The Climate Back Channels

Collide-a-ScapeBy Keith KloorApr 3, 2011 5:15 PM


Sign up for our email newsletter for the latest science news

Well, there's been an interesting response to the launch of my new blog at Climate Central. I kinda expected a few people in the climate blogosphere would grit their teeth. But I didn't expect my new gig to prompt an immediate what-do-we-do-about it strategy session. Michael Tobis offers a vague description:

Conversation about Keith came up on the back channels yesterday as a consequence of his new blogging venture at Climate Central.

Following this "conversation" on the "back channels," a few things have happened, one of which Michael, in an otherwise generous post about me, discusses. (Presumably Michael has since been yapped at in the "back channels" for going off the reservation.) The other interesting thing is the polite email I got yesterday from climate activist Anna Haynes, letting me know that she created a SourceWatch page for me, of which this is the first line:

Keith Kloor is a freelance journalist who blogs about climate change personalities and controversies, in a manner that fosters inactivism.

I guess that was the agreed on talking point to emerge from the "conversation" in the "back channels." Or was the creation of the SourceWatch page yesterday merely coincidental? Anna is welcome to clarify in the comments. (If you're not familiar with SourceWatch, here is its mission statement, which I'll return to momentarily.) Anna goes on to write in my SourceWatch bio:

His work has been criticizedfor a pattern of selectively quoting climate bloggers and scientists in a way that misrepresents their views.

With no apparent sense of irony, Anna "selectively" cites a few examples of this criticism lodged against me. There is no effort to balance this skewed portrait with others who might have a different opinion, such as that of the science journalist who referred to my blog in Scientific American as "militantly evenhanded." Another irony: the main critic Anna cites is notorious for misrepresenting the views of the people he criticizes. At any rate, I wonder if Anna or anybody in the "back channels" has bothered to read my actual work listed in the articles page of this blog. If so, I'd like to know if they can find one piece that squares with the impression of me created by Anna in her SourceWatch page. Incidentally, a majority of these published stories were written while I was a senior editor at Audubon magazine, where I edited hundreds of environmental articles during my tenure, such as this one and this one. Now I defy anyone to conclude that the sum of my career thus far as an environmental and science journalist (including the last two years of my blogging) is accurately reflected in the SourceWatch page Anna wrote. Additionally, let me ask this: does my overall blogging on climate issues and the kinds of articles I've written and edited for professional publications seem consistent with SourceWatch's charter, expressed here:

The Center for Media and Democracy publishes SourceWatch, this collaborative resource for citizens and journalists looking for documented information about the corporations, industries, and people trying to sway public opinion. We believe in telling the truth about the most powerful interests in society"”not just relating their self-serving press releases or letting real facts be bleached away by spin. SourceWatch focuses on the for-profit corporations, non-profit corporate front groups, PR teams, and so-called "experts" trying to influence public opinion on behalf of global corporations and the government agencies they have captured.

Partisan climate bloggers and activists do their cause no favors when they create fictitious portraits of someone like me. UPDATE: Anna Haynes says in the comments:

Having slept on the SourceWatch page "“ which is *extremely* simple "“ I woke up this morning having 2nd thoughts about the appropriateness of making a page for someone at this level,and logged in just now, intending to take it down.

1 free article left
Want More? Get unlimited access for as low as $1.99/month

Already a subscriber?

Register or Log In

1 free articleSubscribe
Discover Magazine Logo
Want more?

Keep reading for as low as $1.99!


Already a subscriber?

Register or Log In

More From Discover
Recommendations From Our Store
Shop Now
Stay Curious
Our List

Sign up for our weekly science updates.

To The Magazine

Save up to 40% off the cover price when you subscribe to Discover magazine.

Copyright © 2023 Kalmbach Media Co.