Meme of the Moment -Fake Climate News

Guest essay by Charles G. Battig

Like mesmerized butterflies in a field of flowers, the internet-based media flits from hot-topic to hot-topic. Carefully crafted news items are released as powerful behavioral pheromones onto the information super-highway with the intention of shaping public opinion without the target audience’s awareness of the source of their new-found opinion. Think of that unfortunate frog being incrementally heated in a pan of cold water as it is raised to the boiling point.

No better example of “false news” is that of the scientific wasteland now known as “climate change.” A creation of the United Nations in1992, the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change adopted the “false news” that the viability of the earth and human existence was threatened by a minor trace gas, CO2, itself essential to plant and mammalian life processes.

“False news” has become the hot button issue of the moment…the meme of the moment. If there is “false news” does that imply countervailing “true news”? Are some statements so blatantly false that they are obviously false? Or is falsity a characteristic of ones memes…a characteristic of cultural indoctrination rather than of traditional scientific experiment and falsification reasoning? Truths of the physical world are more likely to be resolved in this manner than those of the emotionally based social justice world. The progressive media is expert in exploiting the public in this gray area of feel-good news casting.

News chatter does not deal with such deep philosophical conundrums. It deals at the “he said, she said” level of claiming what is true or not in the media. It deals with rumor, un-identified news sources, and unquestioning reportage as the basis for claims of falsehood. Beyond this simplistic level of mere right-or-wrong shouting matches, there is the cultural indoctrination game-plan of establishing right-or-wrong, falsity-or-truthfulness by edict. “Is true because the ruling class says it is so.” Progressive ideology assumes an intellectually gifted elite ruling class, the technocrats, who alone are equipped to make such determinations. Europeans have the unelected bureaucrats huddled in Brussels at the European Union to do their difficult thinking for them. Americans have recently learned of how the ruling class categorizes them as “despicables.”

There is nothing new in all of this. The current meme is just the latest version of “It is so because I say it is,” “It is so because I want it to be so,” or the most direct “It’s good to be king.”

In 1999, economist Julian Simon’s last book was published. “Hoodwinking the Nation” was Julian’s effort to document how the media selectively slants reported news events. He covered such topics as the “vanishing farmland” scam of the 1970’s, and natural climate change being reported as an environmental disaster in the making. In his terminology, these were examples of “false bad news.” Humans seem to have a predisposition to believe bad news over good news. The enduring ability of Paul Ehrlich and Paul Krugman to continue to make a living by promoting fears of population explosions and natural resource exhaustion in spite of being perpetually on the wrong side of history is a testament to that truth.

Is there any help for the public to make independent value judgements as to “false news” legitimacy? Progressive educational goals set in motion by John Dewey in the 1930’s have successfully produced generations of citizens with diminished ability or desire to reason rationally from first principles. They now occupy posts at all levels of education, government bureaucracies, and span all fields of endeavor. They will not concede the “swamp” of D.C. willingly.

For the internet-mesmerized public, there is hope for resolution of “false news” quandaries. Mother Google has recognized the need. In reference to “false news” items making it onto Google, Andrea Faville, a Google spokeswoman, is quoted: “In this case, we clearly didn’t get it right, but we are continually working to improve our algorithms.” Yes, truth is now just whatever a team at an all-knowing internet behemoth says it is via its latest algorithm. Social media will know it is true because Google says so.

Nothing new there either; remember President Ronald Reagan’s quip: “I am from the Government we’re here to help”? God help us all.


132 thoughts on “Meme of the Moment -Fake Climate News

    • Thanks Paul. Always interesting what other people find convincing :

      Perhaps this was the most conclusive statement I read in the publication he sent, Geosphere-Biosphere Interactions and Climate:
      “There is now a growing consensus that human activities are having a discernible effect on the Earth’s climate (IPCC, 1996).

      so the most “conclusive” statement he found was 20 years out of date written during the peak of the ramping up of temperatures at the end of the 20th c. At that time it was reasonable to be asking the question. We now have 20 years more data that are NOT ramping up and have been essentially flat. From an objective scientific point of view that would be : phew, it can’t be due to AGW then.
      However the alarmist spin merchants report this as 15 of the hottest years on record have occurred since … etc. masking the fact that it’s hot but not hotter, as would be required by AGW.

      … research, which the Academy itself conducted. The Bishop-Chancellor also noted that much of the work was done in coordination with academicians, Paul Crutzen, Mario Molina, and V. Ramanathan who are noted researchers in the field.

      So the academy did not actually do the research “themselves”, they relied on alarmists like Paul Crutzen famed for popularizing the term Anthropocene. Right.

      Science is skeptical by nature. A scientist who can find evidence that challenges a broadly accepted theory can make a reputation that may last for their entire career.

