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Why Should the News Media Be Able to Accept Science as Fact?

Why Should the News Media Be Able to Accept Science as Fact?

Letters to the Editor: Why climate journalism needs to give readers a reason to hope

It’s not just the “climate justice” crowd that’s upset by our media’s unwillingness to accept science as fact: Journalists themselves have gotten into the act.

The recent decision by the London Evening Standard to drop a climate-focused magazine after its print edition had already failed to find a buyer was, in part, about journalists’ failure to understand — or worse, being unwilling to accept — that climate science is in fact a fact.

To the extent that I’m part of the “climate justice” crowd, I’m really not as angry as those who think they’ve been duped by an unsympathetic media.

Why should the news media be allowed, as an institution, to get away with that?

When a science reporter says “there is, ‘a 95 percent likelihood’ of an anthropogenic warming trend,” you ought to have that journalist write “There is evidence that the climate is changing as we have previously understood.” When a television writer says “It’s extremely likely that the Earth is warming,” she should actually say “Based on the data we currently have, it’s highly likely that the Earth is warming.”

But the journalists at the Evening Standard and the New York Times who don’t understand science are more interested in selling magazine subscriptions than they are in serving their readers.

In other words, their interests are not on par with the interests of their readers.

Let’s hope that someday the media will understand that climate change and the journalism that covers it has to be the news we all can be proud of.

• Chris Hedges is the author of The American Dream Is Not What We’re Getting Away With

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