I've never seen a time when so many normal seeming people readily swallow so much totally unjustified and worthless nonsense. My mother showed me a letter to the editor of her newspaper which started out characterizing Obama as a Marxist ex-street hustler and was telling me it had some good points, and not blinking at the crazy characterization.
I had one insight the other day when my wife passed me an article which seemed to say that a credible climatologist had shown there was no increase in carbon dioxide in the last 150 years. Ever heard of this? At the time, it was hard to miss in popular "conservative" blogs, where the followup discussions were full of language like "final nail in the coffin of climategate".
The paper said the "atmosperic fraction" of CO2 hasn't changed significantly in 150 years. I found some research papers which defined the term which is the ratio of how much excess generated CO2 is in the atmosphere vs how much is absorbed by the sea, etc. It says that ratio has remained the same. Some climatologists and activists believe the ability of the sea, soil, etc. to take up CO2 might break down resulting in an even bigger portion of what we're emitting to remain in the atmosphere, the paper says there's no sign of this happening. It doesn't change the fact that 40+% of the excess C02 we're generating with carbon based fuels IS accumulating in the atmosphere. The author has made some effort to clarify his point, but it really looks as if he can't even conceive of the extent to which his finding is being distorted.
What was my insight? Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck had not a word to say about it. They truly couldn't have not heard about it as it was all over Lucianne.com, Hotair.com, MichelleMalkin.com, BigGovernment.com and all the other what might be called "second tier" right-leaning sources. Now, practically everyone in their audiences is getting the message that "sound science" has demonstrated that carbon dioxide is NOT increasing as a portion of the atmosphere (and besides, it's good for plants as they like to say). This should be the clinching argument. Why would they NOT spread the good news? I assume they take some care about their credibility by having SOME people check facts (mostly they stick to saying things that are not provably true OR false). So they let the gang of bloggers who have nothing to lose spread useful disinformation and neither confirm nor deny it.
The insight is that millions of people are being fed a steady stream of hardcore lies from these under the radar screen blogs, and the email manufacturies that make their output look like a friend of a friend just happenned to pick up on this, and if you're a good patriot you'll mail it to at least 10 more friends, so Limbaugh et al don't have to be caught saying easily refutable specific nonsense, but it sets people up to agree with their general conclusions.
Saturday, December 22, 2012
On Smart Division of Labour in a Propaganda Enterprise
Here is an email I wrote to a historian friend in February 2012 concerning the current (back then) "last nail in the coffin of the AGW Hoax"