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Request for mainstream articles on climate

Posted on 10 June 2010 by John Cook

I have a favour to ask of Skeptical Science readers. I've been collecting climate articles and blog posts for years now. Of late, I've been particularly interested in mainstream media articles on climate. In order to maintain a more comprehensive database, I have a simple request - whenever you read an article in an online newspaper or magazine (basically, any mainstream publication that's on the web), it would be great if you could submit it to the Skeptical Science database. The article can be skeptic, pro-AGW or neutral - the only requirement is that it addresses climate science. In particular, it needs to touch on any of the skeptic arguments listed in the dropdowns:

So as you browse climate articles (and I know you do, otherwise you wouldn't be at this website), please spare a moment to drop by our submission form and add the article. Soon the process will be much quicker and easier as the boffins at Shine Technologies (creators of the iPhone app) are currently working on a Firefox plugin that will let you submit URLs directly from webpages as you browse. Very exciting stuff, I can't wait to start using it! In the meantime, we'll have to muddle along with a good ol' fashion HTML submission form.

To sweeten the deal, I've whipped up a Hall of Fame page listing the Skeptical Science users who've submitted the most links so far. Here's a screenshot of the top ten users at the moment of posting (I hope to see this change dramatically in the near future):


Lastly, Albatross recently posted a few useful links to YouTube movies on ocean acidification. As I'm always looking for good resources to add to the directory of global warming links, I added 'YouTube' as a type of link and added both pages to the list of pages on ocean acidification. Maybe down the track, I'll create a summary page of YouTube movies on climate.

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Comments 1 to 19:

  1. Hi, Ive gotta say this is a really good website, About submitting stuff to the Skeptical Science database. You ask for a date. That is the date of the original article not the date submitted to the database right? It might also be helpful if you remind us that it is using american notation (I think) i.e YYYY/MM/DD. I figured that out but you know the old saying about the british and the americans - separated by a common language:-) Sometimes it's not easy to define the bias. Ive submitted three that I think are skeptical of AGW but you might disagree with that assessment. I would suggest a fourth category of bias - "mixed" - as there is a lot of stuff that pretends to be fair but is really undermining AGW rather than directly attacking it. Particularly Tom Fielden of the BBC! Ive added you to my blogroll on my own blog Salutations and well done Skeptical Science
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    Response: The date should be the date of the original article, not the date of submission. Good point re the YYYY/MM/DD - I'll add some clarifying text. I guess if an article is hard to categorize, label it neutral.
  2. Another question to guide our efforts - should we be carefully checking to make sure nobody else has submitted the same article? Wire service (Reuters, AP, UPI, et cetera) pieces often get printed in hundreds of different papers with slightly different titles. Likewise, as hengistmcstone notes above, some people put articles in by the date they were published and others by the date on which they are adding them. Thus, it often isn't easy to determine whether an article is already listed or not. Are duplicates ok or a major hassle? Also, I can never find the link to the page listing all the recently submitted articles. I always end up having to search for the post that originally announced it and going from there. Making it more prominent (than wherever it is currently) might help to drive submissions. As might a 'new submission' link on that page itself.
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    Response: The submission form won't let you submit an article twice. What I do when submitting an article is I first just enter the URL then hit submit. If the URL has already been listed, it'll tell you. If not, it gives you the form validation error "you haven't entered the title, bias,etc" and I finish filling out the form. It's a bit clunky - what I'd like to do is program some JavaScript that checks for submitted URLs while you're filling out the form but haven't had time to do that yet.

