Issues & Insights

California, The Cradle Of Climate Jingoism


I&I Editorial

If the Los Angeles Times, with a daily circulation of more than 650,000, isn’t the most influential newspaper west of the Mississippi, then it’s 1B. That’s why it’s doubly dangerous that the Times editorial board has recently published a three-part series on climate change, the final installment claiming without supporting evidence that “surviving climate change means an end to burning fossil fuels.” 

“Prepare yourself,” say the editorial writers, “for sacrifices.” Readers are warned that transitioning away from fossil fuels “will require more than just market forces.” One can almost sense days after it was written that whoever typed “we’ll need more government intervention,” derived great pleasure from the experience. 

Of course the Times has every right, including the granddadddy First Amendment right, to publish whatever it wishes.

But others have the same right to be critical of what it publishes, even calling it dangerous, if that’s how they see it.

The rush to ban fossil fuels in California is already doing well on its own without the Times hectoring the public. Sacramento’s commandment that the state’s entire electrical infrastructure must be powered by renewable sources only by 2045 is almost without opposition. Eventually, and happily for many, automobiles that burn gasoline and diesel fuel will be banned in the state.

The danger in the Times’ campaign for “a radical change, as quickly as possible, in the way the world produces and consumes energy,” and its insistence that “shifts in employment” are required of us all, as are “changes in consumer habits” — Californians must drive less, cram themselves into buses, reduce air conditioner use, and pay more for basic goods — is in the near total absence of dissenting voices from the media in the global warming debate. The Times is marching in time with nearly every major daily in the country. 

Even worse, we live in an era and in an environment that is increasingly shutting down those who challenge the narrative. Late last year, “Meet The Press” host Chuck Todd announced that the show was no longer “going to debate climate change, the existence of it. … We’re not going to give time to climate deniers,” he said, because “the science is settled, even if political opinion is not.”

More recently, a group aligned with New York Democratic Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and socialist Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont has publicly said the “idea of equating climate deniers with scientific experts is a dangerous practice” and, according to PJ Media “condemned the media for pursuing ‘objectivity’ by giving air time to ‘climate deniers.’”

Apparently the rant was inspired by a report in Nature Communications which, says Newsweek, found that “the U.S. media gives climate change deniers too much prominence.”

Is it healthy for the powerful to try to silence a conflicting view? What if the alarmists are wrong, yet there is no counter to the demands of enacting economic and energy policies we might regret? Those who would gag those who don’t think like them need to reconsider their absolutist position.

Al Gore popularized the phrase “the science is settled,” used by Todd and many others, to avoid debate, as well as eliminate opposition to the enactment of legislation he and the alarmist crowd favor. But science is never settled. Nor does it operate on consensus, overwhelming or otherwise. How many times does this have to be said?

The Times editorial board does little more than confirm California is the cradle of climate jingoism. William Randolph Hearst never owned the newspaper, but it’s clear it’s learned from him, advancing a media campaign that is determined to furnish both the exaggerated pictures and a war on an imagined enemy.

Written by J. Frank Bullitt

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Issues & Insights is a new site formed by the seasoned journalists behind the legendary IBD Editorials page. Our goal is to bring our decades of combined journalism experience to help readers understand the top issues of the day. We’re doing this on a voluntary basis, because we believe the nation needs the kind of cogent, rational, data-driven, fact-based commentary that we can provide. 

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