I was disturbed last evening (Dec. 13th) by a piece on the California wildfires, and their cause during the venerable PBS news hour. As with so many cases when opinions differ, PBS usually interviews those with differing opinions.
Not so last night.
It would seem that issues in climate have been removed from debate and critique except in the more or less underground blog world; bad for the public and bad for science.
Differences of opinion should be addressed head on in the most public of places, not hidden as though they don’t exist!
So I feel those alternative opinions on the cause and frequency of Cal wildfires omitted in the PBS news hour should be exposed:
These opinions are contained in the Washington Times, a counterpoint newspaper to the liberal-oriented, Washington Post. (We need objective news so BAD!)
Perhaps the PBS producers should listen to the FTC statement on fraud, which reigns in advertisers statements that can mislead consumers. I post this FTC statement because this is what happened last night on PBS, IMO. If what they presented last night on wildfires was a “product”, in effect, one “harming consumers” due to not having proper warnings (balance), you would see the injury lawyers lining up:
“Certain elements undergird all deception cases. First, there must be a representation, omission or practice that is likely to mislead the consumer.” —FTC Policy Statement on Deception
Yep, that’s what happened in the PBS news hour last night. Shame on you, PBS. You can do better.
Disclaimer 1. Two of the scientists quoted in the Times article are friends and ones I greatly admire; they are first rate scientists with numerous peer-reviewed publications; Cliff Mass, professor of atmospheric science at the University of Washington, and Roger Pielke, Sr., emeritus professor of atmospheric science at Colorado State University.
Disclaimer 2: The writer is firmly of the opinion that the world will be warmer in the future.
Disclaimer 3: I am corrupted in a sense about scientific literature published in polarized domains due to having seen hundreds of pages of peer-reviewed literature describing ersatz cloud seeding results. I have a fair body of literature published on those, in essence, “corrections.” The bogus published cloud seeding results led to an erroneous scientific consensus on cloud seeding skill in the 1970s and 1980s.
Why did that happen?
The experimenters responsible for those faulty results knew beforehand what they would find and made sure they found it (sound familiar?), and due to inadequate and/or “pal” peer-reviews that let faulty literature into peer-reviewed publications (also sounds familiar).
(Thanks to Mark Albright, I guess, to alerting me to that Washington Times article; I lost sleep over that and whether the Geminid meteor shower, peaking last night, would destroy the space station, killing all on board.)