“They’re more closely related than you might think” is Schwartz’s subhead for his January 13, 2021 New York Times article. The subtle implication is that if any person doesn’t accept the settled science of the 2020 U.S. presidential election or the settled science of catastrophic man-caused global warming, that person should be vilified and shunned from society.
Obey, accept news media narratives without question about ‘global warming science,’ or else, and obey mandates to, shall we say, not speak of preventing the theft of the 2020 election, lest it incite more violence ….. or else. OR ELSE! But when Schwartz chose “Merchants of Doubt” book author / documentary movie star Naomi Oreskes as his go-to source for the history of disinformation efforts in his article, he inadvertently amplified how the actual threat to the well-being of the country is not some right-wing conspiracy to subvert democracy and protect corporate profits, it’s disinformation from the mainstream media itself.
If Schwartz and other reporters like him were objective and unbiased, they would make perfectly valid, arguably sacrosanct, inquires into the core of each situation:
Regarding the January 6th riot at the U.S. Capitol itself, how does it follow that attendees at his White House area rally, who normally wear just festive patriotic-themed hats and clothes or simply standard apparel appropriate for weather conditions, were spontaneously incited to unlawfully break into the Capitol while outfitted with protective helmets, gas masks, goggles, and 8 foot 2×4 wood planks?
Regarding the 2020 U.S. presidential election’s many vote counting controversies, what is the explanation, for example, for the event in Georgia’s Fulton County where election observers were sent away, and election workers resumed counting ballots without proper close scrutiny taking place? Good luck using an internet search to easily find criticisms of one of those workers rescanning the same ballots multiple times. Myriad other questions surrounding multi-state situations are out there … not that any mainstream media reporter will objectively tell you what they are. Question the election results in any manner, and you will be branded as an insurrectionist.
Regarding rhetoric over the last four+ years that could be deemed as inciting illegal insurrectionist action, which of the following statements is more likely to do so, the supposedly ‘most damaging’ section from President Trump’s January 6th speech, or a 2017 Tweet from the U.S. Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi?
Then there’s the ‘climate disinformation’ angle that John Schwartz brings up in his NYT article. Just two paragraphs after mentioning Naomi Oreskes, Schwartz offers the following:
… this week has shown how resilient purveyors of disinformation can be. On Tuesday, after Mr. Trump was largely cut off from social media, my climate desk colleagues Lisa Friedman and Christopher Flavelle reported on how a Trump administration official posted online a series of debunked papers questioning the established science of climate change.
The official, David Legates, a climate denialist … posted the papers on a private website that espouses climate denial.
Schwartz continues to say how the papers were swiftly removed and how Legates (who, incidentally, contributed a guest post several years back to GelbspanFiles) was fired. Then the article wraps up with a lament about the problems of limiting disinformation, followed by another nod to the idea of the long ‘history’ of global warming disinformation:
Efforts to limit disinformation just move the myths around. If history is any guide, it will pop up again elsewhere, virulent as ever.
… Here at The Times, we’ve been struggling with anti-science disinformation for years. In 1998, an influential front-page article explored a campaign by Exxon to spread doubt about the science ….
What did John Schwartz not tell his NYT readers?
- how the papers Dr Legates posted were debunked.
- how Dr Legates denies ‘climate’ in any sense of the word.
- that the private website where Dr Legates’ papers were initially posted is run by a climate scientist who does not deny climate change in any sense of the accusation.
- the links to the papers were posted to the private website as a side measure to preserve them in case they were later deleted from the official government pages where they were intended to appear.
- the links to the papers were subsequently removed in deference to the request to Dr Legates’ OSTP supervisor (they are forever preserved in the Internet Archive here — what’s been seen on the internet can never be unseen).
- the “1998 influential front-page NYT article” concerned a set of supposedly leaked memos that …
1) … were not anti-science in the least but instead concerned suggestions on how to gauge the public’s understanding of how faulty the IPCC / Al Gore side of the global warming ‘science’ was.
2) … were not actually part of any active Exxon-run disinformation campaign, as reported 15+ years ago in, of all places, Mother Jones magazine, while the 1998 NYT article itself only mentions Exxon twice and never actually says the memos’ plan was a purely internal Exxon-only campaign.
3) … are actually besieged with crippling problems that renders the set worthless as evidence to prove disinformation campaigns exist that are run by fossil fuel companies.
Is it not plausible that reporter John Schwartz is either ignorantly or knowingly spreading disinformation here, in order to incite the public into castigating others who supposedly absorb and spread ‘right-wing’ disinformation?
Last, but not least by any means, there’s Schwartz’s beloved Naomi Oreskes, who loves him right back. If Schwartz and other reporters like him were objective and unbiased, they would ask the most basic questions possible about Oreskes: if her collective work on exposing who the ‘merchants of disinformation doubt’ was so rock solid as to be irrefutable and above reproach, why would she imperil her credibility by telling two separate narratives otherwise incompatible with each other, one featuring Erik Conway and the other featuring Dr Ben Santer, concerning her discovery odyssey into the world of ‘disinformation specialists’? Why would she imperil her credibility by telling narratives associated with her discovery odyssey which are beset with strange inconsistencies? When Oreskes implied a decade earlier that a different set of leaked industry memos were evidence of industry-led disinformation campaigns, but failed to mention how the set was a rejected, never-implemented proposal that turns out not to be archived at the location where she said it was archived, how does she avoid the appearance of being an outright promoter of disinformation herself?
Those questions aren’t being asked by the mainstream media. The entire purpose of this NYT John Schwartz article is to unmistakably suggest that those who question the notion of man-caused global warming are no different than ‘insurrectionists inciting violence by disputing the 2020 U.S. presidential election.’
By default, John Schwartz, Naomi Oreskes and other prominent people on that side of this political divide are instead essentially posing a very basic, very scary question:
What is the final solution for eradicating disinformation?
They likely already have their answer. Shut down the disinformers, re-educate them and their children, and if that doesn’t completely solve the problem, well …..
However, there’s another answer, one that authoritarians fear. Present all of the relevant details, including inconvenient truths, surrounding controversial declarations and examine it all objectively without bias, to see if the declarations are able to stand on their own merits.