      ROTFL !
      What an idealistic 18th century fantasy. This is the kind of fairytale world from which academia derives its fallacious authority.
      A scientist who goes against the orthodoxy will get ostracised as quickly as a catholic who says he’s discovered that the pope is a muslim.
      Now I don’t want to spoil your faith based world view but don’t come in here and try to confuse it with science.

      • Greg,
        Faith means confidence, that’s all. You can imagine that I have faith in God and the Book for reasons other than that I witnessed convincing evidence (which if you witnessed it would convince you), but that’s just you imagining things, and placing your faith in your imagination, to me.

      • It’s a really strange article. He seems disapproving of the outcome of his claim that ‘scientists …find evidence that challenges a broadly accepted theory can make a reputation that may last for their entire career.’ And…? Good thing, no?
        He then cloaks peer review in a golden haze of certainty and absolutism. (Or – Absolution? Do peer reviewers sin? Not half!)
        It’s a pity he can’t be bothered to read standard textbooks on climate change, but that’s a bridge too far even for ‘Bill Nye, the Science Guy’ (sic!) (smirk)
        ‘Virtually nothing in science is free of debate’. Wh-a-at? Nothing in science is free of debate. Nothing. Especially when phenomena are marked by undecidable chains of cause and effect. Like, er, climate change.
        It gets worse: ‘Eventually there’s a consensus’. Nope. ‘This isn’t the same as objective truth’. At last! A HIT! Consensus is about as far from objectivity as you can get. Which is why it always breaks down (think of phlogiston and ether. Oo! And ‘natural place’ – which the church used to be so keen on when it came to peasants and the earth).
        All spoilt by ‘But it can come pretty darn close’. Father Ignoramus, on and on and on burying himself in the brown stuff. How many died when consensus science decided cholera was air-borne? Hmm, doesn’t say…
        Will none rid us from this pestilent priest?
        In the name of God, go!

    • It’s hardly fake when it’s backed up by a direct quote from the Vatican about “Christian Vacations”. That’s pretty explicit right there, and the source was the same source that you quoted to refute it.
      In fact, the more that I read this, I’m uncertain about how to react. Your source seems to agree with the original article you claim is fake news. Is this sarcasm?

      • Yes, I realized that after I posted it. Confound our lack of “Edit” buttons. I was probably just anticipating next week too much. However, the point stands. It explicitly says that priests are expected to be environmentalists and that all good Christians should change their lifestyle to be more environmentally friendly. I cannot see how this qualifies as “fake news”.

    • Eric specialize in click-bait, gets me in every time. I would describe it as plausible truthishness; in other words click-bait.

  1. Progressive educational goals set in motion by John Dewey in the 1930’s have successfully produced generations of citizens with diminished ability or desire to reason rationally from first principles.

    First principles and empiricism are too messy for generation snowflake. These methods can lead one to false conclusions, you know, like the hateful idea that there are two human sexes with distinct geno- and phenotypes.

  2. Well written and a good reminder to us of why we must carry on at all costs. My personal journey to Climate skepticism began with Climategate. I thought I knew the Left but did not beleive that science itself had become simply another front in the political struggle. I was proven wrong about that.

  3. Actually we rational Americans were referred to as “Deplorables”. It is the previous ruling class who are despicable.

  4. Suppose you were a real brainiac, and you wanted to save mankind from ourselves.
    You could benefit all mankind by making free clean green renewable energy available everywhere.
    To demonstrate its usefulness you could build, and successfully market an electric car for the masses, to eliminate CO2 pollution. Well of course you would do this on your own nickel to show how easy it is to replace gasoline. No of course you would never swill at the public trough and do this on the backs of others.
    So you design yourself a 700 horsepower electric family sedan, that has a full two gees starting acceleration from motor stalled starts, and you sell them for $15,000 so everybody could afford one. 700 miles one way trip mileage on one charge, using your own high energy density high safety long life , and light weight battery. Well you build those yourself too, as a side business, using of course your own nickel, so people know you are serious.
    Now some people like to go faster than 80 MPH, but you can solve their problem by building a 700 MPH “Loop train” that whizzes through an evacuated tube form LA to New York. You can do the el cheapo trip which takes 42 minutes terminal to terminal using nothing but free clean green renewable gravitation. Of course you design and build this all on your own nickel just to show you are serious. People simply have to go long distances, and it shouldn’t cost an arm and a leg just to go to New York for the afternoon.
    You do have to deal with the hecklers who say you can talk to the chap(ess) in New York by telephone, and with 4k pictures as well. Why transport people long distances when you can show them anything they want to see in virtual reality.
    Well of course this takes a lot of energy, and we don’t have a lot of that, so you should send people to Mars to get some more energy from there. They have all kinds of stuff on Mars we could use so we should go get some of it. It’s good that you have a company that makes a Mars commuter vehicle so you can send people to Mars. We will all be going there eventually anyhow when we run out of all the free clean green renewables on this dead rock.
    But everybody knows you are serious, because you are risking your own money and stuff to do all of these wonderful things. It’s not like you were hitting up the poor doofus down the street, who just wants a cheaper hamburger.
    Of course it would be useful to you if you knew somebody who could calculate the actual costs in energy and resources that you would need to accumulate to do all of these wonderful things. Because nobody is going to even listen to you until they know you really have thought this through.
    Oh sorry ! I got carried away here; I was just running through my mind, the script of my new science fiction movie that will be coming out a year from now.
    By the way, can anyone lend me a couple of bucks to get myself a new video camera to shoot my movie ??
    Well sorry to bother you about this, but I really have this great idea; lots of them in fact.

    • Those of us who are a bit more familiar with the “wunderkind” to whom which you transparently allude are not so enamored with the PT Barnum hucksterism that never strays far from the public trough.

    • “Suppose you were a real brainiac, and you wanted to save mankind from ourselves.”
      George, I have to disagree. I don’t think anyone of above average intelligence would attempt to save humans from themselves, that’s pretty much a futile waste of time.

    • Two g starting acceleration takes a lot more traction than most tires can muster, since you’re only holding them on the pavement with one g.

    • A great speech, and Mr. Reagan hit the nail on the head, for progressives everything is so “self-evident” that it’s beyond argument … Reagan saw it then as clearly as anyone

  5. IMHO there is very little news today. Most of what is printed as “news” is actually editorial opinions foisted off as “news analysis”.

  6. ‘Fake news’ was originally intended to refer to parody news sites like ‘The Onion’, but the mainstream media has been pushing a more vague version of the term for their marching broom followers – i.e. anything that conflicts with their narrative.
    It’s going to get worse.

  7. Maybe one of you kind readers of WUWT can help me here — Exactly WHEN did Climate “science” become immune to the Scientific Method? And exactly WHEN did Climate “scientists” become immune from including Scientific Standards of Error from their papers? And Finally, WHEN did 40 years of Failed Predictions somehow become Climate “science” Proof? And, For Extra Credit, WHEN did 150+ “models” incapable of describing Today’s Real World Conditions, become True Harbingers of Future Climate?

    • Someone else can elaborate if they wish, but the short answer to ” Exactly WHEN …….” is when it became politically and financially beneficial and expedient to do so.

    • Maybe WW2 is to blame, it was that war that led to the UN, which was the vehicle that allowed a decision made in advance (that AGW was happening) to become a $multi-billion industry/religion that easily brushed aside the notion of proper scientific scepticism.

    • Exactly when the “intellectually gifted ruling class” realized there is a lot of tax revenue to be made taxing the gas of life.

    • Without looking anything up, I recall that the early IPCC reports had some scientists involved who insisted that a reasonably balanced report was presented.
      After a few cycles, those scientists were ‘disposed of’, and thereafter the IPCC reports seem to have only been limited by what they thought the green politicians wanted …

    • Your seeming rhetorical questions do, in fact, have an exact analytical answer. Actually, the same answer for all your questions.
      {Drum Roll….}
      June 28, 1988!
      This is the date when James Hansen gave his testimony to the Senate Energy Committee. This event changed everything. First, all Govt. funded climate science and earth science, became corrupted to be “results” oriented, instead of a dispassionate search for facts and accurate data.
      But it did not stop there. Before long, all Govt. funded science would be corrupted on the altar of CAGW. Even more, all fields of science have felt enormous pressure to produce desired results, instead of accurate data and conclusions. Once the precedent for the new way of doing things was set by “climate science”, all other fields were expected to toe the line.
      Yes, things have changed very dramatically in the last 30 years.
      Glad I could help.

    • Well, by my measure, it was when Maurice Strong started to use environmentalism as a means to push a socialist agenda/world government in the early seventies. Pretty much since then any science related to the environment has been politicized. It infected the science, its institutions (certainly in terms of fund-raising), and, perhaps just as (or more) importantly, pop culture.
      Short answer: ever since there was agenda behind it.

      • Short answer: ever since there was agenda behind it.

        In other words, ever since they set up the IPCC.
        There’s lots of theories out there . . the Big Bang, string theory . . lots.
        There’s also lots of discussion that goes on in those circles too.
        How many of those theories an intergovernmental body set up to cater for them?
        Only one . .

      • “The Russians did it.”
        In a way, there’s actually some truth to that. The advocacy of socialism on environmental grounds which Joel Snider describes @December 13, 2016 1:41 pm was seriously ramped up when the USSR going Tango Uniform disabused all but the most delusional lunatic fringe of the notion that socialism can achieve economic prosperity.

    • Science in general probably became immune to Scientific Method some time after ‘big business’ started to fund ‘research’ to ‘prove’ that their products were either effective or at least more effective than those of their competitors. Once it could be shown that science can be corrupted to ‘prove’ almost anything, the problem became endemic. We are now reaping the fruits.

    • Can’t help you.
      Climate science is exemplary, evidence based science of the highest standard.
      I don’t see any proof of any fake or fraud.

