Associated Press (AP), the arbiters of style for journalism, issued new rules related to global warming and climate change coverage, infuriating liberal environmentalists.
Their anger stemmed from AP’s guidance which said to use the label “climate change doubters” or “those who reject mainstream climate science” when discussing those that do not accept man-made climate change, rather than “skeptics” or “deniers.”
The left’s collective tantrum included comparisons to “smoking health risk doubters,” “flat-earthers” and mocked the decision even mocked the decision saying people should stop calling mustaches, “mustaches,” because “Hitler had a mustache.” And it wasn’t only Treehugger and Sierra Club types, media outlets liked The Washington Post complained too.
The news media helped popularize use of the offensive term “deniers,” and even admitted its Holocaust-denialism roots. In 2006, Scott Pelley, a correspondent for 60 Minutes at that time, compared those that do not believe in anthropogenic global warming to Holocaust deniers, “If I do an interview with Elie Wiesel am I required as a journalist to find a Holocaust denier?"
A year later, Ellen Goodman, writing for The Boston Globe, made the same comparison: “I would like to say we're at a point where global warming is impossible to deny. Let's just say that global warming deniers are now on a par with Holocaust deniers, though one denies the past and the other denies the present and future.”
The liberal media also abused the term “denier” by using it against those who agree that there is climate change and mankind plays some role it it, but disagree with climate alarmists about the amount of man’s impact on the climate or the severity of the change.
AP addressed that origin in its announcement saying, “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.”
That left liberal environmental groups celebrating the AP decision that “climate change skeptic” should not be used, but furious over the rejection of “denier.”
“I think that ‘climate change denier’ is a good phrase—these people are denying facts that scientific evidence have demonstrated repeatedly to be true. Climate change deniers are also denying that human lives are at stake,” Alissa Walker wrote at the tech blog Gizmodo. “‘Denier’ is by far the most powerful word we have. ’Climate change doubter’ is too soft of a phrase for such an important topic.”
Margaret Badore of Treehugger.com was especially upset, “[o]ne can make the case that ‘denier’ has the right corrective sting to deal with people confronted with an overwhelming body of evidence that they are wrong.” She continued to suggest other words they could be called instead of ‘deniers,’ “Of course, the debate also offers a delicious opportunity to propose other alternatives. Personally, I could go for ‘unhelpful climate womp womps’ or ‘lying hypocrites who make money from the fossil fuel industry.’”
Others joined Badore in suggesting alternative phrases to AP’s guidance.
The Huffington Post’s Washington Bureau Chief Ryan Grim suggested the following phrases submitted by Twitter followers: Armageddon advocates, drought enthusiasts, Canadian land speculators, climate itsallrightists, death cult members, grandchildren haters, slowcooking specialists and reality challenged.
The Sierra Club tweeted, “Also, please now refer to ‘flat-earthers’ as ‘Sphere-thought-challenged.’ Seriously, what the heck, AP?” Noted alarmist Joe Romm asked at Think Progress whether the AP would “recommend newspapers use the phrase ‘smoking health risk doubters’ or ‘tobacco science doubters.’”
The Daily Kos called on the AP to reverse its decision and suggested the term “rejects.”
Although Erik Wemple of The Washington Post claimed AP had “succumbed to a specious argument that the term ‘denier’ can’t be paired with another term without tinging it with Holocaust implications,” many upset by the banishment of “denier” as a term admitted and defended the Holocaust comparison.
One left-wing Guardian blogger tried to defend the term “denier” from its offensiveness on the grounds that it “is now in common use, whether deniers like it or not.”
“In at least one important way, denying the existence of climate change is like denying the existence of the Holocaust: To deny either one is to announce that you are part of a tiny conspiracist fringe,” Jack Mirkinson wrote at Salon. “The Holocaust stands almost completely alone in the pantheon of evil, but the effects of climate change are going to unleash a great wave of horror if the world doesn’t act, and there may come a time when we look back on the people who prevented that action from taking place with the same kind of revulsion that we currently reserve for Holocaust deniers.”
Writing for Science Blogs, Greg Laden had no problem removing the term “skeptics”, but did not agree with the decision to also remove “deniers” or add “doubters.” He also defending the Holocaust-denial theme saying, “[t]his is not doubting. It is not being skeptical. It is denying, and it is denying pretty much the same way that Holocaust deniers are denying, in an irrational, politically motivated, goal-post moving, dishonest, and damaging way.”
The Center For Inquiry’s Committee for Skeptical Inquiry was pleased that the AP dropped the use of “skeptics.” The group had lobbied and petitioned against use of the term “skeptic,” but were displeased by the rejection of the term “deniers.” President and CEO Ronald A. Lindsay said, “Referring to deniers as ‘doubters’ still imbues those who reject scientific fact with an intellectual legitimacy they have not earned. The general public, we fear, will still not get a clear picture of which public figures are basing their positions on reality, and which are not.”