Of exactly the kind that characterizes Romm’s own post today — and much of his work at Climate Progress.
In a nearly 2,000-word attack on Revkin’s coverage, Romm accuses the Times reporter of deliberately misquoting the wording of a scientific report in order “to make his case against Gore seem stronger.” That’s right: Romm charges the nation’s top climate reporter of committing a journalistic deadly sin. The problem is that Romm has no idea what he’s talking about. As Revkin points out in his response to Romm on the blog, he was quoting a direct comment to him from the authors of the report, not the report itself.
Romm’s posting focuses in part on a news analysis Revkin wrote yesterday comparing an almost wholly fallacious column by George Will to a speech the former Vice President gave recently to the American Association for the Advancement of Science. (For more, see this post by John Fleck, and my own at CEJournal.) In the speech, Gore said global warming “is creating weather-related disasters that are completely unprecedented.” That was an exaggeration, and after Revkin inquired about it with Gore’s staff, the former vice president pulled the offending slide.
In my opinioin, Revkin did err in equating Will’s column to Gore’s speech. The column is untrue almost in its entirety. Meanwhile, the speech did contain one significant error but was meticulously supported and scientifically defensible overall. Romm’s attack, however, in both tone and substance, is simply beyond the pale.
I guess he hasn’t yet gotten the message that the Clinton era, with its hyper-partisan politics of personal destruction, has given way — thank goodness! — to the Obama era, where a new tone of civility and respect is struggling to take hold. Romm was acting assistant secretary of energy during the Clinton Administration, and perhaps the bitterness of that experience still lingers.
But there’s no excuse for his brand of blogging. It accomplishes nothing.
At the end of Revkin’s piece yesterday, he refers to work by David Ropeik, a consultant on risk communication who teaches at Harvard. From Revkin’s analysis piece:
“Once science moves from the laboratory or ice caps into fights over policy and the economy, Mr. Ropeik said, the issues are mainly framed by polarizing figures who tailor their message to people who already strongly support their views.”
Fits Joe Romm perfectly.
* Revkin responds here to criticism he’s received about his story.
* Keith Kloor blogs about Romm’s attacks on Revkin here.
* Roger Pielke, Jr. responds to Romm’s charges: