Note: read on for the full Josh cartoon below.
I know that many of you have experienced censorship of climate information at some level. Whether it is on Facebook, Twitter, WordPress, YouTube, Google search, or other platforms, there has been an almost a universal effort to reduce what our Mann-inspired Climate Information Overlords deem “misinfomation.” In some cases, such things are warranted, as there is some climate information that is held up by climate skeptics that is in fact, wrong. I think we do a pretty good job here at WUWT of weeding that out and we work hard to present information that is factually accurate – even though it is often disagreed with.
Unfortunately, there has sprung up a plethora of so called “fact-checkers” in the past couple of years who believe they are on a mission to “save” the planet. In almost all cases, they suffer from an inflated sense of self-importance bolstered by what is called “noble cause corruption.”
From that WUWT essay: Stephen Schneider recognized the dilemma for scientists and was quoted in Discover Magazine (October 1989 vol. 10 no.10):
“On the one hand, as scientists we are ethically bound to the scientific method, in effect promising to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but – which means that we must include all the doubts, the caveats, the ifs, ands, and buts.
On the other hand, we are not just scientists but human beings as well. And like most people we’d like to see the world a better place, which in this context translates into our working to reduce the risk of potentially disastrous climatic change. To do that we need to get some broad-based support, to capture the public’s imagination. That, of course, entails getting loads of media coverage. So we have to offer up scary scenarios, make simplified, dramatic statements, and make little mention of any doubts we might have. This ‘double ethical bind’ we frequently find ourselves in cannot be solved by any formula. Each of us has to decide what the right balance is between being effective and being honest. I hope that means being both.”
Essentially, while the climate alarmists of the world deal in “scary scenarios,” such as the recent hype that the coming El Nino will push us past the “dangerous” 1.5°C tipping point, we point out that we’ve already experienced 1.5°C of warming, and the world didn’t roast, and we are still here.
Climate alarmist claims are almost always driven by questionable climate model projections, such as the now overheated and discredited RCP8.5. Climate skeptics deal in the doubts, the caveats, the ifs, ands, and buts – but we are excoriated for doing so. A good example is my survey of NOAA stations last year, where I found that 96% of them don’t meet NOAA’s own published standards for station siting, leading to a warm bias in temperature. Standards are in place for a reason. Yet, despite that, I was told in no uncertain terms by Polifact that none of this matters, and that climate scientists are “handling it.” Newsflash: they aren’t. Of course just like Zack, neophyte climate “expert” Madison Czopek didn’t want to hear the facts we presented, deferring instead to opinions.
Despite our best efforts to inform the world of the the doubts, the caveats, the ifs, ands, and buts, we are labeled pejoratively as Exxon funded “climate deniers” when in fact we at WUWT don’t (and never have) received a dime from Exxon, Koch, Texaco, BP, etc. It’s just a convenient fantasy to apply a derogatory label so that low-information activists can slime us. We don’t deny the climate is changing – not at all, we simply don’t feel it is a crisis, and that the methods, science, and conclusions that are being used to totally rework global energy policy in chasing unobtainable goals such as “net zero” is an overwrought, overzealous, and overhyped viewpoint that does more harm than good.
Enter Climate Regime Censorship Enforcers Zach Fishman and NewsGuard.
NewsGuard assigned their new hire Zack Fishman, who was fresh out of “climate journalism finishing school” to perform an evaluation and rating.
I went through an “evaluation” last year with Zach to determine the rating. Looking at the their process then, and thinking “well, maybe it isn’t biased,” I received and considered a number of questions, many of which had nothing to to do with content or accuracy. Charles’s response at the time was to “tell him to [sanitized] himself.” In retrospect, I probably should have followed Charles’s advice.
The result? Their own rules about platforms were simply ignored, which indicated to me that there was an agenda from higher ups; Zack admitted as much in the email exchange then. Needless to say, WUWT received a terrible rating. The same thing occurred at The Heartland Institute, where I am a Senior Fellow for Environment and Climate.
NewsGuard is a Pentagon funded member of the US Government’s Censorship Industrial Complex.
Embedded in the post was a picture of a nearly $750,000 award from the Department of Defense to NewsGuard, an organization the independent journalists characterized as a “government-funded” entity implicated in the Censorship Complex.https://thefederalist.com/2023/03/13/newsguard-claims-not-to-be-government-funded-but-a-750k-grant-suggests-otherwise/
They work to strengthen and enhance government approved narratives and work to suppress, starve, and deplatform independent thinkers and publishers.
In response to Republican Rep. Matt Gaetz’s question — “Who is NewsGuard?” — Shellenberger explained: “Both the Global Disinformation Index and NewsGuard are U.S. government-funded entities who are working to drive advertisers’ revenue away from disfavored publications and towards the ones they favor.”https://thefederalist.com/2023/03/13/newsguard-claims-not-to-be-government-funded-but-a-750k-grant-suggests-otherwise/
In addition to attacking revenue and deplatforming, NewsGuard works with the ideologically captured teachers’ unions and school system to block, discredit, and censor wrongthink and thoughtcrime.
AFT Partners with NewsGuard to Combat Misinformation Online
National Partnership Will Roll Out Crucial News Literacy Tool to Tens of Millions of US Students and Families
Tuesday, January 25, 2022
WASHINGTON—The American Federation of Teachers has launched a national partnership with a leading anti-misinformation tool NewsGuard to protect and champion legitimate journalism and fact-based reporting and to help educators and their students navigate a sea of online disinformation.