      • So please do tell, Skankhunt42, ….. , er, …… , I mean, Griff:
        – How did this planet have a glacial event (a.k.a. ice age) 450 million years ago, at the end of the Ordovician period, with CO2 concentrations that were TEN TIMES current atmospheric concentrations?
        – How did this planet have a glacial event 150 million years ago, at the end of the Jurassic period, with CO2 concentrations that were FIVE TIMES current atmospheric concentrations?
        Skank, the entire world is fixated on this incredibly large number of a concentration of 400 PART PER MILLION, I personally state to those who follow the cult religion of “climate change” that yes, 400 PPM is a big number, but what about the other 999,600 PARTS PER MILLION??!?!!? Needless to say, that is a VERY BIG number therefore why aren’t we worrying about that, VERY BIG NUMBER??!?!!?
        Cold kills, cooler climates have higher frequencies of weather related events.
        Higher CO2 concentrations are good for plant growth, given that we are at 7.4 billion and growing, higher plant yields are incredibly beneficial and very welcome.
        Hither CO2 concentrations will impact the overall global temperature by, ….. , well, actually we do not have the ability to accurately measure that impact, it is so trivial and insignificant it is a complete joke (see that part about 999,600).
        A warmer climate is a more benign climate, this has been clearly demonstrated by the REDUCTION of 25% of the global GDP as it pertains to damages incurred by weather related events over the time frame 1990-2002 (source: Munich Re. Source of GDP Data: United Nations).
        The science is settled, however the wonderful (supposed) leader of the free world has gotten it entirely wrong. I liken this to “the pot calling the kettle Barack”.

      • Oops, “Higher” CO2 concentrations ……
        Too bad the incorrect word was correctly spelled – my mistake.

  8. Another modern problem with news is that much of it is not news, it is opinion, advocacy or marketing in disguise, and because that is true there is a steady stream of such material being foisted on broadcasters and other news outlets. Then, because news providers are all competing with each other to be first, there is no time for due diligence fact checking, even if there was the will to do so. And, the bottom line says that income is what matters, the “truth” does not pay the bills.

  9. Its a fact that if you tell the same lie over and over, or have the media report it over and over, it becomes the truth, and it is spoke of as the truth, even though it is a lie . Sadly we have grown to trust those in authority, and their words have truth we hope.Remember the 1st gulf war ? How about weapons of mass destruction.. I could go on and on.

  10. Critical thinking may never have been as important as it is today and probably never as under-emphasized as it is today. Stay Skeptical , my friends !

  11. Whether intended or not, I saw the joint announcement of Merkel and Obama as directed against honesty in the climate debate. Merkel cares no more who is president here, than she does who is the Premier of France. But the AGW juggernaut is her baby (and Obama’s).
    The problem is they are both soon to be irrelevant. And the precedent they have set may very well be used against them. That would be a detriment to freedom, but totalitarian leftists never think about the future. Only the immediate gain of more power.

    • I saw an article in Drudge yesterday, that the German elite are blaming Putin for Merkel’s current fall from grace.

      • “the German elite are blaming Putin for Merkel’s current fall from grace.”
        They think they see this misdirection working for the Left in the U.S., so they are going to try it themselves.
        The reason Merkel is falling from Grace is because she has invited an overwhelming number of people who will not assimilate, into Germany and the rest of Europe. She’s let the enemy into the camp, and seems oblivious to the danger. Not seems, she is oblivious. As are a lot of her fellow German elites, and European elites, and American elites. Being out of touch with reality can be detrimental to a lot of things, like political careers, health, and even life itself.
        The Left is in control in Europe and they are all living in a false reality of their own making which will be the death of them if the people don’t wake up and throw these fools out of office and get someone with a little common sense.

      • I think Merkel knows exactly what she’s doing, TA. She’s not oblivious at all. She now speaks of Germans as, ‘the people who have been living here for a long time.’ I.e., for her they’re not “Germans.”
        Merkel’s conscious plan is to turn Germany into an ethnically nondescript region within an ethnically nondescript Europe.
        The immigration crisis, so-called, is Merkel waging a cultural war for the obliteration of Germany.
        In this, she has the alliance of the progressive left of Germany and of Europe. It’s their plan for a non-nationalistic, non-colonialist, non-racist, peaceful egalitarian, utopian future.
        These out-workings are proof positive that ideological blindness can create enormously more havoc than mere stupidity alone.
        Their plan will inevitably fail. If they do succeed in turning Germany and Europe into an undifferentiated human soup, the population will have lost the accumulated wisdom of the past. From them a different, more ignorant and newly nationalistic, colonialist, racist society will grow up in the stead of the educated relatively peaceful and law-abiding society the Germans have constructed since WWII.

      • “The immigration crisis, so-called, is Merkel waging a cultural war for the obliteration of Germany.”
        She is winning this war. Too bad. Maybe the sensible people will wake up in time.

