Just what the climate debate needed, word games. After liberals complained on Twitter, The New York Times changed its headline to describe Trump’s EPA pick as a “climate change denialist” instead of a “climate change dissenter.”
The Times reported on Dec. 7, that Donald Trump chose Oklahoma’s Attorney General Scott Pruitt to head the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). “Trump Picks Scott Pruitt, Climate Change Dissenter, to Lead E.P.A,” the Times’ headline read.
Calling Pruitt a “dissenter,” however, apparently wasn’t harsh enough for liberals on Twitter. Liberals criticized the Times’ description of Pruitt as a climate “dissenter,” tweeting “Oh FFS,” and calling the Times’ headline “an embarrassment to honest journalism.”
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President Emeritus and Chief Scientist of the Pacific Institute Dr. Peter H. Gleick likened Pruitt to a someone who denied the earth was round and gravity existed. “Round earth dissenter?
Evolution dissenter? Gravity dissenter? I thought we were past this,” Gleick tweeted on Dec. 7.
Writer and Fellow at the Berkman Center for Internet & Society Dan Gillmor called the Times’ original headline “an embarrassment to honest journalism.” “The @nytimes has found a new way to not call climate change deniers what they are,” Gillmor tweeted on Dec. 7.
Dear @nytimes, when you call climate-change deniers "dissenters" you ascribe honest motives to their anti-science, anti-reality campaign.— Dan Gillmor (@dangillmor) December 7, 2016
Leading climate alarmist Michael Mann said Times’ headline “normalized fringe views.” Others complained as well.
The Times apparently changed its headline after those complaints. Shortly after those tweets, Mann and Gillmor both tweeted that the Times changed its headline to label Pruitt a “denialist.”
The Associated Press admonished that type of language on Sept. 22, 2015. The AP said to, “Avoid use of skeptics or deniers” when writing on climate change and specifically cited the “pejorative ring of Holocaust denier,” that concerned those who “reject climate science.”
Gleick’s comparison of climate skeptics to flat-earthers was bad, but wasn’t nearly as bad as what former Grist writer Dave Roberts said in 2006. On Sept. 19, 2006, Roberts suggested Nuremberg-style trials for certain climate skeptics.
“When we’ve finally gotten serious about global warming, when the impacts are really hitting us and we’re in a full worldwide scramble to minimize the damage, we should have war crimes trials for these bastards — some sort of climate Nuremberg,” Roberts said.