Under Rupert Murdoch’s stewardship, The Wall Street Journal op-ed section (although not necessarily its primary reporting) has slid from a mercantilist-conservative newspaper to an insane right-wing pamphlet flecked with the froth of ranting imbeciles. I nearly wrote about this back in June when the increasingly aggravating Arts and Letters Daily recommended a WSJ op-ed piece, by James Kieran, fertilised to the brim with magic bulldust.
Now I have nothing against the WSJ printing or Arts and Letters Daily recommending well-researched and argued articles that express doubt in current global warming models, but this piece was by any reasonable definition, an utter load of cobblers. Kieran states that global warming is the scientific equivalent of the “yellow journalism” that epitomised the editorial policies of Hearst’s shock-and-bile tabloids of the 1920s and 1930s.
Just as it is far easier to publish stories without verifying the sources; so is it much more convenient to practice yellow science than the real thing.
Now, what made me laugh at this accusation was that it was appeared in an op-ed that contains not a single verified source. Not one. Not a single reference. Not a single named source. Not a damn thing. (And besides, Kieran is simply wrong. I would challenge him—or anyone else—to find a single published scientific research paper on climate change that lists fewer than twenty references.) Not that it stops Kieran from, well, pulling stuff out of his own fundament.
Hearst made only a fraction of his estimated $140 million in net worth from yellow journalism. Global warming, on the other hand, has provided an estimated $50 billion in research grants to those willing to practice yellow science.
Note the bizarre comparison (Hearst’s personal profits from journalism in presumably 1920-1930 dollars compared to an “estimated” number of research grants over an unspecified time frame and distributed to an unspecified number of researchers; it’s the sort of comparison that only makes sense if you have a severe cognitive deficit—although it would explain the number of climate scientists who, like Hearst’s descendants, have appeared on the Forbes 400 List). And where exactly does he get the $50 billion from? Who knows? He’s not telling. This is, by his own definition, “irreparably disgraced journalism” and the sort of thing that has meant “[j]ournalists have lost the respectability of their profession, and the public has lost real journalism.” Apparently Kieran’s rule of yellow journalism is non-recursive.
Thus it was clear to me that the WSJ had lost all semblance of self-respect when it published Kieran’s superhuman chutzpah; now it turns out that the WSJ has not just lost its self-respect but its sanity. The WSJ this week published an editorial about the new Batman movie and how the heroic character of Batman demonstrates all the exemplary moral qualities of…you won’t believe this, so take a deep breath now… President George W. Bush. Here’s a taste:
Why is it then that left-wingers feel free to make their films direct and realistic, whereas Hollywood conservatives have to put on a mask in order to speak what they know to be the truth? Why is it, indeed, that the conservative values that power our defense — values like morality, faith, self-sacrifice and the nobility of fighting for the right — only appear in fantasy or comic-inspired films like “300,” “Lord of the Rings,” “Narnia,” “Spiderman 3″ and now “The Dark Knight”?
That’s right, folks, the editorial committee of the Wall Street Journal thinks that Spartan morality (like, you know, leaving weak babies outside overnight to die of exposure) is a laudable conservative value. It also strikes me that self-sacrifice has hardly been a defining feature of the Bush administration. Sacrificing soldiers and prisoners and foreigners, sure, but self-sacrifice? That’s for chumps, boy. Just ask Scooter Libby.
I can’t write this up any better than Michael Cohen did, so please follow the link for Cohen’s glorious and oft-times hilarious takedown. However, I cannot resist quoting this:
You know what’s odd about this, I had this crazy, wacky, left-wing notion that we prosecute violent soldiers and cruel interrogators because they are . . . you know, violent and cruel. But reading the WSJ has diabused me of this notion; in fact I hate these cruel and violent people to cover up for some terrible inadequacy in my own life, like my silly notion that people should abide by the rule of law and treat everyone with respect and dignity. There it is again, the left wing media brainwashing me again . . . damn you Phil Donahue!