For a small display of the liberal arrogance that takes place inside news rooms across America, see the editor of the Arizona Daily Sun in Flagstaff, Arizona. Editor Randy Wilson wrote last Sunday that global warming “deniers” don’t deserve space in the newspaper. The headline was “It’s not censorship by ignoring those denying climate change.”
“When is a scientific question settled to the point that entertaining further debate becomes not only a waste of precious newsprint but also a diversion from finding a solution to the problems raised by the answer to the question?” The “deniers” are like people who denied smoking causes cancer.
To dispute the science as either fundamentally flawed or a vast conspiracy among climate scientists to provide job security until their retirement simply hasn’t withstood scrutiny. There does seem room to debate the extreme predictions by some scientists, but the basic idea that human activities are accelerating the pace of global warming in an unsustainable way enjoys the same scientific consensus as the finding that smoking causes cancer.
A local newspaper, however, needs to reflect its community in the conversations it hosts. But in the case of Flagstaff, a university town with an environmental IQ far above average, there aren’t many climate change deniers willing to stick their heads up and take the inevitable flak. Yes, journalism is supposed to give voice to the powerless, but that’s not the same as allowing a small minority to filibuster what is arguably the most pressing problem on the planet. Unlike defeating a personal vice, tackling climate change will take collective, global action that deniers don’t seem willing to contemplate, much less engage.