Because it allows me to read stuff like the following, an anonymous comment on a post by Washington Post reporter Andrew Freedman. Freedman complained that 2009 saw “erosion of clarity about climate”:
Mr. Freedman, the expression you’re struggling to avoid with regard to your propaganda in support of “mainstream climate scientists” is one devised by Nobel laureate Richard Feynman in 1974.
The words are “Cargo Cult Science,” the advancement of scientific seeming without scientific integrity. Not just error but flagrant dishonesty. Fraud. Criminal conspiracy, too.
That’s your “mainstream climate scientists” in a neat little bundle of filth.
The Climategate revelations – the obvious work of an insider, a whistle-blower, not an outside hacker – show how the CRU correspondents cooked their data, manipulated their crooked computer models, and generally schemed to defy the UK and US laws covering Freedom of Information, including indications that Prof. Jones of the University of East Anglia suborned not only the compliance officers of his University but also one or more officers of Her Majesty’s government in the ICO.
Thirty wonderful years of duplicity, mendacity, “cork-screwing, back-stabbing, and dirty dealing.”
And you, Mr. Freedman, are defending this. Tsk. But what the hell have we any right to expect – other than this act of accessory after the fact in a multiple-count felony investigation – from anyone associated with The Washington Post?
Courtesy of Climategate, we now have stunning “clarity on climate.”
This isn’t exactly brilliant but it is better (better-written, better-argued, more heartfelt) than 99% of mainstream journalism, such as the Washington Post or New York Times. One big function of journalism is “to afflict the comfortable.” That includes science journalism. When a journalist, such as Elizabeth Kolbert, cannot form her own opinion but must accept what powerful people tell her, she cannot “afflict” them.
I think there is a psychological principle at work. It has different names. One is belief in a just world. The rich and powerful think they deserve their good fortune. Another is cognitive dissonance. If I did this crummy job for low pay, I must enjoy it. Yet another is Stockholm Syndrome. The science journalist thinks: If I trust this scientist, he must be trustworthy. But he isn’t. Outsiders, such as the anonymous commenter, are not subject to this effect and see things more clearly.