Under the terms of the pathbreaking licensing agreement, coinciding with National News Literacy Week, the AFT’s 1.7 million members, tens of millions of kids they teach, and their families, can now receive free, real-time “traffic light” news ratings and detailed “Nutrition Label” reviews, via a licensed copy of NewsGuard’s browser extension, whenever they search the web for news and information.https://www.aft.org/press-release/aft-partners-newsguard-combat-misinformation-online
This control of information into schools by NewsGuard is partly the reason I wrote Climate at a Glance for Teachers and Students: Facts on 30 Prominent Climate Topics last year (get a free digital PDF copy here.)
This year, I received a fresh set of questions from Zack as did The Heartland Institute. The Heartland Institute decided not to waste any time on Zach again. After seeing how it all went down last year, I came to the same conclusion; interacting with Zack and NewsGuard is a pointless exercise in futility. From my own observations, the process goes like this:
- You publish something based on data, observations, etc. You back it up with citations. Or you report on someone having an opinion (read on).
- Zack/NewsGuard flags it, because it doesn’t agree with the climate alarmism agenda. They also ignore everything else on your website that they haven’t flagged, choosing to rate your website based on only the items they choose.
- Zack/NewsGuard sends questions so that they can give the appearance of fairness and transparency.
- Zack/NewsGuard cites someone else (a selected “expert”) who claims that none of that matters or that you’ve “misinterpreted.”
- Zack/NewsGuard believes the other person, so you’re wrong and you will get a bad score.
- Bad score equals Internet invisibility. Earth is saved!
It’s the same song and dance we’ve witnessed being used to smack down peer reviewed papers that show any skeptical content. In my opinion, the NewsGuard process is rigged from the start because they pick and rate only the content they flag and ask about, but ignore everything else you’ve published.
Here is a perfect example of zeroing in on a flagged item. One of the questions Zack sent this year was about a statement in a video interview by Dr. Richard Lindzen.
We reported on a video interview, and in the interview a world-class atmospheric physicist presents an opinion, one backed by experience and his knowledge, yet somehow fresh out of college twenty-something Zack, with not even a fraction of the knowledge and experience that Lindzen has, expects us to correct Lindzen in our publication of the interview?
Additionally, Zack couldn’t even get his argument right. Lindzen was talking about the human caused percentage of warming since 1960, while Zack countered with complete rises from the past back to 1850. It was an exceptional example of Zack proselytizing but not actually fact checking. Zack would do well to study this reference post before he asks questions again.
Unlike Zack, at least Dr. Lindzen has done the actual science, using REAL-WORLD OBSERVATIONS instead of models to determine climate sensitivity, and thus shed light on the the likely human contribution to warming:
Richard S. Lindzen and Yong-Sang Choi, “On the Observational Determination of
Climate Sensitivity and Its Implications,” Asia-Pacific Journal of Atmospheric Science,
article number 377, August 28, 2011, doi:10.1007/s13143-011-0023-x, https://link.
The hubris on display from Zack is almost Mannian in its largesse. Counter opinions, even by respected atmospheric scientists with publications aren’t allowed. They must be destroyed.
So tell me Zach, when the IPCC and the collective climate science community can’t even agree on the most basic premise, climate sensitivity – the response via temperature of a doubling of CO2 in the atmosphere, what makes you or even the IPCC more likely to have a “correct” opinion than Dr. Lindzen? Hell, they can’t even agree on climate sensitivity for the latest CMIP6 model predictions:
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. Climate science would not stand up to scrutiny in a court of law. If climate science were held to the same standards as forensic science, it might, but the emphasis on projections with such a wide range of climate sensitivities would surely make real legal determinations of our actual risk impossible. So much for “settled” science and “correct” opinion.
It isn’t just hubris with Zack and NewsGuard, it is, in my opinion, “Noble Cause Corruption” at its finest. But more specifically, the idea behind NewsGuard is to suppress alternate viewpoints and information they don’t agree with. Their goal is to make that information invisible, essentially performing a modern-day digital book burning.
If you’ve ever read the Ray Bradbury book, or seen the movie about Fahrenheit 451, you’ll see the parallels between what NewsGuard is doing and Fahrenheit 451.
From the Wikipedia description:
Fahrenheit 451 is a 1953 dystopian novel by American writer Ray Bradbury. It presents an American society where books have been personified and outlawed and “firemen” burn any that are found. The novel follows Guy Montag, a fireman who becomes disillusioned with his role of censoring literature and destroying knowledge, eventually quitting his job and committing himself to the preservation of literary and cultural writings.
For those unfamiliar, here is a short excerpt from the 1966 movie, which seems to be set in Britain:
I pity Zack, whose role as “climate information destroyer” via his application of NewsGuard ratings leading to Internet invisibility, makes him in my opinion, an enabler of modern-day digital book burning.
Josh helped me sum it all up:
Perhaps someday, Zack will come to his senses, and realize, like Guy Montag did, that being a party to censoring literature and destroying knowledge is the wrong side of history to be on.
Of course, few people in the NewsGuard sphere of censored information will see this rebuttal, because they aren’t allowed to make up their own minds, and have to be shielded from inconvenient facts that run counter to the approved narrative.
For fun, fast forward to 12:18 and see Dave Rubin take on NewsGuard, specifically the climate “activist rat” (per Dave Rubin), who is the subject of this post, Zack Fishman.