    I will make the link to recent articles more prominent and good idea to add a link to the submission form. Good feedback, thanks!
  3. There is a remarkably comprehensive weekly list of climate-related articles presented and maintained at the site A Few Things Ill Considered, GW News. The list covers the popular press, specialist popular science media as well as academic literature. As well, the Knight Science Journalism Tracker is pretty good, includes technical critique of the technical quality of articles themselves, often identifying for instance when a piece is sourced purely from a press release or includes more in-depth effort. The tracker can be found here.
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  4. The date should be the publishing date of the article you're submitting. The system currently checks if the link you are submitting already exists in the database. I'm not sure if there are any other checks for the article already existing in the database.
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  5. Are you interested in 'opinion' pieces or just those articles that make at least some pretence at delving into the science? I feel there's some benefit from just building up a picture of where the balance of opinion in the media lies (hmmm, 'the media lies' - there's a phrase that trips off the finger tips), but perhaps this is not the place to do it?
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    Response: Both. Opinion pieces may not be grounded in science but published in mainstream media reach a broad audience and have wide influence. Good to keep track of these.
  6. What about articles in other languages than English?
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    Response: You're not the first to ask about this. I could add another field to the submission form allowing you to select language. Upside, broaden the database. Downside, complicate the submission form which is already bloating a little and also complicate the directory. The deciding factor would be whether enough people think there's a need for a multi-lingual database of global warming links so I'm open to comments on this.
  7. Pretty much like anything in english, this is an international site focused on a global problem. I don't think it's worth to expand the database endlessly including other languages; afterall we're all supposed to understand english and for sure there's no lack of media coverage in english. Other people willing to do something similar in different languages are welcome and we all could contribute there too. Putting everything together here is a mess.
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  8. Wow. I didn't realise I'd submitted so many links!
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  9. Whoa, CBDunkerson wasn't even in the top 10 when John posted this, and now they've tied me for 6th place? I'd better step up my game here!
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  10. Had to find one more to add (article about a new study which says biomass power releases more CO2 than coal and growing forests will reduce CO2) just so I could pass you Ned. :] On the other hand, I'm about to leave on a trip for a week so you'll have plenty of time to get ahead of me again.
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  11. I just submitted an article from The Register to John's database. I started following El Reg in the last century, for breaking news in the IT sector, and in the broader scientific arena as well. It has a huge audience. Some years ago one of their staff writers, Andrew Orlowski, started reporting on climate issues from a gleeful denier POV. I've tried to defend science in comments on most of their climate-related articles, but recently I've had comments rejected for no discernible reason. I'm soliciting SkepticalScience regulars to monitor climate-related articles on El Reg, and submit comments in defense of science to counter the denier hordes. As with other denier sites, it's a tough job, but it needs doing.
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  12. I don't really understand how to submit articles, but the Telegraph had a real sour-grapes article. Mostly, Gerald Warner predicts that the e-mail Review is about to be published, but he also makes snide, ignorant remarks about "hide the decline." Here is the article: He got his scoop from a blog, but the Review said they would report in the spring, and it is almost summer. I wrote my opinion here.
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    Response: I'd already added this one. Would be really great if you could submit articles - what is it about the submission form that you don't understand?
  13. CBDUnkerson writes: Had to find one more to add [...] just so I could pass you Ned. :] Ho ho, I just leapfrogged over you and Tom Dayton which I believe puts me solidly in 5th place. Unfortunately, I will be traveling much of the next ten days, so I fully expect others to seize these laurels in my absence.....
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  14. John, do you consider National Geographic magazine to be mainstream media? They've always been on the side of science. The current issue features the impact of AGW on Greenland.
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    Response: Yes, National Geographic is definitely mainstream.
  15. Here is an article by an old Russian scientist Andrei Kapitsa. He gives the denialist line in Russia and his views are promoted by Russian writers in foreign newspapers--such as India. Senator Inhofe cites Andrei Kapitsa. His father Pytor was very famous. His brother Sergei was a TV science personality. Here is another Inhofe adviser, Andrei Illarionov. He is with the Cato Institute and the Institute for Economic Analysis in Russia. He used to have a much better job, adviser to Putin, but supposedly had a falling out because he is such a free market, democracy loving, libertarian fellow. He has been a powerful opponent of the Kyoto Protocol. He also worked for Chernomyrdin, who was a boss of the oil and gas monopolies. If you read Kapitsa and Illarionov, you will see all the denialist themes.
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  16. Russian scientist Andrei Kapitsa claims that warming causes CO2, not that CO2 causes warming. Kapitsa says climate scientists put the cart before the horse. Isn’t he mistaking a feedback for the main event? He is from a prominent science family in Russia. Read about his father Pyotr and brother Sergei on Wikipedia for a start.
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  17. Pravda is mainstream. It is now a tabloid with girlie pictures and science articles. There is another Pravda that gives the communist line. This mainstream Pravda (11-1-09) has announced that the earth is cooling and is on the verge of another ice age: The earth is now on the brink of entering another Ice Age, according to a large and compelling body of evidence from within the field of climate science.... Sometimes the Russian media say the crafty climate scientists "hid" cooling. Sometimes the Russian media says the crafty climate scientists concealed that it is warming only a little. And anyway, warming will be a good thing because CO2 is plant food. You can hear the same claim in Congress or you can read it in the tabloid Pravda. Pick your poison.
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  18. When it comes to reporting on the vast underhanded "plots" of scientists, the 1953 Pravda is not so different than the modern tabloid version. Actually, Pravda is not so different from much of our own media and some politicians. That is what is so disturbing. After the CRU emails were published, the tabloid Pravda (30-11-2009) wrote an article titled "'Climategate' Exposes the Global Warming Hoax": Climategate’ is not an ordinary case of falsifying data by a few rogue scientists. The fraudulent theory of Global Warming has provided the basis for an international political movement which has the stated goal of completely restructuring the entire global economy based on that fraudulent theory. ‘Global Warming’ is a con game perpetrated by dishonest scientists and the government and corporate leaders who provide the corrupt scientists with opportunities for advancement. If we fail to stop the further politicization and institutionalization of the fraudulent theory of Global Warming, we will most certainly experience a future of ‘science’ controlled by government decree and of a world government that facilitates the operations of corporate industries while imposing severe restrictions and arbitrary taxes on the general public. That is a future which would fully justify resistance and rebellion among the international populations who will be the victims of this massive global fraud. If we fail to stop this fraudulent enterprise by legal means, we will certainly have a future of global oppression based on fraud, with its attendant institutionalized crimes, and whatever popular backlash might eventually result.
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  19. "whatever popular backlash might eventually result." Of course all those people struggling to live with the consequences of fires, floods and famines won't have the will to fight anyone. So no backlash from that quarter, I suppose.
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