      • Here in the states, the left has found the current electorate to be unpalatable, so they are importing a new electorate that will be more amenable.

  12. fake news is the new “not politically correct”.
    google facebook at twitter must improve their thought police algorithms to stop the unwashed masses being exposed to such lies.

  13. The false news meme started when Trump one. It is part of their rationale that it could not have been Crooked Hillary and her policies that were rejected. No, the Deplorables must have been suckered by false news spread by the likes of climate deniers.
    So lets list some truly false news right from NYT and WaPo reporting. (1) Russians meddled to help Trump. Well, neither FBI nor ONI agree with the CIA assessment, and Wikileaks says the Dem email dumps did not come from Russia. (2) Obamacare will cut insurance premiums and allow you to keep your doctor–Obama said so. (3) Paris Accord will meaningfully cut CO2, UNFCCC said so. (4) Renewables are cost effective and reliable– the wind manufacturers said so (explain again why they need subsidies and why SA blacked out). (5) Climate change is the greatest threat (not radical Islam, nuclear North Korea, or Russia Crimea/eastern Ukraine, China in South China Sea, …)–Kerry said so.

    • How about this fake news story from the Left:
      Trump makes fun of disabled reporter.
      Hillary even used this fake story in one or more of her tv commercials bashing Trump, showing Trump up on stage flopping his arms around like a person without muscle control, and mumbling “I don’t know what to do!”.
      Trump *was* making fun of the reporter, but he wasn’t making fun of his disablity. The man’s disablity had to do with his elbow locking up on occasion, it had nothing to do with shaking and mumbling and flailing his arms.
      It turns our the gyrations and flailings Trump did on that occasion were the exact same gyrations and flailings he used to make fun of another poltician and a general (all three occasions are on video).
      Trump was denigrating the intelligence of the three people by his gyrations and flailings, he was not referring to a disablity that did not exist in the reporter. But you probably wouldn’t know any of that without reading something like this because the MSM is not going to correct a delicious story like this.
      Fake News!

  14. This is what is so funny about the whole “post news” meme raised by the main stream media, the left and progressives. They have been telling us lies for 20 years, but now want to claim (because of Brexit and Trump victory) that false news is somehow an invention of the right.
    For example, for how many years have the left, CNN, BBC and progressives in general been telling us that climate change was only down to CO2, and dangerous?
    POTUS tweeted 97% of climate scientists agree climate change is real and dangerous. The 97% story is so transparently false, and the “work” behind it so statistically dishonest, yet the most powerful guy in the world cannot recognise a porky pie (lie) when he sees one?
    During Brexit debates, the left was appalled that Boris Johnson said money saved on the EU would come back to the National Health. Meanwhile POTUS, the IMF, the World Bank were all telling us Brexit would be a disaster, whereas none of these people should even have had an opinion on an issue which was for British voters only.
    The left worries about who leaked / hacked Hilary’s emails as opposed to looking at the corruption that was revealed regarding pay to play, breaking up Trump rallies, and voter fraud. The exact same tactic was used in ClimateGate when the left worried about a Russian hack as opposed to the corruption shown, gatekeeping journals, wishing away the Medieval Warm Period and the warmth of the 1930’s.
    It is very amusing. The left should look in the mirror, and the right should remind them that they have been practising “post news” for almost a century.

  15. Fake news? It’s been around a long, long time. There was that (in)famous William Randolph Hearst exchange in the late 1890s:
    Perhaps the most famous anecdote surrounding Heart’s zeal for the war involves a legendary communication between illustrator Frederick Remington and Hearst. As the story goes, Remington, who had been sent to Cuba to cover the insurrection, cabled to Hearst that there was no war to cover. Hearst allegedly replied with, “You furnish the pictures. I’ll furnish the war.”

  16. ‘“False news” has become the hot button issue of the moment’
    No, the term is fake news. And it refers to a rather specific problem of modern times, where someone can put up something on Facebook, and earn money from the clicks. No requirement of truth, and the more outrageous, the more clicks. In a way we’ve always had that, with tabloids, National Enquirer etc. But now the barrier to entry is so much lower.
    Here is a case in point. A pizza joint is terrorized because of fake news alleging that Hilary Clinton was running a child sex ring there. Of course, no informed person believes that. No evidence is ever given. But it has real consequences. It’s a problem, and people talk about it.

    • The MSM–ABC, CBS, NBC, the NYT, WaPo and LAT–are the masters of fake news.
      Just as the CACA mafia are the purveyors of fake science.

    • Ths only fake news stories I have heard about in the category you describe is this pizza store story and one where the Pope supposedly endorsed Hillary Clinton (or was it Trump?).
      The rest of the fake news stories originate with the MSM.

    • OMG! That was a FAKE news story? Had I known that, I would have voted for Hillary. You know, she probably lost the election because of fake news stories like that.

