Judith Curry published an interesting blog post titled ‘Denier’ blogs. It includes an article by the Society of Environmental Journalists (SEJ) titled Staying up-to-date on climate news. The SEJ’s willingness to classify websites with terms like denier is telling. Then again, what else would one expect from environment journalists?
WattsUpWithThat is listed under the heading of News from the Climate Wars. The SEJ writes:
Watts Up With That is one of the more civil and well-read of the denier blogs. It is not reliable as a source of factual information. It does not disclose its funding sources. Anthony Watts, its proprietor, has worked as a broadcast weatherman for years but has no degree.
Hmm, “not a reliable source of factual information.” Many of Anthony’s posts are press releases for scientific papers. Are the SEJ saying the press releases or the papers are not factual? Anthony’s posts also include discussions of factual errors made by environmental journalists. A recent example is EPIC weather reportng FAIL at International Business Times, in which Anthony commented on an article that claims a tropical storm in the Pacific caused deaths in North Carolina. I wonder if the author of that IBT article is a member of the SEJ.
I am a regular contributor at WattsUpWithThat. I present data, and occasionally I present climate model outputs. We all understand that climate models are not “factual information”—they’re computer-aided conjecture. Are the SEJ stating that data are not factual information?
With respect to funding, the SEJ’s claim that WattsUpWithThat “does not disclose its funding sources” suggests the research capabilities of the SEJ are lacking. Anthony addresses this on his FAQs webpage in response to the question “Are you paid to blog?” The first paragraph of Anthony’s answer reads:
No. There are some people who have this idea that because I put so much effort into WUWT that I must be on somebody’s payroll and that my stories are “pay for play” or something like that. Nothing could be further from the truth. Being a broadcaster, the surest way to kill a career is to run afoul of the FCC’s payola laws, and because I see blogging as just another style of broadcasting, I’d never consider “pay for play”. Besides, most people don’t know how I abhor “dead air”, be it on radio, TV, or in blogging. I’m self motivated to keep it interesting and fresh. Plus, WUWT’s reach gives me a larger sense of purpose.
I can also state that I receive no funding for my research and blogging efforts. I do have limited income from book sales and from tips/donations, though.
The SEJ also broadcasts their limited grasp of reality with their laughable comments about SkepticalScience:
Skeptical Science is a blog that aims to reclaim the true principal of scientific skepticism from the climate-change deniers who have misappropriated the term. It systematically examines and rebuts the myths commonly circulated by the deniers. It is published by physicist John Cook, Climate Communication Fellow for the Global Change Institute at the University of Queensland — along with more than a dozen contributors from across the globe. It is translated into many languages. It is unaffiliated and runs on volunteer labor and donations.
Near the end of her post, Judith Curry notes:
As far as I can tell, the SEJ is a reputable organization. However, I find much of their article to be rather appalling. Not to mention the fact that they left out a number of good blog sources, that are arguably better than DeepClimate no matter which side of the climate debate you sit on.
Judith was being kind with “appalling”.