Defending Intolerance on Global Warming

In defending Weather Channel "climate expert" Heidi Cullen's intolerance of opposing views, the Times embraces the idea of man-made global warming as an undeniable fact.

In contrast to Tierney's Tuesday piece,a story less favorable to sound sciencecame on Monday -Maria Aspan's Business Day profile of Weather Channel "climate expert" Heidi Cullen, who last December made waves by claiming that anyone who doesn't believe in global warming shouldn't be credentialed as a meteorologist ("Everybody Talks About the Weather; All of a Sudden, It's Controversial").

"The lightning rod for controversy, so to speak, is Heidi Cullen, the network's resident climate expert.

"In December, she raised the ire of Fox News and others by writing on her blog that the American Meteorological Society should not give its 'seal of approval' to any meteorologist who 'can't speak to the fundamental science of climate change.' (There are now more than 1,700 comments on that one post.)"

Aspan cast Cullen as brave: "Dr. Cullen, a tiny woman who speaks with conviction, said she believed that people were 'finally seeing climate connected to weather,' but that a lot of information still needs to be disseminated. 'If you turn on the local forecast, you wouldn't necessarily know that global warming exists,' she said....Far from being intimidated by the political backlash, Dr. Cullen and executives at the channel say they have embraced the issue of global warming. Dr. Cullen is host of the weekly show 'Forecast Earth,' formerly named 'The Climate Code' where she has entertained such guests as former Vice President Al Gore. She also appears on the channel's other programming with segments on hybrid taxicabs in New York City and the development of more fuel-efficient aircraft.

"The network's other programs have also directly engaged the elephant in the room - or, in this case, the polar bear on the melting ice cap: a recent anniversary roundup of 'The 100 Biggest Weather Moments' listed global warming as No. 1. And the network is training its meteorologists so that they can discuss long-term trends as well as five-day forecasts....Recent developments, from the strong scientific consensus about global warming to President Bush's proposal last week to set goals for cutting global emissions, seem to have made the network's embrace of the topic less risky and more closely tied to its service-journalism mission."