The Mainstream Media Disparages Scientific Method While Attacking Scientists

November 3, 2020 Updated: November 5, 2020


In recent weeks, multiple left-leaning mainstream media outlets have attacked moves by the Trump administration to shore up science at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

For example, The New York Times published an article accusing President Donald Trump of fighting “against climate science,” titled “As Election Nears, Trump Makes a Final Push Against Climate Science.” The Washington Post and CNN ran similarly derisive and misleading articles.

What outraged the NY Times, the Post, CNN, and others is the fact that the Trump administration dared to appoint research meteorologist Ryan Maue as chief scientist at NOAA. In addition, shortly before Maue’s appointment, Trump asked David Legates, former state climatologist for Delaware, to serve as deputy assistant secretary of commerce for observation and prediction at NOAA.

A Google scholar search of Maue’s publications shows he is well-qualified for the position of NOAA chief scientist. Maue has authored or co-authored more than 30 peer-reviewed articles discussing climate change. Maue has also served as a meteorologist at WeatherBELL Analytics, a widely used weather forecasting service. Much of Maue’s research presents real-world data to demonstrate that human-induced climate change isn’t causing more powerful and more frequent hurricanes.

A Google scholar search of Legates’s record shows he has authored or co-authored 140 peer-reviewed climate-change-related articles. The topics of Legates’s papers range from the Earth’s climate sensitivity as shown by actual measurements, the validity of climate models, drought and flood patterns across the United States, and the impact of warming on polar bear populations.

Once again, the objective record shows Legates is well-qualified to direct and inform government research on climate-related matters.

Maue and Legates should be welcomed by anyone who wants science to not be corrupted by politics. As a colleague of mine pointed out in an article responding to an NPR hit piece on Legates: “The very definition of science, in its most-basic sense from The Enlightenment to 2020, is ‘questioning the basic tenets’ of current assumptions. [Legates has] examined the data for many, many years, and has not seen persuasive evidence that humans are the chief drivers of climate change.”

NOAA is charged with assembling the National Climate Assessment every four years. The report is supposed to present objective data concerning the causes and consequences of climate change. Rather than being objective, NOAA’s 2018 report referenced the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC) worst-case scenario to claim climate change poses an imminent and dire threat to the United States. The IPCC has disavowed its worst-case scenario, admitting it has only a 3 percent chance of becoming a reality.

NOAA’s Climate Assessment ignored hundreds of unalarming peer-reviewed articles and books published by dozens of prominent researchers including, for example, physicists Will HapperRichard LindzenWillie Soon, and atmospheric scientists John ChristyPat Michaels, and Roy Spencer.

These scientists, and many others, have published research showing that the human impact on global temperatures is and will be, at most, minimal. According to these scholars, natural factors, such as cloud formation, solar activity, and large-scale ocean circulation patterns are the dominant drivers of climate shifts. Other studies have concluded, based on measurable data, that the modest climate change the Earth has so far experienced has been beneficial. Research also indicates a continued modest increase in temperatures is highly unlikely to result in extreme weather changes.

NOAA has also previously ignored findings of the 14 peer-reviewed volumes produced by the Nongovernmental International Panel on Climate Change (NIPCC). In particular, NIPCC’s Climate Change Reconsidered series presents a comprehensive literature review of the peer-reviewed evidence indicating human influence on climate is minimal and that climate change isn’t catastrophic. NIPCC’s reports are written and reviewed by hundreds of researchers, yet the past political leadership of NOAA has ignored them and the thousands of peer-reviewed papers they reference.

I’m not surprised that liberal mainstream media outlets have attacked the Trump administration’s attempts to defend sound science from doctrinaire views of climate change. Trump’s previous efforts to bring transparency to scientific research and to prevent corruption in the funding process for scientific research have been similarly critiqued by climate alarmists. Left-leaning mainstream media outlets, academics who’ve learned to manipulate the current closed system, and political partisans who use the cloak of “following the science” to promote their personal political agendas reject transparency and support self-dealing.

As the research by Legates, Maue, and hundreds of other scientists makes clear, there is an active scientific debate concerning the causes, extent, and consequences of climate change. Trump’s appointments of Legates and Maue may bring justified and necessary balance to federal reports on the state of climate science.

H. Sterling Burnett, Ph.D., is a senior fellow on energy and the environment at The Heartland Institute, a nonpartisan, nonprofit research center headquartered in Arlington Heights, Ill.

Views expressed in this article are the opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Epoch Times.