    • My favorite fake news right now is Russia tried to swing the election for Trump…
      Russia tried to swing the election against Hillary…Putin hates her guts….last year he said she was Satan
      ..on top of everything else, she is so stupid she insulted the hell out of them
      Showed up with some red button she got from the dollar store….like they are 3 year olds
      ..second favorite
      Russia hacking is about the emails…the ones we were not supposed to find out about saying Russia solved a murder…and the mafia is complaining about it
      Democrats have been using a Hungarian national convicted felon for decades trying to swing elections…
      …Russia, so what

      • No. That was the red herring they used to set up their ‘Russian hacking’ narrative, and discredit counter-messaging.

    • The National Enquirer broke both the Monica Lewinsky and Edward’s love child stories. Which the so called MSM had been refusing to touch.

    • ‘No evidence is ever given. But it has real consequences.’
      Yeah, just imagine if, instead of some fly-by-night Facebook page, you were targeted, slandered, libeled, harassed, and set up for prosecution by major media outlets, or politically minded congressmen and senators, or even Attorney Generals. Imagine if you were selected and segregated as group that was ‘okay to hate’, or if you were regularly compared to Holocaust deniers. Oh, and racist, can’t forget racist.
      Yeah, that has real consequences too. I wonder what that would be like.
      Oh…. wait a minute…

  17. Progressive educational goals set in motion by John Dewey in the 1930’s have successfully produced generations of citizens with diminished ability or desire to reason rationally from first principles.
    Personally, Spock was my hero, so thinking rationally was always important to me. Having a big nose also helps me to smell out the stories that don’t quite ring true. Still, as Feynman said, the easiest person to fool is yourself.

    • Agreed. Although, with ‘Vulcan’ in mind, I would have said ‘big ears’ to hear things that ‘don’t ring quite true’.
      Extremely small quibble, but I liked Spock too.

  18. The Progressive Left Has been doctoring Science for a long time. The Party Line was that Lysenkoist genetics was the revealed truth, It was instilled by fear, It led to 70 years of poor harvests, and a nation that at one time was the granary of the World, that was unable to feed itself.

  19. I have on rare occasions been involved with, or close to, an incident that received news coverage. In every case the the news story sounded approximate, out of touch at best, and contrary to facts I thought I had experienced or knew first hand at worst. I begin to wonder if my small sample experience can be extrapolated to news coverage in general. I realize too that most reporters approach their subject initially knowing nothing about it and have very limited time to get up to speed and create some coherent piece to publish. And I am suspicious the actual framework [meme?] for a story pre-exists and the reporter only looks to find faintly plausible facts to fill it out.

    • I have personal knowledge of three issues that made the news, two of them involving muckraker Jack Anderson. Especially in the Anderson items, his reporting was a very rough approximation of the true course of events. About the only thing you could carry away from the coverage was something happened somewhere involving some folks around this time. The details were a little, shall we say, fluid with regard to their congruence with reality.

      • Every news story I have ever read where I knew the real story has been the same. I have asked many people if they have found tge same thing to be the case, all agree. That implis to me that ALL news stories suffer the same lack of truth.

  20. “Progressive educational goals set in motion by John Dewey in the 1930’s have successfully produced generations of citizens with diminished ability or desire to reason rationally from first principles. They now occupy posts at all levels of education, government bureaucracies, and span all fields of endeavor. They will not concede the “swamp” of D.C. willingly”
    The last paragraph is the most important of them all.
    Read Jan Kozak’s book: ” and not a shot is fired” .
    After reading you will realize this has been building up for a long, long time.

  21. Really, really really hope “Fake News” is on the list of words for 2016 that should never be uttered again.
    Really, really, really tired of hearing it.

    • My guess is you are going to be hearing “fake news” for a lot longer. Trump has taken to ending some of his tweets having to do with news reports, with “Fake News”. And he is correct and should keep pointing the fake news out as fake news. Fake news coming out of the MSM will be the death of the United States. We need to take it on headon and defeat it, if we value our freedoms.

