bold) We understand as well as anyone that opinion pages occasionally need to push the envelope with unpopular takes. But there is no longer any good faith argument against climate science — and if one accepts the science, one also accepts the imperative for rapid, forceful action. Op-eds that detract from the scientific consensus, or ridicule climate activism, don’t belong in a serious news outlet.” says CCN.
Last chance saloon; unless we listen the earth will die
Let’s be clear what this means exactly. The idea that the science is settled won’t last long if a reporter can be bothered to use Google. A quick interrogation of sepp.org will reveal scores if not hundreds of highly qualified climate scientists who beg to differ.
The truth is, the science is far from decided, although the likes of CCN have convinced themselves that it is cast in concrete, and they are determined to silence dissenters. They justify this by saying this is the last chance saloon and unless we listen to them the earth will die.
There is a huge amount of highly educated scientific opinion with the likes of Messrs Lindzen, Curry, Koonin and many, many more who are ignored by the mainstream media because this campaign to silence dissent has been so successful. Does Reuters ignore experts if they’ve been labelled “deniers”? Surely Reuters shouldn’t be a part of this. Its traditional principles of fairness truth and balance suffice, surely?
I’ve asked CCN and Reuters, these questions. So far they haven’t responded.
“CCN – What is the nature of your dealings with Reuters and Bloomberg?
Were there talks between you and Reuters/Bloomberg etc to thrash out a general approach to climate change reporting? During my tenure in ‘90s the watchword always was balance, truth and fairness above all else.
Have you all agreed to be more partisan? If so, what were the grounds for that?
And to Reuters – Why are you associated with CCN? Do you insist your reporters follow its guidance? Who decided that this was a good idea, and when.
So far, I’ve not heard a response from either CCN or Reuters.
On February 17, Reuters made this statement.
“Reuters is deeply committed to covering climate change and its impact on our planet with accuracy, independence and integrity, in keeping with the Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.”
*”Not Zero – How An Irrational Target Will Impoverish You, Help China (and Won’t Even Save the Planet” published by Forum.