Times Watch Quotes of Note: Reporter-Activist Justin Gillis's Climate Solution: Blind Panic

Reporter-Activist Justin Gillis's Climate Solution: Blind Panic

"Among the many climate skeptics who plaster the Internet with their writings, hardly any have serious credentials in the physics of the atmosphere. But a handful of contrarian scientists do. The most influential is Dr. Lindzen....Today, most mainstream researchers consider Dr. Lindzen’s theory discredited....But mainstream scientists counter that society’s impulse to wait only heightens the risks. Ultimately, as the climate continues warming and more data accumulate, it will become obvious how clouds are reacting. But that could take decades, scientists say, and if the answer turns out to be that catastrophe looms, it would most likely be too late. By then, they say, the atmosphere would contain so much carbon dioxide as to make a substantial warming inevitable, and the gas would not return to a normal level for thousands of years." – Climate journalist and proud activist Justin Gillis, May 1.

"If one is covering evolution these days, one can afford to ignore the anti-evolutionists most of the time because they are completely scientifically discredited and, more importantly, sort of spent as a social force. Unfortunately, we just are not at that point with climate science. However discredited the scientific case questioning climate science may be, it is influencing half the Congress and a substantial fraction of the population. So this is almost like if you’d been in Tennessee in 1925 getting ready to cover the Scopes Monkey Trial. The anti-evolutionists were already scientifically discredited by then, but as a journalist, you could not have avoided quoting them in order to put the whole thing in its political context. I’m sad to say that in 2012, that’s still where we are with climate science." – Justin Gillis in an April 2 interview with The Columbia Journalism Review.

"Scientists may hesitate to link some of the weather extremes of recent years to global warming -- but the public, it seems, is already there....Read together, the polls suggest that direct experience of erratic weather may be convincing some people that the problem is no longer just a vague and distant threat....A large majority of climate scientists say the climate is shifting in ways that could cause serious impacts, and they cite the human release of greenhouse gases as a principal cause. But a tiny, vocal minority of researchers contests that view, and has seemed in the last few years to be winning the battle of public opinion despite slim scientific evidence for their position." – Justin Gillis, April 18.


Public Editor Confesses: Times "Basked a bit in the Warm Glow of Mr. Obama’s Election"

"Many critics view The Times as constitutionally unable to address the election in an unbiased fashion. Like a lot of America, it basked a bit in the warm glow of Mr. Obama’s election in 2008. The company published a book about the country’s first African-American president, 'Obama: The Historic Journey.' The Times also published a lengthy portrait of him in its Times Topics section on NYTimes.com, yet there’s nothing of the kind about George W. Bush or his father....The warm afterglow of Mr. Obama’s election, the collateral effects of liberal-minded feature writers -- these can be overcome by hard-nosed, unbiased political reporting now." – Public Editor Arthur Brisbane, April 22.



"In the days following the death of Mr. Breitbart, many of his admirers adopted a meme of 'I am Breitbart,' and vowed to continue his work. But even though his Web site, run by his business partner and lifelong friend Larry Solov, is fully staffed and unveiled a redesign after his death, there could be no real replacement. For good or ill (and most would say ill), no one did it like Mr. Breitbart." – Media reporter David Carr, April 15. Carr later apologized on Twitter.


Pro-Illegal Immigration Opinionizing in the News Section

"The Supreme Court is set to hear arguments next week challenging the most controversial sections of an Arizona immigration law, known as SB 1070, which seeks to push illegal immigrants out of the state by making it hard for them to go about their lives and earn a living. Lower courts have prevented many of the most controversial provisions from taking effect, but that has not stopped a chill from seeping into the bones of the state’s immigrants." – Fernanda Santos, April 19.


Dowd Still Replaying SCOTUS Theft of 2000 Election for Bush

"In 2000, the Republican majority put aside its professed disdain of judicial activism and helped to purloin the election for W., who went on to heedlessly invade Iraq and callously ignore Katrina....Just as in the Senate’s shameful Anita Hill-Clarence Thomas hearings, the liberals on the court focus on process and the conservatives focus on results. John Roberts Jr.’s benign beige facade is deceiving; he’s a crimson partisan, simply more cloaked than the ideologically rigid and often venomous Scalia. Just as Scalia voted to bypass that little thing called democracy and crown W. president, so he expressed ennui at the idea that, even if parts of the health care law are struck down, some provisions could be saved....Inexplicably mute 20 years after he lied his way onto the court, Clarence Thomas didn’t ask a single question during oral arguments for one of the biggest cases in the court’s history." – Columnist Maureen Dowd, April 4.


Denial Grows in Greenhouse

"Journalistic convention requires that when there are two identifiable sides to a story, each side gets its say, in neutral fashion, without the writer’s thumb on the scale. This rule presents a challenge when one side of a controversy obviously lacks merit. But mainstream journalism has learned to navigate those challenges, choosing evolution over 'intelligent design,' for example, and treating climate change naysayers as cranks....it’s perhaps not surprising that just about half the public apparently believes that the Affordable Care Act’s individual mandate is unconstitutional. Free of convention, and fresh from reading the main briefs in the case to be argued before the Supreme Court next week, I’m here to tell you: that belief is simply wrong. The constitutional challenge to the law’s requirement for people to buy health insurance -- specifically, the argument that the mandate exceeds Congress’s power under the Commerce Clause -- is rhetorically powerful but analytically so weak that it dissolves on close inspection. There’s just no there there." – Former SCOTUS reporter Linda Greenhouse in her online column March 21. The following week the administration's pro-Obama-care position was annihilated during argument.