  22. The “fake news” that is the hot button topic right now is – as Nick Stokes mentions above – a euphemism for social media posts. This nicely focuses the attention on social media and away from the traditional media, who have been doing the same thing for many years. You can argue all you like about who said what about whom, but making up bad stuff about your opponents has been going on for a lot longer than the internet – it is only now that the establishment media have lost control over the news (fake or real) agenda that there is this fake horror (yes, pun intended).
    However, this begs the question of why people would rather believe a piece of information from a social media posting than from the established media? I mean come on, anyone can write anything on Twitter, Instagram, Faceboook or whatever – surely no-one in their right mind would believe it, right? Well, as someone who doesn’t actually use any social media (I read and make the very odd comment on a few we sites, but I am not sure that counts) I suspect that this is the impression quite a few people have of the whole media – establishment and social – it is all just made up. And why would people actually think that? Because there have been too many cases where that is exactly what has happened – completely made-up stories have appeared in every newspaper and on every news channel.
    And if you have lost all trust in what you read or watch or hear from established news organisations, why not turn to something else? Yeah, that guy who writes stuff on that facebook page I link to, or the Twitter stream I follow – maybe he/she knows something I don’t? Oh wow, that’s interesting, I’ll re-post this to my site and see if anyone else thinks it is interesting….
    Trust is a fragile thing – and once lost is very hard to recover. The media have quite clearly lost the trust of large parts of the population and quite a few have been looking around for other sources of information.. But there weren’t 60 million people in the US reading Trump’s Twitter feed, or Facebook pages or whatever. None of these stories gained any real traction (and had barely a few thousand hits each until they got picked up in the fake outrage by the “real” media) and had nothing to do with deciding the election.
    It is about time the real losers took a long hard look at themselves in the mirror. I don’t mean the Democratic party here, that just happens to be perhaps the biggest percentage of the losing group. No, the real losers are the established media organisations who have lost control of the medium and therefore cannot control the message any longer. And for that, these organisations only have themselves to blame.

    • “But there weren’t 60 million people in the US reading Trump’s Twitter feed”
      Well, 17 million.
      “None of these stories gained any real traction”
      There were plenty of them. Ted Cruz’ dad and Oswald, for example.
      “No, the real losers are the established media organisations who have lost control of the medium and therefore cannot control the message any longer.”
      The real losers are all of us, in a post-truth world. The media operated in the light. Their stories could be contested. There was competition. Truth could eventually be determined. Dan Rather was mentioned. That all got sorted out. This netherworld is something else.

      • “The real losers are all of us, in a post-truth world. The media operated in the light. Their stories could be contested. There was competition. Truth could eventually be determined. Dan Rather was mentioned. That all got sorted out. This netherworld is something else.”
        This netherworld is just people waking up to just how dishonest and partisan the Leftwing Media really is. It’s only “netherworld” and “post-truth” to those who don’t like the status quo being shaken up.
        The only way the Left can stay in business is to lie successfully but now they are starting to have a very hard time fooling people, and they are in panic mode talking about “post-truth” and bs like that.
        Trump’s deliberate, successful actions are constrasted against the sheer madness of the Left, and the Left is not winning this argument.
        As long as Trump succeeds, and the Left continues to act like maniacs and imbeciles, the Left will continue to lose political power and influence.
        Trump is doing us so much good by destroying the Left’s hold on power.

        • Except they do not. They are the only one that does NOT cheerlead for the DNC. But Megyn Kelly was not fawning over DJT. But I guess you missed that soap opera.

      • No, Cruz dad and Oswald were merely dirty politics. Just like the democrats did. There was insinuation (false) just as there was with Bernie from Hillary. I do not like it, but apparently the politicians do.
        Fake stories are when CNN reported Trump called for RACIAL profiling and the quote did not contain the word racial. That is a fake story. Fake story is when the MSM told us Trump was making fun of a reported with a disability, and had to use a freeze frame to try it. That is fake, and that is the MSM. Fake stories are the ones telling us that Comey cleared Hillary. None of those are true as the exact opposite was stated and it took the alternate media to point out the fake stories of the MSM.
        Rob is correct. You did it to yourselves. No one person did it. But the MSM has been caught in so many lies, and the DNC and Podesta emails clearly showed they were willing to do ANYTHING to get Hillary elected, that most of the nation no longer believes them.
        They did it to themselves. Just as you did it to yourself.

      • Actually, Nick, if you have a group of editors controlling the message across the entire media complex it’s very hard to get through ANY narrative they construct. The post-truth world didn’t start with Obama, but it has gone into overdrive.
        And the Dan Rather thing? “Sorted out”. Garbage. The reporter that fed him the fraudulent story is still working, has been lionized. RATHER was given his walking papers at the very tail end of his career. This ‘netherworld’ you speak of is points of light shining through the tapestry created by those that have had the monopoly on controlling the message.
        And by the way, ‘provable’ and ‘factual’ are not necessarily the same thing. And despite popular opinion, circumstantial evidence is usually the most damning – ask any detective.

    • Excellent post Rob. I will only add that it is the sources of some of the so called “fake news” today that actually exposed the lies and fraud of the MSM. LGF for Dan Rather, Breitbart for CNN and their changing quotes! After a half dozen episodes like that, why should people go to the MSM when they have no faith in their honesty or integrity?

  23. “I pledged in advance to accept what I would discover, no matter what my personal opinions were, after all, I am Catholic”
    A child amongst paedophiles.

    • People used to have a saying; “going postal”, which meant going violently nuts (at work, especially), basically. It was based on intense news coverage of a few incidents over a few months time when post office employees got violent . . I saw a study conducted several years later, that showed post office workers went “postal” at rates below average, by occupation.
      “News” coverage can magnify (or minimize) things in our minds.

      • About a decade ago, there was a horrific shark attack that killed a young child at the start of the summer beach going season. After that, every shark attack got national attention.
        Polls showed that people were afraid to go to the beach for fear of being attacked by sharks.
        Other polls showed that people believed there had been a huge jump in the number of shark attacks.
        At the end of the year, real world data showed that the total number of shark attacks for the year, was actually down from previous years and well below average.
        It was the constant media attention that drove the perception, not reality.

  24. There are many characteristics of Irving Janis’s groupthink model that are evident in western society’s reaction to this slo-mo disaster in the making called global warming or climate change. One characteristic is the suppression of dissenting ideas and alternate explanations. Janis compared his “groupthink” to Orwell’s “doublethink” in the classic “1984”, but I like William Whyte’s definition from his 1952 Fortune Magazine article as well –
    “Groupthink being a coinage – and, admittedly, a loaded one – a working definition is in order. We are not talking about mere instinctive conformity – it is, after all, a perennial failing of mankind. What we are talking about is a rationalized conformity – an open, articulate philosophy which holds that group values are not only expedient but right and good as well.”
    The only thing I would add to that final line is “and the embodiment of truth and justice.”
    Sure, earth’s climate is changing and does so over the course of millennia in poorly understood ways. The land I live on was covered by a thick sheet of ice until it melted a few thousand years ago. And it wasn’t the first time, either and won’t be the last. So, when I try to encompass the “big and very public picture” of global warming, I see aspects of the groupthink model that Janis described and suspect that there some very clever manipulators working the crowd out there.

  25. Charles asks: “Is there any help for the public to make independent value judgements as to “false news” legitimacy?”
    Charles, there’s always hope but not a lot. The problem you mention was caused by a generational attack, the corruption of children by an effort to do exactly that. During the 80’s and 90’s we went to work and we put too much trust in the people watching our kids. It’ll be another 3 generations before the followers of Harry Potter’s grandchildren re-attach to reality, and I think that’s a long shot.
    I’ll be satisfied if we can hold the little bastards at bay for another 20 years.

  26. If you don’t keep your Sponsor/Advertiser/shareholder happy, then you can kiss the money/funding/shares goodbye.

  27. Fake news has been around for a long time, even Samuel Clemens (Mark Twain) was not the first to have to correct the media. “It has been reported that I was seriously ill–it was another man; dying–it was another man; dead–the other man again…As far as I can see, nothing remains to be reported, except that I have become a foreigner. When you hear it, don’t you believe it. And don’t take the trouble to deny it. Merely just raise the American flag on our house in Hartford and let it talk.” “The report of my illness grew out of his illness, the report of my death was an exaggeration.” Mark Twain.

  28. The Guardian newspaper has a number of climate stories every day. These cover a range of topics. Today includes an article claiming that fake news is blaming human caused warming on El Nino, extreme rain will increase by 400% and natural disasters are worsening. There are many more along similar lines.
    It seems that the Guardian has a number of climate change activists who churn this stuff out on a regular basis. There are lots of comments from true believers who express their hatred of deniers. To be fair, there are some dissenting views too and lots of comments removed by moderators.
    I’m not commenting on whether any of these stories are true or fake because I’ve not read them. I can only say that a number of the titles are contrary to my understanding.
    It is common knowledge that this newspaper is favoured by teachers, academics, those with left wing liberal views and above all, it is said to be used as a policy guide by the BBC.

  29. Fake news, a meme that plagues Facebook is annoying but mostly harmless. Easily recognized by lead-ins that clam “…but what till you see what happens next!” or similar. Click bait, don’t bother. More sinister is diabolical news which comes from MSM sites and which contains pure indoctrination. These are the sites that rewrite “could if” to “will”. Climate alarmists are clever enough to not make hard claims. They prefer weasel words to disrepresent their message so that it appears to be fact, not fraud and let MSM sites run with it in predictable degrees of emphasis delivered with first person, imperious tone. So they might say models predict we will reach a tipping point blah blah blah and the fraudsters spin that to declare emphatically that the science leads us to believe blah blah blah. Do not misrepresent weasel worded disrepresented claims, which are truly diabolical, as fake news which is largely harmless for those with a brain. MSM diabolical news is far more dangerous than fake news – don’t dumb it down.

  30. “About a decade ago, there was a horrific shark attack that killed a young child at the start of the summer beach going season. After that, every shark attack got national attention.
    Polls showed that people were afraid to go to the beach for fear of being attacked by sharks.
    Other polls showed that people believed there had been a huge jump in the number of shark attacks.
    At the end of the year, real world data showed that the total number of shark attacks for the year, was actually down from previous years and well below average.
    It was the constant media attention that drove the perception, not reality.”
    Substitute Muslim for Shark and you have Trump’s strategy down to a T.

  31. Yeah, such are the facts one gets from the MSM. – !
    “powerful behavioral pheromones onto the information super-highway with the intention of shaping public opinion without the target audience’s awareness of the source of their new-found opinion.”

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