"Nothing in the Supreme Court arguments in the health care case last week, or in the subsequent commentary, has changed my opinion that this is an easy case. It’s the court that made it look hard. I don’t mean the torrent of wisecracks at the government lawyers’ expense from Justice Antonin Scalia, who despite his clownish behavior in channeling the Tea Party from the bench is surely smart enough to know the difference between broccoli and health care." – Greenhouse in her online column April 4, after the Supreme Court arguments proved disastrous for Obama-care.

“I agree with many constitutional scholars who think, actually, that the statute is going to be upheld, because there really isn’t much of an argument on the other side....It’s hard to articulate why this Supreme Court, given the precedents that exist that support the power of Congress over interstate commerce, how the Court would explain striking down this statute.” – Former Supreme Court reporter Linda Greenhouse on CBS This Morning, April 7.


Times Runs "Unfounded Blog Report" Against Republican

"[South Carolina Gov. Nikki] Haley, who has lived with an unfounded blog report of marital infidelity since before she took office..." – Media reporter Jeremy Peters, April 10.


"Scandal Rattles Politics In South Carolina, Again." – Headline from the May 26, 2010 edition of the Times.


GOP Actions Validate Dems' "War Against Women" Claims

MSNBC Host Alex Wagner: "The U.S. Senate is preparing to vote on re-authorizing the Violence Against Women Act. This week Florida Gov. Rick Scott has vetoed more than a million dollars in aid for [sic] intended rape victims. Meanwhile a Missouri candidate for Senate says she's never heard of the bill. Jodi, Violence Against Women, this is the season, the season, the year of the woman, we keep saying that, but I think it actually is. Rick Scott, it's sexual assault awareness month in Florida. Perhaps not the best timing to kill 1.5 million dollars in aid to rape crisis centers."

Jodi Kantor: "Well I was, what's amazing about those stories is that it sort of seems like a Democratic strategist's dream, right? Like they were sitting in a room with a chalkboard and said, 'What scenario could we concoct to prove that there really is a Republican war against women?' These would be two great items in support of that argument." – April 22 edition of MSNBC's NOW with Alex Wagner.

Not Even Trying to Hide Hostility Toward Pro-Lifers

"More slickly packaged than most faith-based fare, 'October Baby' gussies up its anti-abortion message with gauzy cinematography and more emo music than an entire season of 'Grey’s Anatomy.' But not even a dewy heroine and a youth-friendly vibe can disguise the essential ugliness at its core: like the bloodied placards brandished by demonstrators outside women’s health clinics, the film communicates in the language of guilt and fear....“Hate the crime, not the criminal,” a friendly police officer advises Hannah. Except that abortion is not a crime, no matter how fervently some people continue to wish that it were. " – Jeannette Catsoulis in her March 23 review of the pro-life film "October Baby."


A.O. Scott, Movie Critic And Climate Change Expert

"There is also a noisy subculture of obfuscation and denial that has pulled an already contentious conversation about climate change and the environment down into the fever swamp of American ideological animus. It’s a hoax! It’s a liberal conspiracy! It’s a scheme on the part of greedy scientists and power-hungry international organizations to shame us out of our S.U.V.’s and our plastic grocery bags! In other parts of the world, though, the issue has a lethal, terrifying urgency." – Movie critic A.O. Scott, March 28 reviewing "The Island President," a documentary about "climate change" and the danger it supposedly poses to the island nation of Maldives.

Gail Collins to Gun Rights Supporters: We Don't Want Your Kind Here

"You would think all of this would cause states to stop and rethink. But no. And, personally, I’m worn down from arguing. Florida, follow your own star. Arizona, arm your kindergarteners. Just stop trying to impose your values on places where the thinking is dramatically different. Really, just leave us alone. If you don’t like our rules, don’t come here. Is that too much to ask?" – Columnist Gail Collins, March 29.


Gail Collins, Benighted Liberal in La-La-La-Land

Gail Collins: "David, I am so worried about how this is going to play out that I can’t even enjoy a good basketball metaphor. I can’t believe this might be overturned. How can this law not be constitutional? The other alternatives are forcing taxpayers to cover the cost of the care in emergency rooms for people who don’t want to pay for their insurance, even if they can, or letting human beings just die on the side of the road. I can’t believe fiscal conservatives think either of those options is a good idea.Really, I have my hands over my ears. Not listening." – Columnist Gail Collins during her March 28 online Q&A with fellow columnist David Brooks.

"God's Rottweiler" Heads Disgraced Catholic Church

"Striking the tone that once earned him the nickname 'God’s Rottweiler,' Pope Benedict XVI in a stern Holy Thursday homily denounced “disobedience” in the Roman Catholic Church, chastising priests who sought the ordination of women and the abolition of priestly celibacy....While there was nothing new in the contents of Benedict’s message, it was one of the strongest -- and most direct -- speeches of a seven-year-old reign that has more often been dominated by a sexual abuse scandal, repeated tangles with other faiths and a Vatican hierarchy in disarray." – Rome bureau chief Rachel Donadio, April 6.